Indigenous Education, MA

Whether you are an experienced educator working in tribal communities or new to exploring the topic, this program can help you create practical solutions to unique issues. Researchers and students work collaboratively with native communities and contribute to the advancement of new knowledge, practice and policy in American Indian and Indigenous education.

Program Description

Degree Awarded: MA Indigenous Education

The MA program in Indigenous education provides students with advanced training in research, theory and practice related to both Indigenous education, broadly defined, as well as the process of schooling. The main audiences for this degree are those working in Indian education, those working for tribal nations with education programs, and those interested in Indigenous education.

Because the Center for Indian Education is housed in the School of Social Transformation with faculty that collaborate with colleagues internationally, nationally and across ASU campuses, students have access to a wealth of additional resources at the master's degree level, which allow them to develop a final project that best fits their specific professional aspirations.

Courses and electives

Students take 30 credit hours, including a culminating experience that allows each student to explore a research area, interest, theme or question within Indigenous education.

The core program courses include:

  1. Critical Indigenous Research Methodologies
  2. Indigenous Knowledges in Education
  3. Current Issues in American Indian Education

At a Glance: program details

  • Location: online
  • Additional Program Fee: No
  • Second Language Requirement: No

Degree Requirements

Required Core (9 credit hours)
IED 501 Critical Indigenous Research Methodologies (3)
IED 502 Indigenous Knowledges in Education (3)
IED 503 Current Issues in Indigenous Education (3)

Other Required Courses (15 credit hours)
IED 510 History of Indigenous Education (3)
IED 530 Language/Literacy-Indig People (3)
IED 535 Community-based Participatory Action Research (3)
SST 520 Learning Technologies in Native Education (3)
SST 530 Culture and Education (3)

Research (3 credit hours)
IED 592 Research (3)

Culminating Experience (3 credit hours)
IED 585 Capstone (3)

Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in a related field such as history, education, anthropology, sociology, ethnic studies, justice studies or political science, from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. letter of intent or written statement
  4. example of writing
  5. professional resume
  6. three letters of recommendation
  7. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of current residency.

A selection committee, comprised of faculty members, selects candidates based on application materials and the applicant's ability to succeed.

Core Courses

IED 501 -   Critical Indigenous Research Methodologies:  This course examines research, its methods, and methodologies through an Indigenous framework.  It will present different methods, their connections to various research questions, and thoughts of ways to analyze extant educational data.  Additionally, it examines traditional methodologies, methodological clashes, and the insertion of Critical Indigenous Research Methodologies into the framing of the conversation.  This course offers an historical overview of research in Indigenous communities.

IED 502 - Indigenous Knowledges in Education:  This course will provide an overview of the literature on Indigenous knowledge systems as they tie into education as broadly defined.  Specifically, the course will focus on Indigenous knowledge systems and how it encapsulates relationships (between people and each other, humans and their environment, and humans and written and oral learning), responsibility, reciprocity, and respect.  The course covers both historical understandings of Indigenous knowledge systems and the ways that these knowledge systems are currently being taken up by tribal peoples.

IED 503 - Current Issues in American Indian Education:  This course is designed to examine current issues facing American Indian student academic achievement and their path to higher education in the United States. The focus will center on how structural and systematic dynamics influence American Indian education. Students will be exposed to literature and engage in discussions that will allow them to analyze how policy, practice, and lived-experiences shape American Indian education.

Other Required Courses

IED 510 - History of American Indian Education:  This course presents a survey of education from multiple perspectives:  from the perspectives of Native educational theories and practices--education BY Native peoples; from the perspectives of colonial systems of schooling, imposed education developed FOR native peoples; from the perspectives of the U.S. seeking to contain Indian individuals within a category of wards-masked-as-citizens and to contain Native nations within a category of domestic-dependent-masked-as-self-determining sovereign.

IED 530 - Language/Literacy of Indigenous Peoples:  The role of language and culture in the education and schooling of Indigenous people has long been a topic of interest.  This course explores the ways in which language and culture have been addressed by communities and federal government and the issues that continue to impact Indigenous peoples worldwide.  Topics in this course include:  identity formation, research in America Indian/Indigenous communities and schools, language acquisition and literacy development, and the loss and renewal of Native languages.  Current models and approaches for Indigenous language maintenance and revitalization and their challenges will be discussed.

