JD/MA in Indigenous Studies


This joint degree program allows students to obtain a J.D. and an M.A. in Indigenous Studies in four years. It is of special interest to students who intend to become leaders and policymakers in Indigenous communities worldwide. Admission to both the School of Law and the master’s program in Indigenous Studies is required.

The program objectives are:

  • to facilitate interdisciplinary studies
  • to support the interest of students who wish to pursue study in both fields
  • to provide an educational opportunity that trains candidates for leadership and policymaking roles in Indigenous communities worldwide, in higher education, and in state, national and international institutions and organizations

Contacts for prospective law students:

Contacts for current students:


JD/MA in Indigenous Studies Program Information

Learn more about admission requirements, degree requirements and the typical program format for the JD/MA in Indigenous Studies joint degree program using the tabs below.

Students must conclude their joint degree program enrolled in courses offered in the law school. In all cases, students must receive their joint degrees concurrently.

Admission Requirements

Candidates for the joint program will need to meet the separate admission requirements of the School of Law and the master’s program in Indigenous Studies. Admission into one school will create no presumption favoring admission into the other. To be admitted into the joint program, an applicant must be separately admitted to both programs and then must request to proceed in the joint program. The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is the required entrance examination for the law school application, and the GRE is the required entrance examination for the Indigenous Studies application.

Per American Bar Association policy, credit for the J.D. degree shall only be given for coursework taken after the student has matriculated in the School of Law. The School of Law shall not grant credit toward the J.D. degree for work taken in a pre-admission program. For this reason, students should start the law program first.

Students may apply to both degree programs simultaneously, but they are not required to do so. Students who are admitted into the School of Law first should seek admission into the master's program as soon as possible. They must be admitted into the master's program no later than the end of the spring semester of their second year of law study, but earlier application is recommended. Students who are admitted to the master's program first should seek admission into the School of Law as soon as possible. They must be admitted into the School of Law no later than the end of their second semester of graduate study.

Degree Requirements

The law school requires all J.D. candidates to earn 90 credit hours to complete the degree. For students enrolled in the J.D./M.A. program, the School of Law will accept 9 credit hours earned from approved courses in the master's program in Indigenous Studies toward the J.D. requirements.

Students in the joint degree program should note that while the School of Law requires a 2.0 grade point average in J.D. coursework to remain in good standing and graduate, the Graduate School requires a 3.0 grade point average for all courses counting toward the M.A. in the Indigenous Studies portion of the degree.

The master's program in ISP requires all candidates to earn 30 graduate credit hours. The master's program will accept for credit toward the M.A. degree 12 credit hours earned from approved courses in the law school. Required Indigenous Studies core courses include:

  • ISP 800: Indigenous Issues in the United States (3)
  • One 3-hour graduate-level course in the history of Indigenous peoples of North America (e.g. HIST 801: Graduate Colloquium in Indigenous Peoples of North America)
  • One 3-hour graduate-level course with 50% or more content in Indigenous Peoples that has been approved by the executive committee, offered by certain departments such as English, History, and Humanities & Western Civilization (e.g. SOC 873: International Political Economy)

In addition to the 9 credit hours of core courses, students are to complete 12 credit hours in their area of specialization. Students have the option to write a thesis or present a portfolio as the capstone to their degree. Students choosing the portfolio option will be required to take 9 elective credits, while students who select the thesis are required to take 6 elective credits and 3 credit hours of thesis.

Students may use 6 law credit hours toward satisfying their Indigenous Studies specialization requirement and apply the balance of the 12 law credit hours for which they may receive master's credit (see below) toward their master's electives.

J.D. Requirements

The following law courses are required for all J.D. candidates. Learn more about J.D. Program Degree Requirements.

Law courses required for all J.D. Candidates
CourseCredit hours
First-Year Courses
LAW 804 Civil Procedure4
LAW 806 Introduction to Constitutional Law4
LAW 809 Contracts4
LAW 814 Criminal Law4
LAW 820 Lawyering Skills I2
LAW 821 Lawyering Skills II3
LAW 826 Property4
LAW 831 Torts I4
Upper-Level Courses
LAW 972 Professional Responsibility must be completed by the time a student finishes 60 hours.2
3 courses from among the following:
LAW 892 Business Organizations4
LAW 881 Conflict of Laws3
LAW 837 Contracts II/UCC Sales3
LAW 878 Criminal Procedure3
LAW 908 Evidence3
LAW 909 Family Law3
LAW 845 Jurisdiction3
LAW 873 Commercial Law: Secured Transactions3
LAW 996 Trusts and Estates4
In addition to all the JD/MA in Indigenous Studies program course requirements, students must satisfy the law school's Upper-Level Writing Intensive Course Requirements and the Experiential Course Requirements.

