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 can complete the certificate in conjunction with a graduate or professional degree or as a stand-alone certificate. 

Admission Requirements

A bachelor’s degree or equivalent from an accredited institution is required for admission to the Certificate Program in American Indian Higher Education. The application procedure is a two-fold process with consideration by the department and by the UA Graduate College.

  • Students from majors other than HED or AIS may apply.
  • 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

How to Apply

To apply, review the Graduate College’s requirements and sign into:

All application material must be received on-line by October 15th or April 15th for admission to the following semester. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Required Application Materials

  • Online application and fee (if you are not already a graduate student in the University of Arizona AIS program)
  • Personal statement (3-5 pages) about your interest in the certificate program
  • Two Letters of Recommendation from faculty or supervisors who can attest to your achievements and academic potential
  • 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

Core Courses 

Complete all courses:


Complete two courses:

Learning Objectives

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
  • formulate and apply the philosophies and theories of higher education in the United States, and in tribal colleges and universities.
  • 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.
  • examine and appraise the historical development of higher education for American Indians in the United States, especially the development of tribal colleges and universities.
  • evaluate the impact of curricula on American Indian students through application of student development theories and philosophies.
  • apply higher education administrative theories and practices to tribal colleges and universities.
  • 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.