Center for Native American Indigenous Studies
Andrew Cowell
1330 Grandview Ave.
T: (303) 735-4595

The Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies (CNAIS) offers both a graduate and undergraduate certificate in Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS). The certificate program offers a unique interdisciplinary curriculum for CU Boulder students interested in studying the history, cultures, languages, arts, policies and rights of Indigenous peoples from the Americas and around the globe. CNAIS encourages interdisciplinary and intersectional study that develops students' awareness of the diversity and complexity of Indigenous peoples, cultures and nations. It also encourages students to link their academic study of Indigeneity with community outreach and service learning.

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, gender studies, geography, history, law, linguistics, literature and religion. 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.


Students pursuing this certificate must complete an undergraduate degree in any of the academic areas offered by CU Boulder, and complete a total of 18 credits of acceptable coursework from the certificate program list. 

At least 6 of the 12 credit hours of elective courses must be upper division, and students may choose to apply up to 3 credits of independent study/internship toward the credit requirement. Any independent study must be undertaken with a CNAIS core faculty member, and may be done when a student wishes to pursue an individualized course of study not normally offered in the NAIS course offers. Independent study is typically reserved for third- and fourth-year students.

Only nine credits from the student's major or minor may be counted toward the certificate, students must maintain a C average (2.0) or better, and students must earn a grade of C or better in all courses that count toward the certificate.

Required Courses and Credit Hours

Required Courses
ETHN 1023Introduction to Native American and Indigenous Studies3
ENGL 4717Native American and Indigenous Studies Capstone Seminar (*or the equivalent )3
Electives 112
At least three of the four required elective courses must be taken outside the student's major department.
Approved Anthropology Courses
Exploring a Non-Western Culture: Tibet
Exploring a Non-Western Culture: Pueblo Indians of the Southwest
Exploring a Non-Western Culture: The Maya
Indigenous Imperialism on the Andes: The Inca Realm and its People
Exploring a Non-Western Culture: The Aztecs
Exploring a Non-Western Culture: Regional Cultures of Africa
Exploring Global Cultural Diversity (The Andes )
Exploring Culture and Gender through Film
Culture and Power (Democracy)
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Africa: Peoples and Societies in Change
Ethnography of Mexico and Central America
Peoples of the South Pacific
Explorations in Anthropology
Introduction to Museum Anthropology
Southwestern Archaeology
From Olmec to Aztec: The Archaeology of Mexico
Archaeology of the Maya and Their Neighbors
Plains Archaeology
The Archaeology of Inequality
Collections Research Practicum in Cultural Anthropology
Nomadic Peoples of East Africa
Anthropology of Tibet
Peoples and Cultures of Brazil
Language and Culture
Approved Art and Art History Courses
Special Topics in Art History (Native North American Art)
The Arts of Colonial Mexico and Peru
Precolumbian Art of Mesoamerica
Capstone Seminar: Topics in Art History (Contemporary Indigenous Art)
Approved Cinema Studies and Moving Image Arts Courses
American Indians in Film
Approved English Courses
American Ethnic Literatures
American Indian Literature
Approved Ethnic Studies Courses
Critical Issues in Native North America
American Indians in Film
Native American and Indigenous Religious Traditions
American Indian Literature
Selected Topics in American Indian Studies
Native American and Indigenous Environmental Issues
Approved Geography Courses
Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean
India and Its Neighbors: Societies, Economies, and Geopolitics
Global Africa: Environment, Development, and Culture
Political Ecology & Latin America
Approved History Courses
Introduction to Early Latin American History to 1810
Aztecs, Incas, and the Spanish Conquest of the Americas
Colorado History
History of Mexico to 1821
Environmental History of North America
Approved Linguistics Courses
American Indigenous Languages in their Social and Cultural Context
Language and Culture
Approved Music Courses
World Musics: Asia and Oceania
World Musics: Asia and Oceania
American Indian Music
Approved Religious Studies Courses
Native American and Indigenous Religious Traditions
Total Credit Hours18