COVID-19 Information

As we work together to battle the coronavirus, we will continue to offer safe and secure online sessions . Even though the American Indian Studies office(s) are closed, in accordance with the guidelines recommended by CDC, we are working remotely and continuing to provide student, staff, and faculty assistance. We can be reached Monday-Friday 8am-5pm Mountain Standard Time at 520-626-8143, or by email to

Get COVID-19 updates and information for the University of Arizona community. Also, see SBS resources for continuing instruction and learning.

B.A. in AIS

American Indian Studies (AIS) is committed to developing native-centered scholarship about the indigenous peoples of North America. Learning about the contemporary and historic ways of life, knowledge, and experience of American Indian/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian/First Nation communities, individuals and nations. An AIS undergraduate major provides students with a holistic, integrated, and analytical study of critical issues Native North America has faced in the past, and are currently facing in the present, as they strive to remain culturally autonomous peoples. Emphasis is given to Native peoples' political and legal relationships to external goverments and the general American and Canadian populations as well as to other native groups.

The major plan of study focuses on fundamental AIS topics based on the department's interdisciplinary strengths.

  • Sovereignty: The study of the history. politics, laws, comparative political systems, the effects of imperialism and colonialism, and core issues of native self-determination and self-governance from a political and legal perspective.There is an emphasis on the national context within which tribal and First Nations operate--and their interrelationships with other governmental structures, especially states and provinces. Attention is also given to the ways in which Native Nations and recognized communities ensure the health and welfare of their peoples.
  • Cultural Diversity: In the 2010 US census, approximatley 2% of the population identified themselves US Native Americans. AIS collaboratively studies how these people as members of distinct societies, who speak different langauges and have diffrerent ways of life that have been threatened through past atttempts at forced assimilation. AIS aims to understasnd the dynamic processes of cultural adaptation, preservation and innovation both within and among cultures to understand them as enduring peoples with distinctive and complicated self-identities. This is accomplished in terms of cultural awareness, self-awareness and with respect for self and others.
  • Native Voices: The study of Native oral traditons, literatures, languages and arts found in both historic and contemporary contexts. This includes the study of creative expressions from humanistic and Indigenous-culturally specific perspectives.
  • Indigenous Knowledge:Understanding all aspects of knowledge beveloped by Native societies including science, technology, environmental understandsings, respect for the land, philosophical principles, systems of education and epistemologies, ethnics, ways of interpreting the world, and the sense of self and community. This includes knowledge and sacred histories to the degrees deemed appropriate for expression in transcultural situations.
  • Natural Resources and Economic Development: As a land grant univeristy, the University of Arizona is concerned about the economic and community development of American Indian reservations and has developed special expertise in issues involving the land, economics and public policy, including Nation building at the Udall Center.


Contact Ann Samuelson, AIS Undergraduate Academic Advisor in Haury (Anthropology) Building for more information and to sign up for the AIS major. or 520-626-6027

Required Coursework in the major (12 units):

Course Number Course Title Total Units
AIS 200 Intro to American Indian Studies 3
AIS 220 Contemporary Indian America 3
AIS 448 Social Research with Indian Communities 3
AIS 493 Internship 3


Core Coursework (minimum 12 units, one course each from our four areas):

Any of these courses, if not taken as a core course, may be used as an elective.


1)     Literature

AIS/ENGL 278 American Indian Literature   3
AIS 344 American Indians in Film   3
AIS 452A Mixed Media Storytelling   3
AIS/ENGL 477 American Indian Literature   3

2)     Law and Policy:

AIS 415 American Indians and the Urban Experience   3 
AIS 434 Tribal Governments   3
AIS 485 American Indian Gaming   3

3)     Societies & Cultures:

AIS 336 History and Philosophy of the Dine People  3
AIS 426 Principles of Indigenous Economics  3
AIS 450 American Indian Women  3

4)     Natural Resources:

AIS 403 Globalization and Indigenous People  3
AIS 431 Traditional Ecological Knowledge  3
AIS 441A Natural Resource Management in Native Communities  3

Electives (12 units):

AIS 197A/B Success Course 1/1
AIS 348A Native American Education 3
AIS 299/399/499 Independent Study 3
AIS 495A Seminar 3
ANTH/AIS 346 Clovis to Coronado: Archaeology of the Southwest 3
ANTH/AIS 347 Native Peoples of the Southwest 3
ANTH/AIS 413 Ethnology of the Southwest 3
ANTH/AIS 421 Southwest Land and Society 3
ANTH/AIS 489 Survey of Native North American languages 3
ENGL/AIS 279 Oral Tradition 3
ENGL/AIS 424 Studies in Southwest Literature 3
ENGL/AIS 449 Folklore 3
LING/AIS 102 Linguistics for Native American Communities 3
LING/AIS 210 Native Languages in North America 3
LING/AIS 445A Structure of Non-Western Language 3
LRC/AIS 330A Interpreting Native Cultures: Museum Education 3
MAS/AIS 490 Indian Religions and Spirituality 3
RELI 212 Introduction to American Indian Religious Traditions 3


Required Coursework                                                                                  12

Core Coursework                                                                                          12

Electives                                                                                                         12

Total                                                                                                                 36

Of the 36 units, 18 must be upper division coursework (numbered 300 or above), and half of the total units (18) must be taken in residence.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, please contact SBS ADVISING (SBS Undergraduate Advisor).

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences