B.A. in American Indian Studies

AIS graduates (left to right) Keegan Stanley, Jovana Baisden, and Kerry Evans with AIS adviser Elissa Washuta

AIS graduates (left to right) Keegan Stanley, Jovana Baisden, and Kerry Evans with AIS adviser Elissa Washuta (second from left)

The major in American Indian Studies provides students with powerful tools for understanding and supporting Indigenous communities in North America and around the globe. In addition to a variety of unique classes led by internationally recognized faculty, students learn from hands-on experiences with Indigenous community partners and meaningful research opportunities. 

Many students find the depth of knowledge they gain from American Indian Studies provides necessary context for a second major in a professional field, the sciences, social sciences, or liberal arts. Alumni use their expertise for diverse careers in the public and private sectors, as well as in leading graduate programs.

Admissions, Advising & Student Resources

Please see our Undergraduate Programs section for information about applying to the program, career paths, scholarships, and other student resources. 

Where to Start in American Indian Studies:

Considering American Indian Studies, but aren't sure? Start with some of these courses:

  • AIS 102 - Introduction to American Indian Studies
  • AIS 103 - The Indigenous Pacific Northwest
  • AIS 170 - American Indian Art and Aesthetics
  • AIS 202 - Introduction to American Indian Contemporary and Social Issues
  • AIS 203 - Introduction to American Indian and Indigenous Literature 
  • AIS 209 - The Unsettling of the Red Continent: American Indian History to 1815
  • AIS 210 - Inconvenient Indians and the "American Problem": American Indian History since 1815

Degree Requirements

In order to graduate with the Bachelor of Arts in American Indian Studies, students must complete 55 credits as follows (in addition to the general education requirements of the university and college):

1. Introductory courses

10 credits/both courses:

  • AIS 102 Introduction to American Indian Studies (taught every Autumn quarter)
  • AIS 103 The Indigenous Pacific Northwest (taught every Winter quarter)

2. Content courses

10 credits, two courses selected from: 

  • AIS 170 American Indian Art and Aesthetics
  • AIS 202 Introduction to American Indian Contemporary and Social Issues
  • AIS 203 Introduction to Indigenous Knowledges
  • AIS 209 Unsettling of the Red Continent: History to 1815
  • AIS 210 Inconvenient Indians and the “American Problem”: History since 1815

3. Concentrations

25 credits total, 5 credits minimum chosen from each concentration, additional courses available as listed in time schedule and with special approval by academic advisor:

Governance Concentration Courses:

  • AIS 212 Indigenous Leaders and Activists
  • AIS 230 Contemporary Indian Gaming and Casinos
  • AIS 270 Native Peoples of the Pacific Northwest
  • AIS 330 United States - Indian Relations
  • AIS 335 American Indians and the Law
  • AIS 365 Native Nation Governance
  • AIS 444 Criminality and "Deviance" in Native Communities
  • AIS 446 American Indian Economic History
  • AIS 461 First Nations Government and Politics in Canada
  • AIS 480 Indigenous Resistance and Resurgence Movements in the US, Canada, and Mexico
  • AIS 492 Indigenous Sovereignties

Environment and Health Concentration Courses:

  • AIS 308 American Indians and the Environment
  • AIS 311 The Indigenous History and Environment of the Salish Sea
  • AIS 340 Indian Children and Families
  • AIS 380 Indigenous Food Sovereignty
  • AIS 385 Indigenous Ecologies and Climate Change
  • AIS 451 Critical Conversations in AIS

Culture and History Concentration Courses:

  • AIS 215 Puget Sound Indian Literature in English
  • AIS 313/314/315 American Indian Language - Salish (Southern Lushootseed)
  • AIS 360 American Indians in Cinema
  • AIS 376 First Nations Literature
  • AIS 377 Contemporary American Indian Literature
  • AIS 378 Contemporary American Indian Literature: A Northwest Focus
  • AIS 379 Powwow: Tradition and Innovation
  • AIS 425 Indians in Western Washington history
  • AIS 431 History of American Indian Education
  • AIS 443 Indigenous Films, Sovereign Visions
  • AIS 465 First Nations Filmmaking in Canada
  • AIS 466 Producing the Documentary Short

4. Electives

10 credits: additional courses in AIS or approved courses taught by AIS Adjunct Faculty

5. 300 level or above credit minimum

A minimum of 30 credits must be completed at the 300 level or above

Help Planning the Major

For additional help in planning the major, students can refer to our Planning Worksheet or schedule an appointment with our academic advisor Kai Wise

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