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Associate in Arts, Emphasis in American Indian Studies

The Associate in Arts (AA), Emphasis in American Indian Studies provides a multi-disciplinary academic approach to studying Indigenous Peoples, their cultures, struggles, and maintaining sovereignty and self-determination. This degree empowers students to effectively work in urban and rural environments, and government agencies, and help Native Nations. Coursework focuses on historic relations with non-Indian societies, the development of federal Indian law, tribal governments, treaty rights, environmental issues, public policy, economic development, cultural preservation, and contemporary social issues. This degree provides students with the foundational coursework needed to transfer to a four-year institution to earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in the field.


Details iconImportant information you’ll need when applying for admission:
Field of Interest
Culture and Society
Associate Degree
Associate in Arts, Emphasis in American Indian Studies (DEG)
Total Credits Required
Students at any Maricopa Community College may need to complete courses at more than one of our colleges.

Students must earn a grade of C or better in each course in the program.

Federal Indian policy stipulates tribal preference in hiring, which should be considered in seeking employment with tribal nations and selected federal agencies. Seek advice of the tribal agency for available employment opportunities.

What You'll Learn
  • Analyze tribal, federal, state, and municipal governmental policy and legal interactions related to inherent sovereignty. (AIS/SOC105, AIS/SOC160, (COM), (CRE), [HU], [FYC], [MA], [SB], [SG], [SQ])
  • Collaborate effectively to identify and examine issues at the tribal, state, and national levels that affect the holistic well-being of Indigenous Peoples. (AIS/SOC105, AIS/SOC160, BPC110, CIS105, (COM), (CRE), [HU], [FYC], [SB])
  • Examine the Indigenous concept of interconnectedness with respect to the Sacred, which is holistically and organically inclusive of culture, homeland, worldview, identity, nature, and sustainability. (AIS/SOC105, AIS/SOC160, BPC110, CIS105, (COM), (CRE), [FYC], [HU], [MA], [SB], [SG], [SQ])
  • Analyze the various ways in which Indigenous Peoples identify and organize themselves in relation to pre- and post-colonial contact. (AIS/SOC105, AIS/SOC160, (COM), (CRE), [FYC], [HU], [MA], [SB], [SG], [SQ])
  • Analyze the impacts of sovereign powers at the tribal, state, and federal levels in relation to the international governmental forum. (AIS/SOC105, AIS/SOC160, (COM), (CRE), [HU], [FYC], [MA], [SB], [SG], [SQ])
  • Examine the laws, codes, and statutes at the tribal, federal, and state levels. (AIS/SOC105, AIS/SOC160, (COM), (CRE), [FYC], [HU], [MA], [SB])
  • Examine the impact of political diversity and historic, socio-economic, contemporary, and cultural contexts on Indigenous Peoples and their respective cultures. (AIS/SOC105, AIS/SOC160, (COM), (CRE), [FYC], [HU], [SB])
  • Perform academic research and writing in accordance with ethical standards and scholarly practices. (AIS/SOC105, AIS/SOC160, BPC110, CIS105, (COM), (CRE), [FYC], [HU], [SB], [SG], [SQ])
  • Effectively communicate orally, visually, digitally, and in writing in a manner that demonstrates cross-cultural empathy, self-awareness, open mindedness, and responsiveness. (AIS/SOC105, AIS/SOC160, (COM), (CRE), [FYC], [HU], [SB], [SG], [SQ])
  • Illustrate the ways in which the influences of past and current social and political institutions promote inequalities, privileges, stereotypes, mistrust, and biases that continue to extrinsically shape the identity of Indigenous Peoples. (AIS/SOC105, AIS/SOC160, (COM), (CRE), [FYC], [HU], [SB])
  • Value Indigenous knowledge as it relates to multi-generational cultural education, including elderhood, oral traditions, and aesthetics. (AIS/SOC105, AIS/SOC160, (COM), (CRE), [FYC], [HU], [SB])
  • Examine the endangerment of Indigenous language extinction and the acceleration of Indigenous culture loss as well as the efforts to revitalize and restore them. (AIS/SOC105, AIS/SOC160, (COM), (CRE), [FYC], [HU], [SB])
Career Opportunities
Required courses
Course #Course TitleCredits
AIS/SOC105Introduction to American Indian Studies3
AIS/SOC160American Indian Law3
Arizona General Education Curriculum (AGEC)
AGEC-ACredits: 35-38
A single course with an [L], [HU], [SB], [SG], or [SQ] designation may also be used to satisfy the Oral Communication, Critical Reading, and/or Awareness Area ([C], [G] and/or [H]) requirement(s). See the AGEC matrix on for course designations.
