Montana State University

Native American Studies

Department of Native American Studies

Native American Studies offers an interdisciplinary program of study in American Indian culture and history, policy and law, community affairs, education, and other related areas through a non-teaching minor in Native American Studies, an Online Graduate Certificate in Native American Studies, a Master of Arts in Native American Studies, as well as opportunities for all MSU undergraduate students to gain a multicultural perspective in meeting the university's Core Curriculum requirements.

Research and Creative Activity

The Department takes pride in the scholarship of its faculty. In 2000 the Department established its endowed Chair in Native American Studies. The scholarship and service offered by the holders of the Chair enhances the Department's efforts to provide first class scholarship on behalf of Native peoples and the university. Over the year faculty members have consistently published in professional journals, delivered papers at national and international meetings, held symposia here at MSU, and, by invitation, chaired and participated in panels at national professional association conferences.

Consistent with its service commitment to Montana's tribal communities, much of the faculty's research and creative activity responds to the educational, cultural, and economic development needs of Native Americans.  In addition to scholarly research, faculty members have devoted much time and energy to developing new programs and finding external funding sources for those programs. During the past decade, the Department has received more than $5 million in federal, state, and private grants for programs which include graduate fellowships, tribal college development projects, international student exchanges, pre-college engineering and business programs, and national and international cultural development programs.


The Department firmly maintains that Montana State University must be responsive to Indian communities in addressing tribally-identified educational, cultural, and economic development needs. Accordingly, the Department has directed much of its public service activity to Montana's Indian communities. In doing so, Department faculty members have established close working relationships with tribal and intertribal groups as well as with national Indian offices and organizations.

Upon request, faculty members have also provided technical assistance in the areas of adult, vocational, and community college development, needs assessments, proposal writing, and program evaluations.

Utilizing the resources of the university to assist in the development of Montana's seven tribally-controlled community colleges has been a major goal of the Department. For example, the Department has administered projects to provide graduate-level training to tribal college faculty, to provide in-service training and technical assistance, and to conduct significant research in areas of importance to the tribal colleges.

In addition, faculty members have presented continuing education workshops on Montana reservations, evaluated reservation cultural and education programs, and provided other public service. Faculty members have also, by invitation, read proposals for the U.S. Office of Education, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Institute of Education, and the National Science Foundation.

American Indian Student Programs and Services

In addition to the traditional functions of an academic department, Native American Studies places a high priority on providing student support programs and services, reflecting a strong commitment to Indian student retention and success. The student who decides to attend MSU will find a University-wide commitment manifested by a varied and extensive support system which is unequaled in the Great Plains region.



The minor in Native American Studies is designed to enhance the student's major area of study, offering an interdisciplinary program for Indian and non-Indian students who wish to concentrate in the study of Native American life or who are preparing for careers in tribal affairs.

Students who declare a minor in Native American Studies must complete 21 credits as outlined below:

NASX 105--Intro Native Am Studies    3
NASX 232D--Montana Indians:Cult,Hist,Current Issues     3
NASX 476--Amer Ind Policy & Law     3
NASX Electives     12

At least 9 credits must be in upper division courses, and at least 10 credits must be earned at Montana State University. Electives are to be selected in consultation with the minor advisor. NASX 290/490 (Undergraduate Research), NASX 492 (Individual Problems) and/or NASX 498 (Internship) may be included among the electives. No more than four (4) semester credits (equivalent quarter hours or combination of semester and quarter hours) of NASX 492 and/or NAX 290/490 and no more than four (4)semester credits of NASX 498 may be included in the minor program. Transfer credits or credits earned in related courses offered in other departments may be included in the student's program, upon approval of NAS departmental certifying officer.

Any student wishing a minor in Native American Studies must file an "Application for a Non-teaching Minor" with the Registrar's Office a minimum of two terms prior to graduation.

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