Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

American Indian Studies (Indigenous Rights and Social Justice), MS

At a Glance: program details

Gain a deeper understanding of complex issues facing Indigenous communities, and learn how to apply your expertise and advocate for social justice. The skills you'll learn in this program are applicable in a variety of careers.

Program Description

Degree Awarded: MS American Indian Studies (Indigenous Rights and Social Justice)

The MS program in American Indian studies is a transdisciplinary program that provides students with an intellectual and practical understanding of the issues facing American Indian populations and helps students strengthen their ability to apply that knowledge. Students acquire problem-solving skills in a range of professional arenas, including governmental, private and nonprofit agencies.

The program focuses on languages, cultures, the arts, activism, histories, legal policies and education through an American Indian studies paradigm and perspective. Delivery is through in-person courses.

The Indigenous rights and social justice concentration explores the historical dimensions of colonization on American Indian political, economic and cultural institutions. Students analyze the legal, political and social implications of American Indian relationships with federal, state and local governments, and they investigate processes that American Indian nations and community members use to strategize and work toward social justice and Indigenous rights.

Degree Requirements

Curriculum Plan Options

  • 30 credit hours and a thesis
  • 30 credit hours including the required applied project course (AIS 580)

Required Core (9 credit hours)
AIS 501 American Indian Studies Paradigms (3)
AIS 502 American Indian Studies Research Methods (3)
AIS 503 Contemporary Issues of American Indian Nations (3)

Concentration (9 credit hours)

Electives (6 credit hours)

Culminating Experience (6 credit hours)
AIS 580 Practicum (6) or
AIS 599 Thesis (6)

Additional Curriculum Information
Students may select a thesis or nonthesis option. Thesis students are involved in a major research project under the direction of their faculty advisors, culminating in a thesis. This is the option students should select if they have an interest in a research-oriented position within an organization or agency, or they wish to pursue a doctoral degree. Nonthesis students complete an applied project that identifies and addresses an applied problem or issue relevant to a partner agency or organization under the direction of their faculty advisors. This is the option students should select if they are interested in a leadership or managerial level position within an organization or agency.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree from a regionally accredited college or university of recognized standing in a related field such as history, justice studies, sociology, ethnic studies, anthropology, political science or education.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency.

Flexible Degree Options

Accelerated program options

This program allows students to obtain both a bachelor's and master's degree in as little as five years.
It is offered as an accelerated bachelor's and master's degree with:

BS - American Indian Studies

How can Indigenous sovereignty, sustainability and human rights lead to innovative solutions to real-world problems? Make a difference in local, national and global communities by discovering the knowledge, experiences and perspectives of American Indian nations and Indigenous peoples worldwide.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. During their junior year, eligible students will be advised by their academic departments to apply.

Concurrent degree program

Students can choose to create their own concurrent degree combination to match their interests by working with their academic advisor during or after their first semester of study. Some concurrent combinations are not possible due to high levels of overlap in curriculum; students should speak with their academic advisor for more details.

This degree is also offered as a concurrent program with the following:

Next Steps to attend ASU

Learn about our programs

Apply to a program

Visit our campus

Career Opportunities

After leaving ASU, many graduates:

  • conduct academic research related to social justice and Indigenous rights
  • direct or manage Indigenous companies, organizations or nonprofits
  • facilitate Indigenous partnerships and projects
  • work within Native tribes to analyze social justice and Indigenous rights

Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will reach out to you directly. For questions regarding faculty or courses, please use the contact information below.