A line of three women and a toddler-aged girl, all in traditional American Indian dress at a pow-wow, walk towards the festivities.

Native American Studies (Graduate)

Immerse yourself in the study of Native American history, law and culture, with options to work on topics ranging from indigenous food systems to tribal government to fine art.

Native American Studies – Master of Arts (M.A.)

Candidates in the Native American Studies graduate program at Montana State are able to study a diverse array of interdisciplinary subjects surrounding indigenous history and issues, as well as contribute to MSU's vibrant Native American community. Students focus on subjects such as history, cultural theory and methodology, anthropology, Native food systems, federal Indian law and policy, gender studies, literature and art, film studies, tribal government, higher education, geography and Native sciences and land resources and environmental studies. At the conclusion of their program, candidates pursue either a professional project or a thesis depending on their professional goals.




Montana State's Native American Studies department has launched a planning initative that will involve Montana Tribes in a "true equitable partnership" during every step of research that involves Native entities. Facilitated by Loren BirdRattler, Katz Endowed Chair in Native American Studies, the partnership is designed to give tribal communities more equity by allowing those communities to be co-principal investigators for research proposals. In addition, researchers and tribal communities will share funding and research for those projects.



Illustration of a mortarboard (flat-capped graduate hat).

Cultural Commitment
Montana State is one of only a few universities to offer a graduate program in Native American Studies that is housed within a dedicated Native American Studies department and located in a university community with a large, active Native population.

Illustration of an open book, its pages fluttering mid-read.

Learn With Flexibility
Students in Native American Studies have the option to start their graduate career with the Online Certificate in Native American Studies and then convert that certificate to a M.A. in Native American Studies on the Bozeman campus.

Illustration of two hands clasped in a handshake.

Home Away From Home
The Department of Native American Studies is committed to supporting opportunities for community building, collaborative scholarship and providing a home at Montana State for both Native students and their allies through student resources and the Native American Resource Directory.




Fund Your Education

The Graduate School at Montana State is dedicated to helping students secure funding during their time at MSU. Some resources the Native American Studies department and Graduate School offer includes:

Within the Native American Studies department, the primary forms of financial support available are teaching assistantships and research assistantships, which are awarded on a competitive basis. Assistantships include a stipend and/or tuition waiver.

Distance Learning

Montana State University's online graduate certificate in Native American Studies is the first program of its kind. From locations throughout the world, online students can share experiences, ideas and knowledge to create an exciting and interactive learning environment.

The online certificate in Native American Studies can help prepare students for careers working with Native American populations and help lay the foundation for further graduate studies. Courses cover current and historical aspects of Native American art, law, culture and contemporary issues. Students will gain a deeper insight into the American Indians of Montana, the region and the nation.




Admissions Requirements

Each program within the Graduate School at Montana State has its own particular requirements for admission, and the Native American Studies program is not different. Below are the criteria and admissions material that should be used as a guide to help as you apply to our graduate programs:

  • Application and application fee
  • Baccalaureate degree in Native American Studies or a related field
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Official transcripts from all universities attended
  • A Statement of Interests and Goals outlining the student’s background and interest in Native American Studies, work and experience related to Native American Studies or indigenous communities, as well as goals and objectives in obtaining a master’s degree in Native American Studies
  • Two short academic writing samples that demonstrate your abilities to do graduate-level research and writing, complete with citations
  • For international applicants: a TOEFL internet-based score of 80, an IELTS score of 6.5 or a PTE score of 54

Although the Graduate Program at Montana State does practice rolling admissions, the Native American Studies program utilizes these deadlines for each semester:

  • Fall: August 15 for domestic applicants and June 15 for all international applicants
  • Spring: December 15 for domestic applicants and November 1 for international applicants
  • Summer: April 1 for all applicants