American Indian studies provides students with a liberal arts education focused on cultural diversity. The American Indian studies program takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Native American peoples. Using literature, art, history, and politics as touchstones, students come to understand the individual, as well as tribal character of Indian people.

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The B.A. in American Indian Studies Online Degree Completion program provides a well-rounded, thoughtful study of the economy, governance, history, culture, and contemporary lifestyles of Native American peoples. The program is designed to help you prepare for careers within and outside of Indigenous communities, without putting your professional life on hold.


About the program

American Indian Studies, SDSU Logo

The Bachelor of Arts in American Indian Studies Online Degree Completion program is designed to explore the rich history and contemporary life of various Native American peoples. As a student of the online American Indian Studies program, you’ll study the complex social and political relationships that inform and influence tribal communities. You’ll also explore the ways in which those tribes interact with each other and with outside communities, including the United States government, and you’ll learn how those complex relationships continue to evolve.

Estimated CostTotal Estimated Cost
Completion Time Completion Time
As short as 2 Years
Course Format Course Format

At the same time as you work towards your Bachelor’s degree, you’ll also have the opportunity to earn a Certificate in Tribal Casino Operations Management from the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming. This five-course certificate program focuses on casino operations, marketing, regulation, and finances. With this certificate, you’ll be better prepared for a fruitful career in the tribal gaming industry.

Your virtual classrooms are led by faculty and lecturers from SDSU’s Department of American Indian Studies and the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming. We’ve also partnered with the university’s Tribal Liaison who hails from the Kumeyaay Nation, San Diego’s largest Indigenous tribal community, to build a curriculum and an academic community that is forward-thinking and culturally sensitive. We also work closely with the Elymash Yuuchaap: Indigenous Scholars and Leaders Program and SDSU’s Native American Student Alliance.

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What is a Degree Completion Program?

This degree completion program is specifically designed for students who have started, but not finished, their four-year undergraduate degree. If you've completed 60 transferable units, satisfied all CSU requirements, and have a 2.0+ GPA, you can earn a valuable degree from San Diego State University that fits your busy schedule.

Program is perfect for

The SDSU Global Campus online American Indian Studies degree program focuses on a variety of issues, including history, political economy, tribal law and federal treaties, nation-building, social justice issues, cultural studies, tribal sovereignty, and the needs of contemporary Native American communities.

As such, earning your Bachelor’s degree in American Indian Studies will prepare you for a variety of careers both within and outside of Indian reservations. The coursework will prepare you to work in tribal economic development and tribal enterprises (particularly gaming facilities), education programs, social and human services programs, and cultural preservation divisions.

You’ll gain the experience necessary to work with various Federal agencies that work with Native communities, such as the Indian Health Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the National Indian Gaming Commission.

With growing economic development opportunities in Indian Country, you can also use the program to launch a career with different non-Indian corporations and industries that serve Native communities, such as hospitality, environmental planning, financial services, engineering/architectural consulting, and entrepreneurship.

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Because the program is entirely online, you won’t have to sacrifice your current career and other responsibilities; you can work towards earning your degree on your schedule. Best of all, upon graduation you’ll have earned the same degree as our on-campus students, a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences with a Major in American Indian Studies.

What Can I Learn?

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The B.A. in American Indian Studies Online Degree Completion program will teach you to:

  1. Recognize diversity of tribal communities
  2. Value Indigenous knowledges and sustainability
  3. Promote economic development and nation-building
  4. Enact preservation and promotion of cultural heritage
  5. Identify mechanisms of oppression
  6. Support processes of decolonization
  7. Comprehend global Indigeneity

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This online American Indian Studies program is designed to examine the past and the present, with an eye towards the future. Many of your online courses will focus on the diverse histories of Native American communities in the United States.

You’ll learn about the differences between pre- and post-contact American Indian communities, and how historical and contemporary forms of oppression affect these communities. The courses also focus on the ways that different forms of oppression have shaped and continue to affect these communities.The goal is for you to...

The goal is for you to become an advocate for decolonization and political and economic self-determination through continued efforts to repatriate sacred objects, develop sustainable tribal economies, protect traditional sacred sites, and preserve Native intellectual property and cultural heritage.

You’ll also have the opportunity to earn a Certificate in Tribal Casino Operations Management that runs concurrently with our Bachelor’s degree program. This certification was developed with the help of the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming as a way to provide higher education opportunities focused specifically on the tribal gaming industry. The certificate program consists of twelve units across five courses that explore topics like gaming in cultural and political contexts, casino management and operations, legal issues, and public relations. You’ll also learn how tribal gaming relates to tribal sovereignty and economic development of Indigenous communities. You can earn your Tribal Casino Operations Management in the first year of the program.

You’ll learn about these topics in online courses developed by expert faculty from SDSU’s Department of American Indian Studies and SDSU’s Tribal Liaisons from the Kumeyaay Nation. Your instructors bring their extensive academic and professional experience to every lesson, turning the virtual classroom into an interactive forum for personal growth and thoughtful exploration.

