NAIS PhD Program

The Ph.D./Graduate Certificate in Native American and Indigenous Studies will allow
doctoral and masters level students in any department at UCSD to obtain a certificate in
NAIS by completing 1 required and at least 3 elective courses currently offered within
the NAIS Program at UCSD. Our current courses are from a wide range of disciplines
including anthropology and physics to literature and environmental studies. We believe
this certificate is not only long overdue, but it will provide an essential intellectual space
for our graduate students to engage in the foundational aspects of Native American and
Indigenous Studies and apply them to their primary doctoral studies preparing them for
careers in a number of fields.

Aims and Objectives

  • To understand and have the ability to analyze the diverse, placed-based, global, and diasporic histories of Native American and Indigenous communities.
  • To understand and develop a critical comprehension of the intellectual and methodological contributions of Native American and Indigenous studies to academia and higher education and to the general population ranging from the physical and social sciences to the humanities and the arts.
  • To increase graduate student access to scholarship and professional training relevant and complimentary to their primary areas of study while also expanding student expertise and professional profile/portfolio.


The Native American and Indigenous Studies doctoral/graduate certificate is comprised
of 4 total courses. Of the four courses there is one foundational required course:
ETHN 270. Indigenous Epistemologies and their Disruptions (Required)
3 elective courses from list below or another course with consent and approval of NAIS
Faculty Director:
ENVR 102: Environmental Law and Federal Policies in Indian Country
ENVR 102: Indigenous Approaches to Climate Change
ETHN 110 Cultural Worldviews of Indigenous America
ETHN 111 Native American Literature
ETHN 112A History of Native Americans in the United States I
(Cross-listed with HIUS 108A
ETHN 112B History of Native Americans in the United States II
(Cross-listed with HIUS 108B.)
ETHN 112C California Native American History
ETHN 113 Decolonizing Education
ETHN 114A Representing Native America
ETHN 114B Representing Native America—Exhibition Design
LIGN 152: Indigenous Languages of the Americas
ETHN 160 Global Indigenous Studies
ETHN 162 Practicum in California Tribal Law and Journalism
ETHN 163E Decolonial Theory
ETHN 163F Playing Indian: Native American and First Nations Cinema
(Cross-listed with TDGE 131)
ETHN 163G. Indigenous Theatre and Performance
(Cross-listed with TDHT 120)
PHYSICS 192: Senior Seminar on Indigenous Science
ETHN 214A Representing Native America
ETHN 214B Representing Native America: Exhibition Design
ETHN 289: Special Topics Native American Genders and Sexualities
TDRGR292: Indigenous Theory and Performance

Admission Requirements

1. An email from the primary adviser, department, program, or dissertation chair attesting to the student’s preparation and ability to complete the certificate in normative time and with the requisite interest and experienced to contribute to the courses they will be taking to complete the specialization.

2. An email from the interested student stating their interest and preparation for the specialization.

*Both emails/letters should be sent to the NAIS Director, Dr. Andrew Jolivette at or to