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What will I learn?

The Bachelor of Arts in American Indian Studies (AIS) is designed to challenge students to think critically about the differences and similarities between American Indians' lives of the past and present and their own. The emphasis in the curriculum placed on duality links the concerns of tribal communities with academic rigor, enabling our faculty to harness their expertise and passion for teaching in ways that lead to greater student cultural competence and prepares them to meet high expectations.

The curriculum is focused on four areas of emphasis:

  1. California Indian Studies;
  2. American Indian Creative Arts and Humanities;
  3. Law, Politics, and Society; and
  4. Science, Health, and Environmental Studies.

The knowledge base within these areas prepare students to work academically – and in advocacy – with both tribal and urban Native communities within California and the United States. The courses comprising the B.A. challenge students to actively question the most ingrained myths about American Indians, the roles they have played in the United States and internationally over time, and the goals of historical and contemporary cultural maintenance and revitalization movements. The program also includes an international comparative perspective and coalitional politics with Native peoples of U.S. occupied territories and more broadly within the Americas and the Pacific. AIS courses are taught by faculty wedded to the belief that community relationships and pedagogical rigor are the cornerstones upon which student success within the curriculum rests. AIS faculty represent a small cadre of scholars who have distinguished themselves both nationally and internationally by pushing accepted boundaries within and outside of the field in the areas of cultural ecology, ethnography, ethnolinguistics, history of consciousness, mixed-race studies, and music.

Program Learning Outcomes:

Completing the Bachelor of Arts in American Indian Studies (AIS) empowers students to do the following:

Students will understand the complex histories, politics, and social issues confronting Native peoples in the context of U.S. colonization, imperialism, and globalization. This understanding will include awareness of the diverse political strategies used by Native peoples to confront the historical legacies of dispossession, genocide, and social inequity and discrimination, including legal action for land restoration and cultural conservation/revitalization efforts.

Students will compare and contrast the uniqueness of Native epistemologies and their articulation in contemporary forms of cultural media, such as through literature and the creative arts.

Students will gain invaluable experiential knowledge through community service learning, as a way of connecting classroom education to career preparation and advisement.

Students will develop the necessary analytical, oral communication, information literacy, and writing skills to prepare them for careers or graduate school in areas related to American Indian Studies.

Career Outlook

An American Indian Studies major provides a diverse foundation of knowledge and skills that can be applied to a number of careers. American Indian Studies alumni have and can anticipate securing employment in: agricultural and pastoral enterprises, environmental and cultural rights organizations, ethnography and cultural programs, health care and social work, media and communications industries, museums and cultural centers, teaching, tribal businesses and government, the traditional arts, and federal and state agencies like the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Environmental Protection Agency, Indian Health Services, National and State Park Services, Title IX Indian Education Program, the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, and the U.S. Department of Labor.

Which department am I in?

College of Ethnic Studies

Study options

Full Time (120 credit hours)

Tuition fees
US$16,632.00 per year
Start date

January 2022, August 2022


College of Ethnic Studies

1600 Holloway Avenue,



94132, United States

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Students must have completed a high school/ secondary school and have a 2.5 grade point average (GPA) in the 4.0 grading scale or B- average, and that you have, or will have, the equivalent of US high school completion.

For international students

Complete a secondary/high school curriculum that totals 12 years of primary-secondary education, be qualified to enter a university in your home country and have a good scholastic record from an accredited/recognized school. Have a 2.5 grade point average (GPA) in the 4.0 grading scale or B- average in academic courses completed after 9th grade.

TOEFL score of at least 61, IELTS score of at least 6.0 or PTE score of at least 45 is required.

Application Deadlines: Spring: Sept-30; Fall: May-1

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


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