skip to content

Bulletin Archive

This archived information is dated to the 2011-12 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Native American Studies

Director: C. Matthew Snipp

Native American Studies (NAS) provides an intensive approach to understanding the historical and contemporary experiences of Native American people. Attention is paid not only to the special relationship between tribes and the federal government, but to issues across national boundaries, including tribal nations within Canada, and North, Central, and South America. In using the term Native American, the NAS faculty recognize the heterogeneous nature of this population. Native Americans include the Alaska Native population, which comprises Aleuts, Eskimo, and other Native American people residing in Alaska, as well as Native Hawaiian communities.

The purpose of the Native American Studies major and minor is to introduce students to approaches in the academic study of Native American people, history, and culture. Students who major in Native American Studies have the opportunity of doing advanced work in related fields, including literature, sociology, education, and law. In addition to specialized course work on Native American issues, students also are expected to concentrate in a traditional discipline such as anthropology, history, or psychology to ensure a well rounded educational experience. The area of concentration and related course work should be chosen in consultation with a faculty adviser in Native American Studies. All courses in the program promote the discussion of how academic knowledge about Native Americans relates to the historical and contemporary experiences of Native American people and communities.


A total of 60 units of course work are required for the major.

  1. Core Curriculum—Native American Studies majors must take the 15-unit CSRE core curriculum, including two core courses and a senior seminar taken in Autumn Quarter of the senior year. One foundational course that focuses on a non-Native American group may be counted toward the 15-unit core requirement.
  2. Foundational Courses—Majors are required to take one foundational course in Native American Studies. This may be either NATIVEAM 138/SOC 138, American Indians in Comparative Historical Perspective; NATIVEAM 139/SOC 139, American Indians in Contemporary Society; or NATIVEAM 16/ANTHRO 16, Native Americans in the 21st Century: Encounters, Identity, and Sovereignty in Contemporary America.
  3. Area Study—Majors complete an additional 40 units of course work that satisfy three categories in their area of study: Native American focus, comparative focus, and a methodology/research course.
  4. Language Study (optional)—Students may obtain credit for their study of a related native language towards their degree. If students take 15 or more units of a native language relevant to Native American Studies, they may apply 5 of those units toward their Native American Studies degree.
  5. Senior Paper or Honors Thesis—All Native American Studies majors complete a culminating research paper under the supervision of a faculty adviser.


Students who wish to minor in Native American Studies must complete one CSRE core course and at least one foundational course in Native American Studies. Additional courses relevant to the area of concentration selected by the student in consultation with a faculty adviser must also be completed. A total of 30 units of approved course work is required for the minor. Proposals must be approved by the director.


Students in Native American Studies may find the following courses useful in fulfilling course requirements in the major or minor.

Core Courses
Foundational courses
Thematic courses
Cognate Courses

© Stanford University - Office of the Registrar. Archive of the Stanford Bulletin 2011-12. Terms of Use | Copyright Complaints