Indigenous Education, MA program

Whether you are an experienced educator working in tribal communities or new to exploring the topic, the MA in Indigenous education will help you create practical solutions. Our 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.

18-24 months
100% online
10 courses

Degree Overview

The 30 credit MA degree program in Indigenous education provides students with advanced training in research, theory and practice related to both Indigenous education, as broadly defined, as well as the process of schooling. The primary audience for this degree are those working in Indian education, 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 nationally, internationally 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.

How to apply

Application instructions

A complete  application for the Online Indigenous Education MA must include the following required materials:

1. ASU Graduate Admission Services application

2. Non-refundable application fee as specified by ASU Graduate Admission Services

3. Official copies of transcripts from all college and universities where you have earned a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree

4. Professional Resume or CV

5. Letter of intent/personal statement: should be 1-2 pages in length

6. Writing Sample: 7-10 pages. This can be a research report, white paper, policy paper, program assessment, or paper from a recent academic course. Your writing sample should reflect your writing ability and critical thinking skills.

7. Letters of Recommendation: Three letters from recommenders who can describe your fit for this program and for graduate study in general. Letter writers should discuss your strengths and weaknesses in writing, speaking, public presentation, critical thinking, intellectual ability, leadership potential, and interpersonal skills.

8. Students whose native language is not English must meet ASU’s English proficiency requirements. English proficiency requirements can be found here:

ASU Graduate Admissions requires that all successful applicants hold at least a 3.00/4.00 GPA in the last 60 semester hours (or 90 quarter hours) of undergraduate coursework.

GRE or other official test scores are not required for this program.

Applicants can now upload unofficial transcripts to the application in the Graduate Application portal. This is the only method by which applicants will be allowed to submit unofficial transcripts. An applicant may wish to submit unofficial transcripts in order to help the application move to “committee review” status quicker and doing so can help ensure that an application is completed by the priority deadline. However, if admitted, students are required to provide official transcripts to the university.

Except for official transcripts, all of the application components above can be uploaded directly through the ASU Graduate Admission Services online application process. Transcripts need to be physically mailed to ASU Graduate Admission Services at the address below:

To expedite the processing of your application, please write your application reference number on all documents and envelopes submitted to ASU. Materials submitted without your application reference number will delay the processing of your application.

If sending by stamped mail:

Arizona State University 
Graduate Admission Services 
PO Box 871004 
Tempe, AZ 85287-1004

If sending by FedEx, DHL or UPS:

Arizona State University 
Graduate Admission Services 
1150 East University Drive Building C, Room 226
Tempe, AZ 85281


The M.A. curriculum includes required core , methods, an various elective courses. The program culminates in an Applied Project, in which students conduct research that addresses practical, site-specific, problems linked to gender. Often projects will stem from the student’s experiences in a professional setting, and the primary audience for the project may be the student’s employer or prospective employer. Final projects may take a variety of forms, including program assessments, employee handbooks, grant proposals, policy proposals, tests of new interventions or curricula, and so on, and may help lead students to careers in human services, program evaluation, policy development, community engagement, applied research, and other fields.

A minimum of 30 hours is required. 



Core courses


Other Required Courses 






Total hours required


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

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.

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.

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.


The School of Social Transformation accepts applications for the IED MA for Fall A term starts and Spring A term starts.


Fall A

Priority Deadline: December 15

Final Deadline: August 1


Spring A

Priority Deadline: September 15

Final Deadline: December 1