American Indian Studies

American Indian studies is a multi-faceted discipline that incorporates a variety of academic subjects, like linguistics, history and anthropology. Read on to learn more about degrees and career options in this field.

Is American Indian Studies for Me?

Overview of the Field

American Indian studies, also called Native American studies, concentrates on the history, culture and languages of people indigenous to the North American continent. If you're interested in pursuing an education in American Indian studies, you have options at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree levels. Undergraduate education in this field may cover the politics, literature and religions of Native Americans. These programs may also include classes in economics, dance performance and family relations. Graduate studies may introduce you to topics like tribal culture, American Indian art history and current events concerning these communities.

Career Options

A formal education in Native American studies can prepare you for a career with government agencies, non-profit organizations and businesses. A bachelor's degree might qualify you for a position as a teacher, reservation official or government employee. With an advanced degree, you may seek employment as a professor, museum curator, data analyst or lobbyist.

Employment and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected a 6%, or slower-than-average, increase in job openings for high school teachers nationwide between 2012 and 2022. Professors in general can expect a 19%, or faster-than-average, growth in employment during that same period. In May 2012, high school teachers earned an average annual wage of $57,770, while postsecondary teachers of area, ethnic and cultural studies averaged $77,690 (

How Can I Work in American Indian Studies?

Bachelor's Degree Programs

A bachelor's degree program in American Indian studies commonly emphasizes cultural and language studies, such as the art of storytelling. In addition, you may learn about Native American legal rights, injustices, crimes and movements; related topics in health issues and entrepreneurship may also be covered. Some programs allow you to focus on a specific aspect of American Indian studies or languages, such as Dakota or Ojibwe. Senior projects may be required for graduation.

Master's Degree Programs

A master's degree in American Indian studies may offer concentrations in Native American education law and policy, as well as culture and literature. Diverse coursework may draw from interdisciplinary topics in ethnomusicology, comparative literature and world arts. To earn your degree, you'll also have to pass a comprehensive examination and submit a written thesis.

Doctoral Degree Programs

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs in American Indian studies are also interdisciplinary in nature and are usually intended to prepare you for a career in academia. Program features include the freedom to choose an area of research that reflects your particular interests, and that will serve as the focal point of your dissertation. In general, Ph.D. studies require an additional 3-4 years to complete beyond a master's degree.

Related Articles for American Indian Studies

View More Articles

Related Videos

  • General Studies Degrees - Video

    A General Studies degree, or a Generalist degree as it is sometimes called, may be a good option for students who haven't decided on a specific career path. General Studies programs provide a multi-disciplinary education that can prepare students for a wide range of careers or for graduate study.
  • International Studies Degrees - Video

    International Studies degree programs are designed to train students for a wide range of careers in business, education, law, politics and other fields. Students can choose to earn a general International Studies degree or focus on a specific area, such as Asia or Europe.
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • New England College

    New England College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at New England College:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • University of Arizona

    Campus Locations:

    • Arizona: Tucson
  • University of North Dakota

    Campus Locations:

    • North Dakota: Grand Forks
  • Stanford University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Stanford
  • The University of Montana

    Campus Locations:

    • Montana: Missoula