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Minor in Oceania and Pacific Islander Studies

Professor Holly Barker with students from her class holding up a long Tongan ngatu
Prof. Holly Barker and students from her class examine a Tongan ngatu, or tapa cloth, from the Burke Museum collection. Tupou Vaenuku (far right) is able to touch the work without gloves because she is of Tongan heritage.

The Oceania and Pacific Islander Studies (OPIS) Minor offers students an opportunity to learn about the histories and contemporary cultures of Oceania through academic coursework and community experiences. The OPIS curriculum is multidisciplinary, comparative, and designed to increase students’ critical and transformative thinking about all aspects of knowledge and practice related to Oceania. 

Minor Requirements:

Minimum 25 credits to include:

  • Required Introductory Course (5 credits):

    • AIS 102 Introduction to American Indian Studies (AUT only)
  • Required Asian Pacific Islander Content Course (5 credits), at least one course from: 
    • AAS 206 Contemporary Issues of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans (WIN only)
    • AAS 210 Asian American and Pacific Islander American identity: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture (SPR only)
  • Practicum Course (5 credits), at least one course from: 
    • AES 494 Community Practicum and Internship
    • AIS 497 Internship
    • ANTH 489 Anthropology Practicum

Electives (10 credits total): At least 5 credits must be at the 300 level or higher. Any other course that has significant Oceania/Pacific Islander Studies content may be approved by the program advisor.  

OPIS Elective Courses

AAS 320 Hawai’i’s Literature

AAS 360 Critical Filipino American Histories

AAS 385 Asian & Pacific Islander Americans: Race, Law, and Justice

AAS 392/GWSS 392 Asian American and Pacific Islander Women

AAS 402 Contemporary Asian American Literature

ANTH 306 Pacific Islander Representation

ANTH 309 Indigenous Epistemologies & Oceanic Canoes

ANTH 312 Pacific Islander Literature and Film

ARCHY 325 Archaeology of Islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific

EDUC 340 Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies

ENG 257 Asian American Literature

SMEA 103 Society and the Oceans

SMEA 485 Pacific Tourism

Study Abroad Elective Options:
  • Pape'ete, French Polynesia,Tahiti 
  • Early Fall
  • 08/24/2019 - 09/21/2019
  • 5 credits
  • No pre-reqs


  • Manila, Philippines
  • Early Fall Start
  • 5 credits
  • Pre-reqs: At least two AES courses taken successfully
  • This program will enable students to engage with the impact of colonization of the Philippines by examining the roles of the country’s former colonizers as well as its local populations.


  • Apia, Samoa
  • Autumn/Spring semester
  • 16 semester credits per session
  • No pre-reqs
  • UW applicants only

Application Deadline:

  • May 15 (Autumn Semester)
  • Nov 1 (Spring Semester)

Examine the social, economic, and political impacts of globalization, westernization, and climate change in Oceania.

Pago, Pago / American Samoa-

  • Summer A-term
  • June 17, 2019 - July 18, 2019
  • 6 credits
  • For the PAC-ISLEs study abroad program, four junior or sophomore undergraduate students and two graduate students will be recruited to participate in the program. These students are required to take the Independent Study course in Spring 2019 led by Tornabene and Barker(FISH/ANTH 499 for undergraduates, or FISH/ANTH 600 for graduates).

Polynesian Islands-  (Multiple Locations)

  • Autumn Semester
  • 17 credits per session
  • Pre reqs: Sophomore standing or above by the time of departure
  • Deadline: Rolling admission
  • This program attracts students from all majors who want to understand environmental, political, and cultural changes from an interdisciplinary perspective and in an historical context.

How do I declare a minor in OPIS?

There are no admission requirements and no prerequisites for the Oceania and Pacific Islander Studies minor. Any undergraduate student with at least sophomore standing (45 credits completed) who is officially declared in any major may declare this minor with his or her major adviser's permission.

If you have not yet declared a major, but you are interested in pursuing the Oceania and Pacific Islander Studies minor, you are welcome to enroll in courses that will eventually apply toward the minor. These courses will apply to the minor requirements if you choose to declare the minor in the future.

To declare the minor, please meet with your adviser in your major to complete the paperwork. For more information, see the UW's policies on undergraduate minors. For help with course planning, timelining, and other advising concerns within the AIS minor, contact Kai Wise, AIS adviser, at