Indigenous Studies

PhD Program in Indigenous Studies


Complete the admissions process and fulfill the following program requirements:

1. Complete the general university requirements listed in the UAF catalog
2. Complete the Ph.D. degree requirements listed in the UAF catalog
3. Complete coursework as determined by the student’s graduate advisory committee (completion of 18 UAF semester credits by distance or on-campus will satisfy UAF on-campus residence-credit requirements)
4. Required and Elective Elements of the Plan of Study:

  • Coursework: All Indigenous Studies Ph.D. students will be required to complete a minimum of two research methods courses and select, in collaboration with their graduate committee, 12 credits from the core courses in Table 1 (including CCS 608 and CCS 690), plus a minimum of 12 credits in an area of concentration.
  • Advancement to Candidacy will occur when the student demonstrates mastery in understanding of the problems and theories of indigenous studies and in-depth knowledge of the student’sá dissertation research topic area. Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy are determined by the graduate committee of the student, and shall be consistent with the candidacy requirements for Ph.D. studies at UAF. The basis of the evaluation will be comprehensive written and oral exams.
  • Dissertation Defense Seminar and Oral Examination
  • Doctoral Dissertation (18 credits minimum)

5. Recommended additional academic experience:

  • Students will be encouraged to enroll in a minimum of one semester of coursework at a partner institution with program offerings related to their area of specialization.
  • Students will be expected to make at least one formal academic presentation at a national or international meeting, as well as a community/regional level presentation in Alaska.
  • Students will be encouraged to study a language other than English, as appropriate for the thematic emphasis area in which they are enrolled. Students who select the Indigenous Languages specialty will be expected to acquire a minimum of nine credits in an appropriate indigenous language.
  • Cultural Experience: During their time in the Ph.D. program, students must participate in a cultural experience as defined by program faculty (e.g. a cultural camp). The actual experience will vary from year to year and may be adapted to individual student needs.

In addition to the research and thesis requirements for the degree, students will be required to complete a minimum of 12 credits of core courses, including CCS/ED/RD/ANL 608, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, and CCS/ED/RD/ANL 690, Seminar in Cross-Cultural Studies, the latter serving as a capstone course for all students. The remaining minimum of six core credits are to be selected from the specialty area in which the student is enrolled, along with any course prerequisites. Additional courses may be stipulated by the students graduate committee, depending on prior experience and particular research interests. The research course requirement consists of a minimum of six credits selected from the five courses listed below, with consideration given to the nature of the dissertation research in which the student will be engaged. Additional research preparation may be required by the student’s committee, depending on past research experience and research focus for the dissertation. A minimum of 18 thesis credits are required in conjunction with the students dissertation research. Under the guidance of the respective committee, students may employ either qualitative or quantitative research methods, or a combination of methods appropriate to the research context. The core requirements, including the research courses, will address cultural issues on a local, national and international scale (e.g. U.N Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues), and prepare students for work in any cultural context, though student interest in the program is expected to be concentrated in Alaska, Circumpolar and Pacific Basin settings. Students will be encouraged to enroll for a semester to a year of coursework at another indigenousserving institution to acquire a cross-national and cross-cultural perspective on issues in the thematic emphasis area in which they are enrolled.

Course Offerings for the Ph.D. in Indigenous Studies:


  • Cross-cultural Studies courses CCS 602, Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights, 3 cr.
  • *CCS/ED/RD/ANL 608, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, 3 cr.
  • CCS/ED 610, Education and Cultural Processes, 3 cr.
  • CCS/ED 611, Culture, Cognition and Knowledge Acquisition, 3 cr.
  • CCS 612, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, 3 cr.
  • CCS Pro-Seminar *CCS/ED/RD/ANL 690, Seminar in Cross-Cultural Studies, 3 cr.
  • Rural Development courses RD 600, Circumpolar Indigenous Leadership Symposium, 3 cr.
  • RD 601, Political Economy of the Circumpolar North, 3 cr.
  • RD 651, Management Strategies for Rural Development, 3 cr.
  • RD 652, Indigenous Organization Management, 3 cr.

Resilience and Adaptation (RAP) courses

  • ANTH/BIOL/ECON/NRM 647, Regional Sustainability, 3 cr.
  • ANTH/BIOL/ECON/NRM 649, Integrated Assessment of Social-
  • Ecological Systems, 3 cr.
  • Education courses ED/LING 621, Cultural Aspects of Language Acquisition, 3 cr.
  • ED 620, Language, Literacy and Learning, 3 cr.
  • ED 616, Education and Socio-Economic Change, 3 cr.
  • ED 660, Educational Administration in Cultural Perspective, 3 cr.

Alaska Native Language courses

  • ANL 601, Seminar in Language Revitalization, 3 cr.
  • Anthropology courses ANTH/NORS 610, Northern Indigenous Peoples and
  • Contemporary Issues, 3 cr.
  • ANTH 631, Language and Culture Seminar, 3 cr.
  • ANTH 646, Economic Anthropology, 3 cr.


  • Choose two courses from list CCS 601, Documenting Indigenous Knowledge, 3 cr., or
  • RD 650, Community Based Research Methods, 3 cr., or
  • ANTH 637, Methods in Ethno-historical Research, 3 cr., or
  • ANTH 624, Analytical Techniques, 3 cr., or
  • CCS/ED 603, Field Study Research Methods, 3 cr.
  • Doctoral Dissertation *CCS/ED/RD/ANL 699, Thesis (18 cr. minimum)

Choose one specialty area and responsible department

  • Indigenous Studies/Research (CXCS/ANS)
  • Indigenous Knowledge Systems (CXCS/ANS)
  • Indigenous Education/Pedagogy (SOE)
  • Indigenous Languages (ANLC/ANLP)
  • Indigenous Leadership (ANRD)

* Required (use designator associated with specialty area)

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