Sep 21, 2023
Program of Study
The Major in American Indian Studies provides a critical academic field of study, intellectual engagement with, and place-based understanding of American Indian epistemologies. This includes the formation of tribal sovereignty, the culture and identity of Tribal nations, communities, and peoples as distinct political and cultural groups in the Americas. Students will gain both knowledge about and experience working with American Indians. Students will attain a critical understanding of the distinct legal and political status of American Indians.
Graduates will be prepared to work with a politically distinct segment of the population in a variety of fields, such as healthcare, education, business, nonprofit public service organizations, and government. The capstone courses for the Major provide a rigorous option for students to demonstrate their applied knowledge through experiential learning and community engagement.
The mission of the American Indian Studies Department is to provide students an understanding of the diverse history, government-to-government relationship, community, culture, and social needs of American Indians in California and the U.S., toward the goal of working effectively with and for tribal communities as they exercise tribal sovereignty. This integrated approach will include a research-, community- and place-based program of study.
Program Student Learning Outcomes
Students who graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in American Indian Studies will be able to:
- Describe the legal and historical foundations of American Indian political identity through an analysis of tribal sovereignty.
- Apply American Indian epistemologies and other forms of knowledge to evaluate contemporary issues in American Indian communities.
- Recognize and evaluate the historical, cultural, social, economic and political contributions of American Indian leaders, writers, artists, and activists.
- Identify stereotypes about American Indian peoples and explain their historical production and contemporary manifestation.
- Apply research skills through community engagement and experiential learning environment to communicate knowledge about American Indian sovereignty.
The Bachelor of Arts in American Indian Studies follows the standard undergraduate admission and transfer policies outlined in the university’s catalog.
Students must have Junior standing prior to enrolling in the upper-division core courses. Students may transfer up to 15 units of lower-division courses toward the Major from other campuses. Students must complete all required courses (lower- and upper-division), community engagement, and internship with a 3.0 GPA and a grade “C” (2.0) or better.
A minimum of twenty-seven (27) units of upper-division credits must be earned at CSUSM. Capstone coursework in the major culminates in a series of 400-level courses that includes an internship, community engagement experience, and/or a specialized research project.
Preparation for the Major (15 Units)
Lower-Division Required Courses (6 Units)
Lower-Division Critical/Theoretical/Cultural Courses (9 Units)
Language Proficiency (0-9 Units)
All American Indian Studies majors must meet a second-language proficiency requirement. This is satisfied with a 200-level class or demonstrating proficiency in a language other than English. For details on how to satisfy this requirement, please refer to Language Proficiency Requirement .
Upper-Division Core Requirements (18 Units)
Upper-Division Electives (9)
Select three (3) of the following courses:
Breadth Requirement (3 Units)
Additional course in Upper Division Social Sciences (DD designated) outside the major. This requirement can also count as the DD requirement in Upper Division General Education, but it must be taken in a Social Science or Interdisciplinary program other than American Indian Studies. Any course carrying the DD designation outside of American Indian Studies can be used to fulfill this requirement. If students choose to satisfy their UDGE DD with a course outside the major, the breadth requirement will become 3 free elective units.
Minimum Total (120 Units)
Students must take a sufficient number of elective units to bring the total to a minimum of 120