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Online Master’s Degree in Native American Studies

Native American studies is an ideal master’s degree program for students interested in learning and potentially teaching the history of Native American cultures and their contemporary culture and politics. Most Native American studies masters degree programs will also require the study of Native American linguistics. Most masters degree programs in Native American studies require 36 credit hours to graduate, though program length varies between institutions and may depend on the student’s individual pacing. A masters degree program may also require an internship and thesis work.

Classes for an Online Masters Degree in Native American Studies

A master’s degree in Native American studies comprises course work in Native American history, culture, language, and current socioeconomic status. Graduate students learn the structure of an American Indian language, including its syntax, phonology, and morphology, and the history and the culture of the language’s native community. Students will also learn the ethical systems of Native American cultures, including concepts of spirituality and Native American ceremonies. Further course work may concentrate on research methods, independent study, and the student’s own thesis work in Native American studies. Common courses include:

  • Native American Languages
  • Native American Philosophy
  • Native Cultural Aesthetics & the Heritage Industry
  • Indigenous Archaeology
  • Tribal Governance and Leadership

An online masters degree in Native American studies may require thesis work composed of extensive research into a topic set up with an academic advisor. Some masters degree programs may also require an oral presentation summarizing the thesis and supporting arguments. Most lecture classes typically require research papers discussing topics raised in class, as well as extensive reading on Native American culture. Some departments may requires students to gain an internship in Native American studies during the graduate program, and some programs may require students to choose a concentration within their degree, whether in contemporary Native American culture, archaeology, philosophy, or linguistics.

A Career as a Graduate with an Online Masters Degree in Native American Studies

Those who graduate with a masters degree may begin a postsecondary teaching career or an elementary teaching career with emphasis on Native American culture and history. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that postsecondary teachers earned a median annual wage of $62,050 in 2010, and that postsecondary teaching employment is expected to increase by 17% between 2010 and 2020. Elementary school teachers earned a median annual wage of $51,380 in 2010, and employment for elementary school teachers is expected to increase by 17% between 2010 and 2020. Native American studies graduate students may also find careers in anthropology or archaeology. The BLS reports that archeologists and anthropologists earned a median annual wage of $54,230 in 2010, and employment for anthropologists and archeologists is expected to increase by 21% between 2010 and 2020.

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