Sequencing of Courses

Students who have been admitted to both programs and intend to pursue the joint degree program must complete the first 29 credits of required courses in the J.D. program. After the completion of these 29 hours, course enrollment in either program or both concurrently is permitted.

Law Courses That Will Count Toward the Master's Degree

The table below outlines School of Law courses that may count toward the master's degree portion of this joint degree program.

Law courses that count toward the MA in Indigenous Studies
CourseCredit hours
Students may apply a maximum of 12 hours of law electives toward their master's degree from the following courses:
LAW 987 Sovereignty, Self-Determination, and the Indigenous Nations (ISP 883)3
LAW 914 Federal Indian Law (ISP 824)3
LAW 879 Comparative Law (ISP 876)3
LAW 995 Water Law3
LAW 967 Native American Natural Resources (ISP 882)3
LAW 974 Public International Law3
LAW ___ Special Topics in American Indian Law (courses taught on occasion, such as Indian Gaming)3
LAW 998 Tribal Judicial Support Clinic2-3

 

Master's Courses That Will Count Toward the J.D.

The table below outlines master's courses that may count toward the J.D. portion of this joint degree program.

Master's courses that count toward the J.D.
Course
Students may apply 9 credit hours of master's work to their J.D. degree from the following courses:
ANTH 562 Mexamerica (LAA 302 / LAA 602)
ANTH 603 Shamanism Past and Present
ANTH 775 Seminar Cultural Anthropology: Indigenous Development Latin America (LAA 602)
GEOG 570 Geography of American Indians
GEOG 571 Topics: Indigenous Cartographies
HIST 890 Colloquium American History 1492-1800
ISP 601/801 Indigenous Peoples of the World
ISP 614 Decolonizing Narratives
ISP 800 Indigenous Issues in the United States
ISP 804 Seminar: Issues in the Study of Native American Religious Traditions (REL 775 / AMS 998)
POLS 684 International Law: State & Individual (GIST 750 / GIST 501)
UBPL 773 Environmental Planning Implementation

 

Typical Program Format

The following table outlines the typical program format for students completing the JD/MA in Indigenous Studies joint degree program.

Typical program format
 LawISPTotal
First Year29029
Second Year25631
Third Year22628
Summer Sessions5611
 
Total Credit Earned811899
Law Credit Allowed for M.A.-1212
ISP Credit Allowed for J.D.9-9
Total Credit Required9030120

 

Admission Requirements

Candidates for the joint program will need to meet the separate admission requirements of the School of Law and the master’s program in Indigenous Studies. Admission into one school will create no presumption favoring admission into the other. To be admitted into the joint program, an applicant must be separately admitted to both programs and then must request to proceed in the joint program. The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is the required entrance examination for the law school application, and the GRE is the required entrance examination for the Indigenous Studies application.

Per American Bar Association policy, credit for the J.D. degree shall only be given for coursework taken after the student has matriculated in the School of Law. The School of Law shall not grant credit toward the J.D. degree for work taken in a pre-admission program. For this reason, students should start the law program first.

Students may apply to both degree programs simultaneously, but they are not required to do so. Students who are admitted into the School of Law first should seek admission into the master's program as soon as possible. They must be admitted into the master's program no later than the end of the spring semester of their second year of law study, but earlier application is recommended. Students who are admitted to the master's program first should seek admission into the School of Law as soon as possible. They must be admitted into the School of Law no later than the end of their second semester of graduate study.

Degree Requirements

The law school requires all J.D. candidates to earn 90 credit hours to complete the degree. For students enrolled in the J.D./M.A. program, the School of Law will accept 9 credit hours earned from approved courses in the master's program in Indigenous Studies toward the J.D. requirements.

Students in the joint degree program should note that while the School of Law requires a 2.0 grade point average in J.D. coursework to remain in good standing and graduate, the Graduate School requires a 3.0 grade point average for all courses counting toward the M.A. in the Indigenous Studies portion of the degree.

