San Diego State University American Indian Studies Department

American Indian Studies graduates

The Major in American Indian Studies

American Indian Studies majors are provided with a broad understanding of Native American peoples, with a focus on the tribes of South California. The curriculum is designed to provide a study of American Indians from an interdisciplinary viewpoint while examining their history, culture and contemporary life. To prepare for the major, students take 6 units of lower division coursework (AMIND 110, and 140 or 141). Major requirements include a minimum of 25 upper division units to include AMIND 420, 485, 498, and 18 units selected from AMIND 300, 320, 331, 370, 430, 435, 440, 451, 460, 470, 480, 499, Anthropology 446 or 457. American Indian content courses may be applied to the major with the consent of the department advisor. Additionally, students must satisfy the Language Requirement, and the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (refer to the SDSU catalog for details).

Degree Requirements

All candidates for a degree in liberal arts and sciences must complete the graduation requirements listed in the section of the SDSU catalog on “Graduation Requirements.” No more than 48 units in American Indian studies can apply to the degree. A minor is not required with this major.

  • Preparation for the Major. American Indian Studies 110; and 140 or 141. (6 units)
  • Language Requirement. Competency (successfully completing the third college semester or fifth college quarter) is required in one foreign language to fulfill the graduation requirement. Refer to section of catalog on “Graduation Requirements.”
  • Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement. Passing the Writing Placement Assessment with a score of 10 or completing one of the approved upper division writing courses (W) with a grade of C (2.0) or better.

Major. A minimum of 25 upper division units to include American Indian Studies 420, 485, 498, and 18 units selected from American Indian Studies 300, 320, 331, 370, 430, 435, 440, 451, 460, 470 [orReligious Studies 470], 480, 499. Courses with American Indian content from other departments may be applied to this major with written consent of the undergraduate adviser.

How to Declare a Major

The American Indian Studies major is an impacted program. To be admitted to the American Indian Studies major, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Complete preparation for the major;
  • Complete a minimum of 60 transferable semester units;
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.

Students who wish to declare an American Indian Studies major must meet with the Department Advisor. Please contact the department at 619-594-6991 for more information.

To complete the major, students must fulfill the degree requirements for the major described in the catalog in effect at the time they are accepted into the premajor at SDSU (assuming continuous enrollment).



If you are an American Indian Studies major, or thinking about becoming one, we can help you with choosing classes, campus involvement, career exploration, scholarship opportunities, internships, community service, graduate programs, etc. Please visit our Advising page to find out how to make an appointment with a faculty advisor.


A degree in American Indian Studies prepares students for various careers both in and outside Indian Country. Our interdisciplinary program teaches students about tribal sovereignty and the needs of contemporary Native communities. Students will be prepared to work in tribal education programs, social and human services programs, and cultural preservation divisions. Students will also be prepared to work in the various Federal agencies that work with Native communities, such as Indian Health Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Indian Gaming Commission, etc. With growing economic development opportunities in Indian Country, our majors will also be prepared to work in the several non-Indian corporations that serve Native communities, such as hospitality, environmental planning, financial services, engineering/architectural consulting, and entrepreneurship. Our course focus on tribal self-determination and decolonization helps students understand the complex jurisdictional issues and political and economic developmental needs of Native communities.