IED 535 - Community - Based Participatory Action Research:  This course examines the basic structures of what comprises the research paradigm called Community-Based Participatory Action Research (CBPR).  CBPR is research that connects “research experts” with community members with an explicit focus on sharing power, knowledge, and ownership of data and its concomitant resources and products.  The course will offer a “how-to” for students in constructing research projects utilizing this lens/framework.

SST 520 - Learning Technologies in Native Education:  As the internet and digital devices become more accessible in Indian country, educators are increasingly developing digital systems for formal and informal learning environments.  From distance learning systems to digital language learning and apps for informal learning, this course will review types of educational technologies in different American Indian and Indigenous educational settings, highlighting the relationship between technical affordances, pedagogical approaches, and social impacts.  At the end of this course, students will be able to: 1) Understand how technical affordances shape learning in face-to-face and online environments; 2) Describe the relationship between digital learning tools and curricular and programmatic objectives; and 3) Describe and propose the basic limitations and possibilities of types of educational technologies for specific American Indian and Indigenous educational settings.

SST 530 - Culture and Education:  This course examines the relationship between local cultures, local knowledge, and education.  Drawing from comparative and international education and paying particular attention to the world’s most marginalized populations – Indigenous peoples.  Additionally, this course will explore historical trajectories of education, the global expansion of schooling, state and international education and language policies, as well as notions of local/Indigenous resistance, agency, response, and educational innovation.  Three major sections comprise the course: 1) Patterns in education and language policy for historically underrepresented and underserved populations; 2) The role of families, communities, and local and place-based pedagogies; and 3) alternative models of education towards social transformation.

Research and Culminating Experience

IED 592 - Research:  This course is an independent study in which the student, under the supervision of a faculty member, conduct research in an area of interest, theme or question within Indigenous Education. During the course the student will prepare a proposal for their Capstone which will include a problem statement, project design, and literature review.  The Capstone proposal must be completed and approved by a faculty member prior to the beginning of IED 585.

IED 585 - Capstone:  This course allows students to build a culminating experience that reflects the breadth and depth of their MA experience and allows each student to explore a research area, interest, theme or question within Indigenous education.  Final written products will be developed individually based on consultation with faculty.  Each student will have a two faculty members committee to support the capstone project.

Indigenous Education Alumni Applied Capstone Project

Capstone Titles
Committee Member
David Chambers
Teaching Native American Cultural Genocide in American K-12 Education
Dr. Gonzales
Dr. Ben
Spring 2021
Elizabeth Rockett
Benefits of Union Apprenticeship and Tribal Labor Agreements for Tribal Nations
Dr. Ben
Dr. Chadwick
Fall 2020
Vanessa Olivares
‘No Signal’: The Promise of the DIGITAL Reservations Act and Distance Learning at the Colorado River Indian Tribes
Dr. Duarte
Dr. Ben
Fall 2020
Keauhou Mitchell-Aldan
Wai Kau a Kāne me Kanaloa: Storytelling as a Pedagogy for Water Resource Management of East Maui
Dr. Ben
Dr. Brayboy
Fall 2020
Teah Hopkins
Why American Indian and Alaskan Native Undergraduate Students in Higher Education Need Mentors to Academically Succeed
Dr. Brayboy
Dr. Ben
Fall 2020
Autumn Gobert-Rios
Native Tough: Healing Trauma and Addiction Through Indigenous Running
Dr. Brayboy
Dr. Ben
Fall 2020
Heather Lopez
Tribal Sovereignty Curriculum: Since Time Immemorial Implementation in Washington State
Dr. Solyom
Dr. Brayboy
Spring 2020
Kiara Weathersby
Indigenizing the Ways Student Affairs Educators Are Informed to Support Students in the Twenty-First Century and Beyond
Dr. Solyom
Dr. Brayboy
Summer 2020
Clint McKay
Wappo Language Revitalization: Promoting the Sovereignty of a Disenfranchised People
Dr. Brayboy
Dr. Lagunas
Summer 2020
Frances Benavidez
Reclaiming Education through a Community-based Approach
Dr. Brayboy
Dr. Lagunas
Summer 2020

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