The master's program in ISP requires all candidates to earn 30 graduate credit hours. The master's program will accept for credit toward the M.A. degree 12 credit hours earned from approved courses in the law school. Required Indigenous Studies core courses include:

  • ISP 800: Indigenous Issues in the United States (3)
  • One 3-hour graduate-level course in the history of Indigenous peoples of North America (e.g. HIST 801: Graduate Colloquium in Indigenous Peoples of North America)
  • One 3-hour graduate-level course with 50% or more content in Indigenous Peoples that has been approved by the executive committee, offered by certain departments such as English, History, and Humanities & Western Civilization (e.g. SOC 873: International Political Economy)

In addition to the 9 credit hours of core courses, students are to complete 12 credit hours in their area of specialization. Students have the option to write a thesis or present a portfolio as the capstone to their degree. Students choosing the portfolio option will be required to take 9 elective credits, while students who select the thesis are required to take 6 elective credits and 3 credit hours of thesis.

Students may use 6 law credit hours toward satisfying their Indigenous Studies specialization requirement and apply the balance of the 12 law credit hours for which they may receive master's credit (see below) toward their master's electives.

J.D. Requirements

The following law courses are required for all J.D. candidates. Learn more about J.D. Program Degree Requirements.

Law courses required for all J.D. Candidates
CourseCredit hours
First-Year Courses
LAW 804 Civil Procedure4
LAW 806 Introduction to Constitutional Law4
LAW 809 Contracts4
LAW 814 Criminal Law4
LAW 820 Lawyering Skills I2
LAW 821 Lawyering Skills II3
LAW 826 Property4
LAW 831 Torts I4
Upper-Level Courses
LAW 972 Professional Responsibility must be completed by the time a student finishes 60 hours.2
3 courses from among the following:
LAW 892 Business Organizations4
LAW 881 Conflict of Laws3
LAW 837 Contracts II/UCC Sales3
LAW 878 Criminal Procedure3
LAW 908 Evidence3
LAW 909 Family Law3
LAW 845 Jurisdiction3
LAW 873 Commercial Law: Secured Transactions3
LAW 996 Trusts and Estates4
In addition to all the JD/MA in Indigenous Studies program course requirements, students must satisfy the law school's Upper-Level Writing Intensive Course Requirements and the Experiential Course Requirements.

Sequencing of Courses

Students who have been admitted to both programs and intend to pursue the joint degree program must complete the first 29 credits of required courses in the J.D. program. After the completion of these 29 hours, course enrollment in either program or both concurrently is permitted.

Law Courses That Will Count Toward the Master's Degree

The table below outlines School of Law courses that may count toward the master's degree portion of this joint degree program.

Law courses that count toward the MA in Indigenous Studies
CourseCredit hours
Students may apply a maximum of 12 hours of law electives toward their master's degree from the following courses:
LAW 987 Sovereignty, Self-Determination, and the Indigenous Nations (ISP 883)3
LAW 914 Federal Indian Law (ISP 824)3
LAW 879 Comparative Law (ISP 876)3
LAW 995 Water Law3
LAW 967 Native American Natural Resources (ISP 882)3
LAW 974 Public International Law3
LAW ___ Special Topics in American Indian Law (courses taught on occasion, such as Indian Gaming)3
LAW 998 Tribal Judicial Support Clinic2-3

 

Master's Courses That Will Count Toward the J.D.

The table below outlines master's courses that may count toward the J.D. portion of this joint degree program.

Master's courses that count toward the J.D.
Course
Students may apply 9 credit hours of master's work to their J.D. degree from the following courses:
ANTH 562 Mexamerica (LAA 302 / LAA 602)
ANTH 603 Shamanism Past and Present
ANTH 775 Seminar Cultural Anthropology: Indigenous Development Latin America (LAA 602)
GEOG 570 Geography of American Indians
GEOG 571 Topics: Indigenous Cartographies
HIST 890 Colloquium American History 1492-1800
ISP 601/801 Indigenous Peoples of the World
ISP 614 Decolonizing Narratives
ISP 800 Indigenous Issues in the United States
ISP 804 Seminar: Issues in the Study of Native American Religious Traditions (REL 775 / AMS 998)
POLS 684 International Law: State & Individual (GIST 750 / GIST 501)
UBPL 773 Environmental Planning Implementation

 

Typical Program Format

The following table outlines the typical program format for students completing the JD/MA in Indigenous Studies joint degree program.

Typical program format
 LawISPTotal
First Year29029
Second Year25631
Third Year22628
Summer Sessions5611
 
Total Credit Earned811899
Law Credit Allowed for M.A.-1212
ISP Credit Allowed for J.D.9-9
Total Credit Required9030120