First-Year Composition [FYC]Credits: 6
ENG101First-Year Composition (3) OR
ENG107First-Year Composition for ESL (3) AND
ENG102First-Year Composition (3) OR
ENG108First-Year Composition for ESL (3)6
Literacy and Critical Inquiry [L]Credits: 3
Any approved general education course in the Literacy and Critical Inquiry [L] area.3
Recommended for students intending to earn the Academic Certificate in American Indian Studies:
AIS213/REL203American Indian Religions3
Mathematics [MA]Credits: 3-6
MAT140College Mathematics (5) OR
MAT141College Mathematics (4) OR
MAT142College Mathematics (3) OR
MAT145College Mathematics with Review (5) OR
MAT146College Mathematics with Review (6) OR
Higher approved general education course in the Mathematical Applications [MA] area (3-6)3-6
Computer/Statistics/Quantitative Applications [CS]Credits: 3
BPC110Computer Usage and Applications (3) OR
CIS105Survey of Computer Information Systems (3)3
Humanities, Arts and Design [HU]Credits: 6
Any approved general education courses in the Humanities, Arts and Design [HU] area.6
Recommended for students intending to earn the Academic Certificate in American Indian Studies:
AIS213/REL203American Indian Religions 3 or ENH259 American Indian Literature3
Social-Behavioral Sciences [SB]Credits: 6
Any approved general education courses in the Social-Behavioral Sciences [SB] area.6
Recommended for students intending to earn the Academic Certificate in American Indian Studies:
AIS101Survey of American Indian Issues 3 or AIS/HIS140 American Indian History 3 or AIS/SOC141 Sovereign Indian Nations3
Natural Sciences [SG]/[SQ]Credits: 8
Any approved general education course in the Natural Sciences (Quantitative) [SQ] area (4) AND
Any approved general education course in the Natural Sciences (Quantitative) [SQ] area or the Natural Sciences (General) [SG] area (4)8
Awareness AreasCredits: 0
These requirements may be shared with other AGEC requirements. See the AGEC matrix on for course designations.
Cultural Diversity in the US [C]Credits: 0
Historical/Global Awareness [H]/[G]Credits: 0
Met by AIS/SOC160 in the Required Courses area
MCCCD Additional Requirements
MCCCD Additional RequirementsCredits: 0-6
Some courses in this area have [SB] and [L] designations and may also be applied to the corresponding AGEC requirements. See the AGEC matrix on for course designations.
Oral CommunicationCredits: 0-3
COM100Introduction to Human Communication (3) OR
COM110Interpersonal Communication (3) OR
COM225Public Speaking (3) OR
COM230Small Group Communication (3)0-3
Critical ReadingCredits: 0-3
CRE101College Critical Reading and Critical Thinking (3) OR
Equivalent as indicated by assessment (0)0-3
Course Area Key
General Electives
Course #Course TitleCredits
Select additional courses 100-level or higher to complete a minimum of 60 semester credits but no more than a total of 64 semester credits. Consult with a faculty advisor, program director, and/or academic advisor to identify coursework that best aligns with academic and professional goals.
CPD103BENative American Cultural Pride and Awareness2
NAV101Elementary Navajo I4
NAV102Elementary Navajo II4
PIM115Beginning Pima Conversation I3
PIM116Beginning Pima Conversation II3
YAQ100Yaqui Indian History and Culture3
YAQ110Yaqui Language and Culture3
Students transferring to ASU`s American Indian Studies, BS College of Liberal Arts and Sciences may choose to complete NAV101 and NAV102 at MCCCD or optionally after transfer as part of the Arts, Languages and Culture Emphasis Area Track.
For students intending to earn an Academic Certificate in American Indian Studies, selecting a total of three (3) credits from the following list (except those used to satisfy other areas) is recommended:
AIS+++ Any AIS American Indian Studies course1-3
ARH145History of American Indian Art3
CCS101Chicana and Chicano Studies3
ENH259American Indian Literature3
GCU221Arizona Geography3
HIS+++ Any HIS History course3
NAV+++ Any NAV Navajo course1-3
SPH245Hispanic Heritage in the Southwest3

At Maricopa, we strive to provide you with accurate and current information about our degree and certificate offerings. Due to the dynamic nature of the curriculum process, course and program information is subject to change. As a result, the course list associated with this degree or certificate on this site does not represent a contract, nor does it guarantee course availability. If you are interested in pursuing this degree or certificate, we encourage you to meet with an advisor to discuss the requirements at your college for the appropriate catalog year.