Native American Studies, Bachelor of Arts College of Letters & Science

The Major Program

Native American Studies provides a multi-disciplinary introduction to the indigenous cultures of North, Central, and South America. It challenges students to consider issues of cultural diversity, sovereignty, and indigenous knowledge systems in preparation for living in a world of constantly increasing social and cultural complexity.

The Program

Students electing a major in Native American Studies may complete Plan I, Plan II, or Plan III. Plan I enables students to concentrate chiefly upon the Native experience in North America (north of Mexico). Plan II encourages interested students to focus upon Meso-America with some course work integrating Meso-America with North America and South America. Plan III focuses upon South America with some course work integrating that region with areas to the north. See Undergraduate Major Requirements.

Major Advisor & Advising

All new and prospective Native American Studies majors are encouraged to see the Student Affairs Officer individually, once per year, at minimum. See Native American Studies Advising.

Career Alternatives

Native American Studies is excellent preparation for a scholarly career or professional career such as teaching, law, human services, health, tribal administration, social work, and inter-ethnic relations. Graduate schools and agencies in these and related areas are looking for students with broad interdisciplinary preparation and who possess knowledge and sensitivity relating to ethnic issues and cultural diversity.

Study Off Campus

Majors have the option of spending one to three quarters elsewhere in the Americas or on or near a reservation as part of the fulfillment of the Area of Specialization. Each student’s plan must be approved by the student’s  advisor and by the chairperson and may fulfill from 12 to 20 of the 28 units required for the emphasis. The courses or field internship taken elsewhere must be focused upon indigenous peoples or indigenous languages and the institution of study shall be located in an area with substantial indigenous population. Students must have upper division standing and, for Plan I, course 107 or the equivalent should have been completed; for Plan II, courses 107 and 133 should have been completed; and for Plan III, courses 107 and 120 should have been completed prior to departure. Several options may be used for receiving academic credit, including course 195. The  department strongly encourages students to participate in the UC Education Abroad Program or Short-Term Programs Abroad.

Graduate Study

The Department offers a program of study leading to M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Native American Studies, as well as a designated emphasis in Native American Studies for graduate students in approved programs. Further information regarding graduate study may be obtained at the Department office and at Graduate Studies.

Graduates Advisor

Graduate Advisors

Preparatory Subject Matter
Native American Studies
NAS 001Introduction to Native American Studies4
NAS 010Native American Experience4
or NAS 012 Native American/Indigenous Film
Choose one or two:4-8
Introduction to Native American Literature
Native American/Indigenous Film
Native American Music & Dance
Introduction to Native American Art
Native American Art Studio
Choose one or two:3-8
Introduction to African Studies
African Traditional Religion
Cultural Anthropology
Comparative Cultures
Ancient Crops & People
Historical Experience of Asian Americans
Contemporary Issues of Asian Americans
Asian American Cultural Studies
Introduction to Chicana/o Studies
Chicana/o & Latina/o Health Care Issues
Qualitative Research Methods
Ethnic Minority Writers in World Literature
Ethnicity & American Communities
Current Issues in the Environment
History of Latin America to 1700
History of Latin America, 1700-1900
History of Latin America 1900-present
History of the United States
Introduction to Linguistics
Preparatory Subject Matter Subtotal15-24
Depth Subject Matter
Native American Studies
NAS 157Native American Religion & Philosophy4
Choose one:4
Native American Ethno-Historical Development
Native American Ethno-Historical Development
Native American Ethno-Historical Development
NAS 180Native American Women4
or NAS 135 Gender Construction in Native Societies
Choose three:12
Contemporary Native American Art
Learning Native American Languages
Indigenous Languages of California
Native Americans in the Contemporary World
Introduction to Federal Indian Law
Native American Community Development
Performance & Culture Among Native Americans
Native American Ethno-Historical Development
Native American Ethno-Historical Development
Native American Ethno-Historical Development
Ethnohistory of Native Peoples of Mexico & Central America to 1500
Ethnohistory of Native Peoples of Mexico & Central America 1500 to 2000
Gender Construction in Native Societies
Orientation to Research in Native American Studies
California Indian Environmental Policy I
California Indian Environmental Policy II
Native American Women
Native American Literature
Native American Literature
Contemporary Native American Poetry
Native American Literature in Performance
Special Topics in Native American Literary Studies
Topics in Native American Studies
Note: If a course is counted for either Plans I, II, or III (below), it cannot also be counted as part of the 24 units of Depth Subject Matter (above).
Depth Subject Matter Subtotal24
Areas of Specialization
Complete one plan:20-21
Areas of Specialization Subtotal20-21
Total Units59-69

