AIS Graduate Certificate in Higher Education

The American Indian Studies Program (AIS), in collaboration with the Center for the Study of Higher Education, is offering an academic Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in American Indian Higher Education.  To obtain the certificate, students must complete a 12-unit program of study including core and elective courses.  The program is designed to provide graduate level professional development to individuals who are either currently working with or plan to work with American Indian students in higher education, especially in Indian institutions of higher education.  Students will be able to complete the certificate in conjunction with a graduate or professional degree or as a stand-alone certificate. 

A Bachelor’s degree or equivalent from an accredited institution is required for admission to the Certificate Program in American Indian Higher Education. Students with earned majors in departments other than H ED or AIS may apply.  The application procedure is a two-fold process with consideration by the department and by the UA Graduate College.

All non-AIS students must meet requirements of the graduate college and pay the graduate college application fee.  Current AIS students, contact the Graduate Program Coordinator for direction.

To apply, students may log on to: All application material must be received on-line by October 15th or April 15th for admission to the following semester to the certificate program in AIS.  Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Checklist for Online Application Material

  1. On line application and fee (if you are not already a graduate student in the University of Arizona AIS program)
  2. Personal statement (3-5 pages) about your interest in the certificate program
  3. Two Letters of Recommendation from faculty or supervisors who can attest to your achievements and academic potential
  4. Electronic copies of Official Transcripts from all institutions attended (undergraduate and graduate). A minimum 3.0 Grade Point Average based on a 4.0 scale is required for admission (reference


REQUIRED CORE COURSES – all three courses required

H ED 601 (3 units) – Higher Education in the United States
This course covers the scope of higher education in the United States with a brief survey of historical developments and philosophic bases, public policy issues at the state and federal level, types of institutions and their purposes, characteristics of faculty, students and curricula.

AIS 679 (3 units) American Indian Higher Education
This course covers the development of higher education for American Indian/Alaskan natives from the earliest efforts to contemporary times.  Issues and their implications for the education of American Indians in institutions and agencies of higher education are discussed.  Emphasis is on tribally controlled colleges and universities, and the development of American Indian studies programs in higher education institutions.

AIS/H ED 565 (3 units) Tribal Colleges
This course provides an introduction to the tribal colleges, which includes a discussion of their history, mission, governance, organization, finance, curriculum, and current challenges.  It also includes student characteristics and support services, faculty characteristics, support services, roles, responsibilities and evaluation, and an introduction to assessment of learning in the tribal college.

ELECTIVES – choose two from below

H ED 608 (3 units)  The College Student
This course covers the history and characteristics of the college student, including their interactions with campus environmental influences, their developmental and normative trends, and major research findings.

H ED 609 (3 units) Organization and Administration in Higher Education
This course covers organizational theory, structures, systems, and administrative procedures in varied higher education institutions, as well as patterns of governance and policy development.

H ED 617 (3 units) Student Personnel Services in Higher Education
This course covers the philosophy, history, administrative procedures, representative programs, and current trends in student personnel services.

AIS 676 (3 units) Exploring Critical Issues in Native American Curriculum Development
This course will explore, for curriculum development purposes, critical educational issues confronting Indigenous peoples, with a primary focus on Native Americans in the United States. Attention will also be given to the educational experiences of Aboriginal peoples of Canada. The course will provide an overview of Indigenous education (formal and informal) from both contemporary and historical contexts. The course will analyze Indigenous educational philosophies; history of Native education; contemporary educational, cultural, identity, institutional, and leadership challenges facing Native peoples; and ideas of place, community, and culture in education for and about Native peoples. Issues, concepts, and theories examined in the course will provide a basis for developing curriculum; assessing educational policy; augmenting teaching strategies; and examining learning practices in elementary, secondary, and higher educational institutions. Course participants will link concepts of Indigenous ways of knowing and teaching, and context and culture through readings, discussions, short assignments, and a final paper or project.

AIS 677 (3 units) History of American Indian Education
This course covers educational philosophies, policies, and practices of native people, European missions, and federal schools, and an historic overview of Indian education to early 1900s.

AIS 678 (3 units) Contemporary American Indian Education
Contemporary American Indian/Alaskan native education in two parts: (1) the current state of native education and its effectiveness in meeting the needs of native students; (2) current research in the area of American Indian/Alaskan native education and its implications for future research.

H ED 696C (3 units) Seminar in Higher Education
This course consists of the development and exchange of scholarly information, usually in a small group setting. The scope of work shall consist of research by course registrants, with the exchange of the results of such research through discussion, reports, and/or papers.  Course topics vary.

AIS 697A (3 units) College Teaching Methods
This course is the practical application of theoretical learning within a group setting and involves an exchange of ideas and practical methods, skills, and principles in college level teaching.

Having completed the certificate, students:

  • Are able to discuss and demonstrate an understanding of  the history, development and organization of higher education in the United States, and the influence of American Indians
  • Are able to formulate and apply the philosophies and theories of higher education in the United States, and in tribal colleges and universities.
  • Are able to evaluate the impact of the relationships between Indigenous peoples in the United States with federal, state, and local governments upon contemporary issues affecting higher education.
  • Are able to examine and appraise the historical development of higher education for American Indians in the United States, especially the development of tribal colleges and universities.
  • Are able to evaluate the impact of curricula on American Indian students through application of student development theories and philosophies.
  • Are able to apply higher education administrative theories and practices to tribal colleges and universities.
  • Are able to summarize current issues affecting American Indians in higher education, as well as compare those issues to overall current issues affecting higher education in the United States.

Concurrent enrollment in a degree program and the certificate program is allowed but not required. Admission to a degree program at UA is allowed with up to 12 credits from the certificate program being transferable into an MA or PhD degree program. Up to six hours of transfer credit will be accepted if it is equivalent to program course requirements and not over two years old.  Time to completion shall not exceed four (4) years.  The clock begins with the date of the earliest coursework used for the certificate.

Students wishing to transfer from the certificate program to a graduate degree program will need to meet all requirements for admissions to the UA graduate college and the desired degree program.

Minimum GPA required
Students must earn a letter grade of A or B in the curriculum and maintain a 3.0 GPA.  No Pass/Fail grades are permitted.


American Indian Studies Main Office
(520) 621-7108 Monday – Friday 8AM to 5PM
Call to schedule appointments or request more information

Graduate Program Coordinator
American Indian Studies
(520) 621-7108

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences