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The Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Studies provides students with coursework and a scholarly community that places intellectual value on Indigenous knowledges, methodologies, and collaborative research. The Certificate in Indigenous Studies underscores the importance of American Indian and Indigenous knowledges, while students critically engage the place of Indigenous peoples and knowledge historically and contemporarily. The Certificate in Indigenous Studies draws on interdisciplinary research, teaching, and community engagement to examine these complex concepts and to respond to them thoughtfully. From a wide range of intellectual perspectives, students in this transdisciplinary program will work with, for, and on issues directly impacting Indigenous communities. While committed to comparative and global histories, knowledges, and sovereignties of Indigenous peoples, the Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Studies focuses primarily on Indigenous issues in the cross-border Great Lakes region, commonly known as Anishinaabewaki or Three Fires (Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi) Territory.

The Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Studies is available as a graduate certificate to students who are enrolled in any graduate degree program at Michigan State University.

Requirements for the Certificate in Indigenous Studies

The student must complete at least 9 credits as specified below:

1. The following course (3 credits):

AIIS 801Indigenous Theories and Methodologies3

2. At least two of the following courses (minimum 6 credits):

LAW 635BFederal Law and Indian Tribes3
LAW 635DAmerican Indian Children & the Law2
LAW 635GGlobal Perspectives on Indigenous Peoples2
LAW 635ETribal Law2
ANP 811Knowledge, Memory, and Archives3
AIIS 890Independent Study in American Indian1-6
AIIS 891Special Topics in American Indian and Indigenous Studies3

Other courses also satisfy this requirement with approval of the AIIS Director. See our current updated list of available Fall 2024 courses here.

3. Capstone Requirement – Reviewed by Graduate Director

a. Participation in 8 American Indian and Indigenous Studies Co-Curricular individual activities and events (including, but not limited to, the Indigenous Studies Writing Group, Voices on Campus, Traditional Arts Gatherings, Sugar Bush) or other activities upon approval of AIIS Director;

b. Presentation in at least 1 Indigenous Studies Graduate Colloquium, which is held annually every Spring semester;

c. Upon completion of Capstone Requirement 3.a and 3.b, students will submit a Portfolio that illustrates the learning outcomes of the Certificate no later than the last day of instruction of the semester student intends to graduate. The Portfolio must include 1. a narrative statement that addresses how the student has met the Certificate in Indigenous Studies’ educational objectives; 2. documentation that demonstrates how the student has met Capstone Requirement 3.a and 3.b; 3. Samples of work (e.g., papers, creative work) that reflect how the student has met the Certificate in Indigenous Studies’ educational; 4. and curriculum vitae.


To enroll in the Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Studies, please contact