Whether you’re currently a member of an Indigenous community, or you’d like to work with tribal communities in the future, the program is designed to give you the skills and the cultural contexts you’ll need in order to become an advocate for Indigenous communities throughout the world.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook for American Indian Studies graduates is a positive one. Over the past year, there have been over 1.2 million job postings across the country that are seeking individuals with the skills you’d acquire with a B.A. in American Indian Studies program. As we begin to face the impact that environmental and ecological issues are having on Indigenous communities across the globe, that number is expected to grow by almost 8% over the next decade. Job postings in California are predicted to grow by over 10%.

The average national salary for individuals with a B.A. in American Indian Studies is $54,826, much higher than the average salary for individuals in those same positions who hold an Associate’s degree or less ($31,588).

Labor Analysis
B.A. in American Indian Studies — Nationwide

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Source: BLS & Burning Glass Technologies, 2020

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Why Should You Choose Us?


As an online degree, the B.A. in American Indian Studies program is designed to work with your busy schedule. Millions of adults across the country are unable to complete their degrees due to the time and costs associated with a traditional on-campus undergraduate experience. The program eliminates many of those barriers, making a high-quality liberal arts education accessible for all types of learners.


The online American Indian Studies degree program has developed a close relationship with San Diego’s Indigenous Kumeyaay and Luiseño communities. Through partnerships with our Tribal Liaison, we’ve worked together to develop a curriculum that is meaningful to and motivated by the needs of the Indigenous communities throughout San Diego, Southern California, and all over the world.


The program is, at its core, a liberal arts degree program. This means that you’ll receive a well-rounded education designed to enhance your critical thinking and communication skills. These skills will prepare you for work in a variety of fields, from marketing and finance to social service and government.


In order to earn a BA in American Indian Studies, in addition to any general education requirements, you’ll need to complete the following:

  • 7 Required Course Units for the Major
  • A Minimum of 18 Course Units to Satisfy Major Requirements
  • 9 General Education Exploration Units
  • 3-6 Writing Proficiency Units (if applicable)
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Required Courses for the Major (7 Units)

AMIND 420: Indian Peoples of California (3)
AMIND 485: Federal Indian Law (3)
AMIND 498: American Indian Community Service Experience (1)

Courses Offered to Satisfy Major Requirements (Minimum 18 Units Required)

AMIND 300: American Indian Oral Tradition (3)
AMIND 320: American Indians in Contemporary Society (3)
AMIND 331/POLS 331: The American Indian Political Experience (3)
AMIND 370/HTM 370: Tribal Gaming: Cultural & Political Context (3)
AMIND 430: American Indian Poetry & Fiction (3)
AMIND 435: Indians Through Film & Television (3)
AMIND 440: American Indian History (3)
AMIND 451/ANTH 451: American Indian Identity (3)
AMIND 460/ANTH 460/LING 460: American Indian Languages (3)
AMIND 470/REL S 470: American Indian Spirituality & Epistemologies (3)
AMIND 480: Issues in American Indian Education (3)
AMIND 499: Special Study (1-4)
AMIND 300: American Indian Oral Tradition (3)
AMIND 320: American Indians in Contemporary Society (3)
AMIND 331/POLS 331: The American Indian Political Experience (3)
AMIND 370/HTM 370: Tribal Gaming: Cultural & Political Context (3)
AMIND 430: American Indian Poetry & Fiction (3)
AMIND 435: Indians Through Film & Television (3)
AMIND 440: American Indian History (3)
AMIND 451/ANTH 451: American Indian Identity (3)
AMIND 460/ANTH 460/LING 460: American Indian Languages (3)
AMIND 470/REL S 470: American Indian Spirituality & Epistemologies (3)
AMIND 480: Issues in American Indian Education (3)
AMIND 499: Special Study (1-4)

* Upper division AIS courses to satisfy the major requirements in the online degree completion program will be selected from the list above by the AIS department chair and SDSU Global Campus each term, based on student interest, faculty availability, and those most appropriate for online delivery.

Certificate in Tribal Casino Operations Management Courses (12 Units)

AMIND/HTM 370: Cultural and Political Contexts
HTM 371: Casino Operations Management
HTM 372: Legal and Regulatory Issues
HTM 373: Casino Marketing and Tribal Public Relations
PSFA 381: Cross-Cultural Interpretations of Gambling Addiction

General Education Explorations Courses (9 units)

Students will select among the Explorations courses offered in an online modality through SDSU Global Campus.

Writing Proficiency Requirements (3-6 Units)

RWS 305W: Writing in Various Settings (3 units) 
RWS 280: Academic Reading & Writing (3 units)
In order to satisfy the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR), you’ll need to take the Writing Placement Assessment (WPA) your first semester in the program. Your score on the WPA will determine which of the writing courses above, if any, you’ll need to enroll in to satisfy the GWAR graduation requirement. Please note that you will not be able to enroll in future terms until you’ve taken the WPA. Visit for more information.

