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Graduate Certificate in American Indian and Indigenous Studies

The graduate certificate is a unique program that enables graduate and professional students from across the University of Washington (including the Tacoma and Bothell campuses) to join a rich community of scholars, acquire skills, and acquire the necessary context to do rigorous work in American Indian and Indigenous Studies. 

The certificate will cover:

  1. Scope and history of American Indian and Indigenous Studies
  2. Indigenous intellectual theory and knowledge
  3. Competence in American Indian and Indigenous and community-based methods in a specific field
  4. Completion of a research-based presentation

Through classes in the Department of American Indian Studies, graduate students will develop knowledge in historical and contemporary approaches to the advanced study of Indigenous intellectual history, theory, and research methodologies. In particular, students in the program will have a space on campus to strategize around emergent AIIS topics and methodologies, particularly that of community engagement.

Graduate Certificate Requirements (16-18 credits)

Indigenous Theory Course (5 credits): This course offers broad training in Indigenous intellectual history and the relationships between theory and practice. Students will be prepared to do research that is aware of the genealogy of the ideas that anchor the field and how these ideas link with various American Indian and Indigenous communities’ social, cultural, and political efforts.

Indigenous Methodologies Course (5 credits): This course focuses on building strong research relationships with communities and prepares students through discussions around ethics, key criteria, protocols, and different possible methodologies based on the needs of the research community. This foundational training in AIIS methodologies, including best practices and approaches, will prepare graduates for both future academic work and non-academic positions with tribes or communities. This class will teach students how to develop research questions prompted by communities and maintain strong relationships with these communities throughout and after the research period. 

One Elective (3-5 credits): The 3-5 credit elective at the 400 or 500 level may be selected from a list of classes taught by GCAIIS-affiliated faculty and listed on the GCAIIS web page (forthcoming). Students may enroll in these elective credits in any quarter. You can find a list of pre-approved elective courses here.

Capstone project (3 credits): This is a 3-credit independent study course students enroll in Spring Quarter of the second and final year of the GCAIIS program. Working with one faculty mentor from the GCAIIS faculty, students will develop and present a research-based presentation at the annual symposium hosted in collaboration with the Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies each Spring.


For admission to the graduate certificate, please contact American Indian Studies Adviser Kai Wise ( for an application link or fill out the application online.

Students are encouraged to enroll in the graduate certificate prior to taking certificate coursework, but may be admitted on a rolling basis. Students must formally apply for admission to the graduate certificate before enrolling in the program capstone.

Students will be expected to maintain a 3.0 or above in all certificate coursework in order to be awarded the certificate. All grades will be awarded by the relevant course instructor(s) and based on the standards outlined in the syllabus.