The Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies (CNAIS) offers both a graduate and undergraduate certificate in Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS). These certificate programs offer students the opportunity to strengthen their interdisciplinary knowledge and experience in this increasingly important area.The rise of global and scholarly attention to issues of indigeneity signals a larger transformation in conceptions of nation, citizenship, and transnationalism in the context of globalization.  

A founding principle of CNAIS is to value and expand upon the connections and interdisciplinary nature of Native American & Indigenous scholarly work. The issues facing Native American and Indigenous peoples today require expertise from multiple disciplines and draw from scholarship in a number of fields, including art & art history, anthropology, ethnic studies, environmental studies, geography, history, law, linguistics, literature, political science, religion and sociology.

CU Boulder has recruited an unprecedented number of faculty working in a wide array of areas related to NAIS, and already enjoys a high national and international reputation in several of these areas. In pursuing the NAIS certificate, students join a vibrant and growing community at CU Boulder, including graduate and undergraduate students and more than 40 professors. 

For more information, visit the Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies website or contact


This interdisciplinary certificate requires a total of four courses (12 credits). One introductory course (ETHN 6103) is required of all students; the other courses can be taken electively, with the provision that two of the four courses be outside the student's home department.

Note: some courses listed in the catalog are taught by revolving faculty member who are not affiliated with CNAIS. Catalog course content is subject to change from semester to semester. For questions regarding course sections or more information on approved courses, please visit the department's graduate certificate webpage or contact

Required Courses and Semester Credit Hours

Required Course
ETHN 6103Indigenous Thought and Theory: Foundations in NAIS3
Electives 19
At least three of the four required elective courses must be taken outside the student's home department.
Approved Anthropology Courses
Introduction to Museum Anthropology
Southwestern Archaeology
From Olmec to Aztec: The Archaeology of Mexico
Archaeology of the Maya and Their Neighbors
Plains Archaeology
Nomadic Peoples of East Africa
Critical and Theoretical Issues in Museums
Approved Art and Art History Courses
Graduate Seminar: Open Topics in Art History (Topic: Visual, Material and Artistic Culture of the Plains and Plateau regions, 1800-1900)
Approved English Courses
Multicultural/Postcolonial Studies
Advanced Multicultural/Postcolonial Studies
Approved Ethnic Studies Courses
Native American and Indigenous Environmental Issues
Indigenous Traditions and Law: A Global Perspective
Topics: Specialized Comparative Studies (Indigenous Film & Media)
Advanced Directed Readings in Ethnic Studies (Indigenous Topics)
Approved Geography Courses
Seminar: Political Ecology
Approved Law School Courses
Cultural Property Law
Indigenous Peoples in International Law
American Indian Law I
American Indian Law II
Independent Legal Research (on an American Indian Law topic)
Seminar: Advanced Topics in American Indian Law
Approved Linguistics Courses
Open Topics in Linguistics (Language Revitalization)
Approved Music Courses
Proseminar in Ethnomusicology
American Indian Music
Approved Museum and Field Studies Courses
Introduction to Museum Anthropology
Collections Research Practicum in Cultural Anthropology
Total Credit Hours12