To successfully complete the program and earn your degree, you’ll need to complete all required units of coursework. You'll need to complete any remaining lower division CSU and General Education requirements externally before graduation at SDSU (with the exception of approved bridge courses that are offered internally at SDSU Global Campus). Once admitted, please refer to your degree evaluation to determine if there are any remaining degree requirements listed in the SDSU General Catalog for your major, as well as requirements outlined in your degree evaluation. If you have any questions, your Admissions Advisor is here to help.



Out-of-State Applicants

While we welcome out-of-state students, SDSU Global Campus currently cannot accept applications from students residing in the specific states. Please check back often, as this list of approved states does change. View the list of authorized states here.

Admission Requirements

Below is a list of general admission requirements for the B.A. in American Indian Studies degree completion program.

We understand that every student's academic journey is unique, and we encourage you to contact one of our Student Service Representatives to find out what you'll need to successfully apply to the program.

  • Have a minimum of 60 transferable semester (or 90 quarter) units by the end of the fall term prior to spring transfer and the end of the spring term prior to fall transfer, which includes:
    • 6 Lower Division Preparation Course Units, which include:
      • American Indian Studies 110
      • American Indian Studies 140 or 141
    • A minimum of 30 Units of General Education Courses
    • The Golden Four Requirement, which includes:
      • Oral Communication — complete a basic public speaking course or other communication course with a grade of "C-" or higher in at least 3 semester (or 4 quarter) units
      • Written Communication — complete a freshman composition course that emphasizes essay writing or reading and writing concurrently with a grade of "C-" or higher in at least 3 semester (or 4 quarter) units
      • Critical Thinking — complete, with a grade of "C-" or higher, a second semester composition or writing course, or a course in reasoning and effective argumentative writing
      • Mathematics — complete a mathematics course above the level of intermediate algebra with a grade of "C-" or higher in at least 3 semester (or 4 quarter) units
  • Have an overall 2.0+ GPA
  • Complete the American Institutions requirement
    • The American Institutions requirement is designed to demonstrate that students have an understanding of American history, the United States Constitution, and California state and local government.
  • Satisfy the CSU mathematics and writing requirements
  • Complete the Language Requirement
    • Competency (successfully completing the third college semester or fifth college quarter) is required in one foreign language to fulfill the graduation requirement.

Application Instructions

To apply for our program, please complete an application through Cal State Apply.

A $70 nonrefundable application fee is required of all applicants at the time of application.

Admission decisions are initially based on self-reported information provided via Cal State Apply. You must provide complete and accurate information on your application. Any misreporting will jeopardize an admission offer.

Please do not send your official transcripts unless you are offered admission.

Electronic transcripts are highly encouraged. Please ensure that you indicate this preference when making your request. If you are required to provide an email address to send the secure online document to SDSU, please use

For more detailed admission requirements and other application information, please consult our Transfer Admissions Information.

Financial Aid

This program is approved for financial aid. To begin the financial aid process, visit SDSU’s Financial Aid webpage. There, you'll be able to access to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

If you have any questions regarding the financial aid process, please call the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships on weekdays from 10 am–3 pm at (619) 594-6323.

We encourage you to apply for financial aid as soon as possible.

Program Cost

  Unit Cost Program Unit Range* Cost
Tuition $431 60-66 $25,860-$28,446
Associated Students $19 60-66 $1,140-$1,254
Technology $21 60-66 $1,260-$1,386
Student Engagement $21 60-66 $1,260-$1,386
Total Estimated Costs $492   $29,520-$32,472

* Everyone is unique. Your admissions advisor will work with you to determine the right path that suits your needs.

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2021 Summer2021 Fall2022 Winter2022 Spring
AMIND 0496 Re-Indigenizing CRM
In this course, we will explore the various ways that consultants and/or academic researchers, agencies, developers, and Native American tribes work in consultation during development projects to protect and preserve cultural and environmental resources. We will discuss the regulatory requirements of local, state, and federal laws, such as the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the National Environmental Protection Act, the California Environmental Quality Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act. The goal is to provide training to students to effectively work through relevant regulations, gain exposure to standard and alternative field and lab methods, and explore creative solutions for avoiding or mitigating adverse effects to cultural and environmental resources. This course has relevance for anyone interested in working in the areas of archaeology, ethnography, cultural resources management, tribal historic preservation, environmental protection, land management, and public planning, among other fields.
Course Date(s)

AMIND 0499 Special Study: AMIND 499

This course will focus on indigenous heritage and cultural resources management, particularly around archaeological/ancestral sites and Traditional Cultural Resources (TCRs), Traditional Cultural Properties (TCPs), and Traditional Cultural Landscapes (TCLs). The purpose of the course is to provide Native American and Indigenous students, as well as non-Native students with sufficient background, education, and training to successfully work with tribes, necessary and sufficient praxis to protect, preserve, and learn from and better appreciate the power of cultural landscapes and places. This training involves learning to satisfy the regulatory requirements of the cultural heritage and resources management profession in standard as well as create ways and includes Native American and Indigenous voices and worldviews in the research design, data collection, and interpretation of research.

Program: American Indian Studies

Course Date(s)