Indigenous Studies Graduate Program

The Indigenous Studies master’s degree program provides students with in-depth knowledge of Indigenous peoples’ complex and diverse cultures and histories, as well as their impacts on the global society. Our multidisciplinary program offers students the advantage of studying relevant issues from a wide range of academic perspectives. The expertise of our affiliate faculty members includes Native American history, including medical and legal aspects; indigenous literature; ethnobotany; Indigenous peoples' cultural survival and political activism; American Indian tribal governments; indigenous geographies and cartographic history; Native American religions; and much more.

Empowered by the resources on campus and in our community, we strive to provide unique learning opportunities for our students that go beyond the classroom. The mission of the multidisciplinary Indigenous Studies Program is to educate students and promote scholarship about the complexity and diversity of Indigenous peoples' cultures and histories, and to provide students with the knowledge to understand and assess the U.S. tribes' unique relationships to the U.S. government. Indigenous Studies encourages appreciation of the contributions of Indigenous peoples to the global society, provides students with an understanding of the difficulties confronting tribal nations and offers foundational knowledge to assist them in finding innovative solutions to solve those problems.

Admission to Graduate Studies

An applicant seeking to pursue graduate study in the College may be admitted as either a degree-seeking or non-degree seeking student. Policies and procedures of Graduate Studies govern the process of Graduate admission. These may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Please consult the Departments & Programs section of the online catalog for information regarding program-specific admissions criteria and requirements. Special admissions requirements pertain to Interdisciplinary Studies degrees, which may be found in the Graduate Studies section of the online catalog.

Graduate Admission

Candidates requesting consideration for admission to the Master of Arts program in Indigenous Studies must complete the online application through the Office of Graduate Studies. Applicants should upload the supporting application documents listed below to the online application. There is no need to send copies of application materials directly to the Indigenous Studies Program.


The Indigenous Studies Program accepts students on a rolling admissions basis. Students may apply to be admitted for either the fall or spring semesters. Priority consideration will be given to applications received by April 1 for the fall semester and by October 1 for the spring semester.

Application documents

  • GRE verbal and analytical writing scores
  • Transcript(s) from undergraduate or graduate institution(s) you have attended

The Office of Graduate Studies requires a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA for admission

Applicants can upload an unofficial, electronic copy of their transcripts with the application form

  • Writing sample of at least 10 pages
  • 5-page personal statement explaining how a Master's degree in Indigenous Studies will benefit you and why you will successfully complete the degree

Applicants can upload their writing samples and statements as part of the application.

  • Three letters of recommendation

The letter of recommendation system works on the contact information provided by the applicant at the time of application.

M.A. Degree Requirements

Students pursuing the M.A. in Indigenous Studies must successfully complete a minimum of 30 graduate credit hours: a 9-hour core curriculum plus 21 hours taken according to either Plan A or Plan B.

Core Curriculum

ISP 800 Indigenous Issues in the United States. A 3-hour graduate-level course taught by the director of the ISP with guest presentations by faculty who study indigenous peoples from various disciplinary perspectives.

One 3-hour graduate-level course in the history of indigenous peoples of North America, e.g., HIST 801 Graduate Colloquium in Indigenous Peoples of North America.

One 3-hour graduate-level course with 50 percent or more content in Indigenous Peoples that has been approved by the executive committee, offered by certain departments such as English, History, and Humanities & Western Civilization.

Plan A: Non-Thesis Option

  • 12 hours of approved coursework with content relevant to the field of indigenous studies approved by the student's graduate committee.
  • 9 hours of electives.
  • An M.A. examination: an oral examination in which the candidate defends his or her portfolio, which will be composed of the student's entire body of work completed in courses counted for the degree.

Plan B: Thesis Option

  • 12 hours of approved coursework with content relevant to the field of indigenous studies approved by the student's graduate committee.
  • 6 hours of electives.
  • 3 hours of thesis on an approved subject with an oral defense.

Joint Degree with KU Law

The University of Kansas offers a joint degree program in Law and Indigenous Studies. As part of this unique program, students may graduate with both the J.D. and an M.A. in Indigenous Studies in three to four years, making it an ideal choice for students interested in tribal law. Students must apply separately to the law school and the Indigenous Studies graduate program.

The program "aspires to facilitate the protection and strengthening of indigenous sovereignty, self-determination, and self-sufficiency" in indigenous nations throughout the Americas.

The University of Kansas was the third institution of higher learning in the United States to offer a joint degree program relating to indigenous peoples.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Kronk Warner, Law School, (785) 864-4659,; or Michael Zogry, Indigenous Studies, (785) 864-5271,