Plan I—North American Emphasis

Native American Studies
NAS 107Learning Native American Languages4
or NAS 108 Indigenous Languages of California
Choose two:8
Contemporary Native American Art
Native Americans in the Contemporary World
Introduction to Federal Indian Law
Native American Community Development
Performance & Culture Among Native Americans
Native American Ethno-Historical Development
Native American Ethno-Historical Development
Native American Ethno-Historical Development
Gender Construction in Native Societies
Orientation to Research in Native American Studies
California Indian Environmental Policy I
California Indian Environmental Policy II
Native American Literature
Native American Literature
Contemporary Native American Poetry
Native American Literature in Performance
Special Topics in Native American Literary Studies
Topics in Native American Studies
Choose one:4
Methods in American Studies
Indigenous Peoples & Natural Resource Conservation
Ethnographic Film
New World Prehistory: The First Arrivals
Andean Prehistory: Archaeology of the Incas & Their Ancestors
Prehistory of California & the Great Basin
Survey of Ethnicity in the US
African Descent Communities & Culture in North America
Black Intellectuals
Major Voices in Black World Literature
African Literature
African Religions in the Americas
Diaspora & New Black Identities
The Politics of Resources
Hip Hop in Urban America
Theoretical Perspective in Asian American Studies
Asian American Women
Multiracial Asian Pacific American Issues
Asian American Performance
Chicana/o Theoretical Perspective
Sociology of the Chicana/o Experience
Interracial Interpersonal Dynamics
Women, "Race" & Sexuality in Postcolonial Cinema
Feminist Film Theory & Criticism
Queer Studies
Women of Color Writing in the United States
Globalization, Gender & Culture
One other upper division Native American Studies course, selected in consultation with advisor.4
Total Units20

Plan II—Mexico-Central America Emphasis

Native American Studies
NAS 107Learning Native American Languages4
NAS 133Ethnohistory of Native People of Mexico & Central America4
or NAS 133B Ethnohistory of Native Peoples of Mexico & Central America 1500 to 2000
Choose two:8-9
Methods in American Studies
Colonialism & the Making of the Modern World
Spain & America in the 16th Century
Latin American Social Revolutions
History of Mexico to 1848
History of Mexico since 1848
African Descent Communities & Culture in the Caribbean & Latin America
Race & Ethnicity in Latin America
Contemporary Societies & Cultures of Latin America
Chicanas/Mexicanas in Contemporary Society
Globalization, Transnational Migration, & Chicana/o & Latina/o Communities
Latino Families in the Age of Globalization: Migration & Transculturation
United States-Mexican Border Relations
Transnational Latina/o Political Economy
Indigenous Healing & Biodiversity in Latin America
Native American Community Development
Ethnohistory of Native Peoples of Mexico & Central America to 1500
Contemporary Indigenous Literature of Mexico (Study Abroad)
Native American Literature in Performance
Mexican Politics
California & Latin America
Choose one:4
Arts of the Ancient New World
Native American Literature
Contemporary Native American Poetry
If student's work is specifically focused upon a Meso-American language or topic, choose:
Special Topics in Native American Literary Studies
Topics in Native American Studies
Total Units20-21

Plan III—South American Emphasis

Native American Studies
Choose two:8
Learning Native American Languages
Quechua Language & Society: Beginning Level 1
Quechua Language & Society: Beginning Level 2
Quechua Language & Society: Intermediate Level 1
Quechua Language & Society: Intermediate Level 2
Ethnopolitics of South American Indians (Study Abroad)
Choose two:8
African Descent Communities & Culture in the Caribbean & Latin America
African-American Dance & Culture in the United States, Brazil & the Caribbean
African Religions in the Americas
Race & Ethnicity in Latin America
Indigenous Peoples & Natural Resource Conservation
Contemporary Societies & Cultures of Latin America
Andean Prehistory: Archaeology of the Incas & Their Ancestors
History of the Andean Region
Latin American Social Revolutions
Latin American Politics
The Political Economy of International Migration
Introduction to Latin American Culture
Introduction to Latin American Culture
Music from Latin America
Music from Latin America (Summer Abroad.)
Choose one:4
History of Brazil
History of Chile
Modern Latin American Cultural & Intellectual History
Latin American Politics
Total Units20