Ph.D. Program

The Ph.D. program in Native American Studies emphasizes the Hemispheric Study of the Americas. Graduate students may narrow their focus area in their dissertation work. Throughout the process, students should coordinate their plan of study and chart their progress with their Major Professor.

Successful completion of a Ph.D. Degree requires knowledge at the graduate level of the following subject areas listed below. Students may have fulfilled this requirement prior to admission. Otherwise, relevant coursework will have to be taken at Davis.

Native American history (North, Central, or South America)
Native American religion and philosophy
Native American government, politics, environment, and society
Native American/ Indigenous art (visual sovereignty)
Native American performance
Native American literature
Native American women
Native American language or linguistics.

A 12-course minimum (48 units), excluding 298's and 299's.

Three of the 12 courses are core courses.

The other nine courses (36 units) are electives, all must be letter-graded courses, and eight (32 units) must be in the 200 series (graduate level). Five of the elective courses (20 units) must be in NAS. One upper-division undergraduate course may be taken to fulfill the 48-unit course minimum; it should not duplicate a course taken for the B.A.

Core Courses (12 units): 
NAS 200 (4): Basic Concepts in NAS
NAS 220 (4): Colonialism, Racism, and Self-Determination
NAS 280 (4): Ethnohistorical Theory and Method

Electives.  Choose courses from the following list:
NAS 202 (4): Advanced Topics in NAS
NAS 207 (4) Leadership Skills and Strategies in California Language Documentation & Revitalization
NAS 212 (4): Indigenous Community Development for Autonomy
NAS 213 (4) Native Criminality and Deviance
NAS 217 (4) Public Law 83-280: Colonial Termination
NAS 224 (4) Performance in the Americas
NAS 233 (4) Visual Sovereignty
NAS 237 (4) Native American Art Collections and Museums
NAS 240 (4) Native American Public Health: Topics and Issues
NAS 250 (4). Indigenous Critique of Classic Maya Ethnographies
Any other 200-level, graded NAS course that may be developed in the future.

We also encourage graduate students to take courses in other departments that are relevant to their own research interests.

The graduate program in Native American Studies recognizes the importance of Indigenous languages to an in-depth understanding of Native American/Indigenous cultures.  All students seeking the Ph.D. degree are required to demonstrate competence in a Native American/Indigenous language.  Competence in a non-Indigenous language other than English may also be required of some students if it is necessary for their proposed dissertation project.  For example, in order to engaged with a substantial scholarly literature written in another language, to access information in archival resources, for to facilitate communication while working in communities where English is not commonly spoken.

Qualifying Examination. In addition to the completion of twelve courses minimum (48 units), students in the Ph.D. Program are required to successfully pass the qualifying exam in Native American Studies. The qualifying exam, which consists of a written exam and an oral exam, is generally taken in the student's ninth quarter.

The Dissertation. Following the successful completion of the qualifying examination, the student will advance to candidacy. After advancing to candidacy, the student must complete a dissertation study.

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