Native American Studies

As an interdisciplinary academic department, Native American Studies (NAS) is committed to Native academic scholarship and research excellence. Our goal is to educate and inform students about the Native experience that comes from the rich cultural heritage of the sovereign Indigenous peoples of the United States, with significant attention to our complex history and intercultural heritage of New Mexico and the United States. Another goal is to create a department that collaborates with Native communities and engages students in nation building. 

NAS offers a B.A. degree, a minor for students outside the department, an Online Degree, and a Shared-Credit B.A. and M.A. in Native American Studies.

The Bachelor of Arts in Native American Studies introduces students to the basic factors which underlie the distinct differences between Native societies and the larger American society. In addition, the degree provides students with the opportunity to examine the differences which continue to exist between Native and non-Native societies through multi-contextual learning activities which include experiential or service learning opportunities. 

In our program, we ground students in the concepts and applications of methodologies from relevant disciplines focused on Native issues related to education, language revitalization, economics, law, policies, leadership, philosophy, psychology, arts and media; provide students with relevant learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom; assist students in integrating theory and practice through field and/or research experience; and encourage dialogue and collaboration among students, faculty, and the Native community in the on-going development of the Native Studies curriculum. Our faculty's interests and research areas are varied, so students can gain exposure to a number of different areas in classes or research.

UNM-NAS provides a range of academic resources for the student, the University community, and the larger Native American community. In keeping with the Memorandum of Understanding with New Mexico Indian Tribes, UNM-NAS program places particular emphasis on addressing community-based education, research and leadership development needs of New Mexico Indian communities. UNM-NAS is organized into three major components: Academic, Research and Community.

Academic: an extensive array of courses, internships, and independent study that emphasizes the Native American experience and experiential learning.

Research: a component of every Native American Studies course provides training and experience in doing research in a Native American context. The Research component also provides research opportunities and assistantships to Native students currently in graduate degree programs. Incorporated into the Research Component is the NAS library. This collection of materials (3,000 volumes) by and about Native Americans (books, journals, articles, research papers, video and audiotapes) including the highly prized Reno Collection, is available to students, the University community and the larger Native community. The family of Philip Reno donated the Reno Collection to NAS. The collection consists of materials that Philip Reno utilized in his book, Navajo Resources and Economic Development (1988) University of New Mexico Press.

Community: NAS provides academically related activities for the larger community. NAS hosts forums, seminars, symposiums, and conferences that bring Indigenous scholars to the university campus. NAS offers specialized courses, workshops and programming to connect the UNM Native community and the larger Native community together. 

The Native American Studies Center was founded in 1970 as a support program for Native American students at The University of New Mexico. In December 2004, the UNM Board of Regents approved Native American Studies as an undergraduate major and degree.

Shared Credit B.A. / M.A. in Native American Studies

The B.A. to M.A. Shared Credit degree program in Native American Studies is a great opportunity to work toward a graduate degree while completing your undergraduate degree. This is a good option for those who are interested in graduate school. It allows you to explore that possibility while building on the support networks you created as an undergraduate. It is also a good option if your career interests require a degree beyond a Bachelor's degree.

In this program, courses in your final undergraduate year count toward both your B.A. and M.A., and you then complete the remaining M.A. requirements the following year. This can save you time and money while deepening your relationships in the department.

Undergraduate Program

Departmental Honors

UNM Catalog

Programs of Study


  • B.A. Native American Studies - Indigenous Learning Communities
  • B.A. Native American Studies - Leadership and Building Native Nations
  • Native American Studies
Online Degree Options: 
  • B.A. Native American Studies - Leadership and Building Native Nations
Shared Undergraduate/Graduate Credit Programs Available: 
  • B.A. and M.A. in Native American Studies

Contact Information

Undergraduate Academic Advisor(s): 
Advisor office locations vary. Please click on your advisor's name below to learn more.
Advising Email:
Department Email:
Department Location:
Mesa Vista Hall (Bldg 56), Suite 3080

Department/Program Website