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American Indian Studies at SDSU Starts New Online Degree Program

The American Indian Studies Department at San Diego State University is excited to announce a new online degree completion program that will accept its first cohort this fall.

The BA in American Indian Studies Online Degree Completion Program is designed to help students earn a valuable degree in American Indian Studies through convenient online courses and an enhanced suite of virtual student services facilitated by SDSU World Campus. Students can attain their degree in American Indian Studies in just two years.

SDSU also offers the Certificate in Tribal Casino Operations Management through the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming. To earn this certificate online, please contact Dr. Kate Spilde at or call her at (760) 533-9387.

Applications for BA in American Indian Studies Online Close on July 31. Apply Today!

A Degree for Today’s Indigenous Communities
The online American Indian Studies degree program has developed a close relationship with San Diego’s Indigenous Kumeyaay and Luiseño communities. Through partnerships with our Tribal Liaison, we’ve worked together to develop a curriculum that is meaningful to and motivated by the needs of the Indigenous communities throughout San Diego, Southern California, and all over the world.

Students will explore the rich history and contemporary lifestyles of various Indigenous peoples, as well as the complex social and political relationships that inform and influence tribal communities. Our courses also examine the relationship between American Indian communities and the United States government.

At the same time as they’re working towards their Bachelor’s degree, students will also have the opportunity to earn a Certificate in Tribal Casino Operations Management from the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming, housed in the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism

Management at SDSU. This concurrent five-course certificate program focuses on key issues in the gaming industry, including regulations, management, public relations, marketing, and finances. The program is designed to create a community of tribal government gaming experts who are capable of becoming leaders in tribal gaming communities across the United States. Students can earn their Tribal Casino Operations Management in the first year of the program.

Dr. Kate Spilde, Endowed Chair of the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming, designed the Certificate Program as part of the BS in Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) at SDSU, and has agreed to cross-list the courses with American Indian Studies to highlight the ways that tribal government gaming is integral to tribal nation building.

“The Sycuan Institute is thrilled to partner with the Department of American Indian Studies and SDSU World Campus to offer our Certificate to students enrolled in the Degree Completion Program,” said Dr. Kate Spilde. “As tribal governments continue to pursue gaming as economic development, we want to support tribal nation building and cultural revitalization across every dimension of education. In this case, we can merge the focus on decolonization with economic determination with our understanding of tribal gaming as a governmental enterprise. We welcome students from across the United States and are eager to share the tribal gaming experience in California.”

Our ultimate goal is for students to become advocates for decolonization and advance efforts towards political and economic self-determination by developing sustainable tribal economies through the gaming industry and other business opportunities, protecting traditional sacred sites and repatriating sacred objects, and preserving Native intellectual property and cultural heritage.

Continuing the Academic Journey
Across the nation, millions of students have started their post-secondary education without earning a degree or a credential. Many of those students have jobs, families, and other commitments that make it difficult to participate in a traditional four-year degree program on a college campus.

SDSU’s online degree completion programs are designed to help those students achieve academic success without putting their life on hold. With the help of a sensational instructional design team and the latest teaching technologies, students can participate in SDSU’s programs from virtually anywhere in the world without sacrificing their academic experience.

Online courses are taught by the same experienced faculty and lecturers from SDSU’s Department of American Indian Studies and the Sycuan Institute on Tribal Gaming who teach our on-campus courses. We’ve also partnered with the university’s Tribal Liaison, who hails from the Kumeyaay Nation, San Diego’s largest Indigenous tribal community, to build a curriculum that’s focused on tribal sovereignty, self-determination, economic development, and other issues that are relevant to Indigenous communities across the nation. We also work closely with the Elymash Yuuchaap: Indigenous Scholars and Leaders Program and SDSU’s Native American Student Alliance.

Interested in Applying?
If you or someone you know might be interested in applying for our BA in American Indian Studies program, please visit our website at There, you’ll find information on the program, as well as detailed application instructions.

If you have any questions, please contact the SDSU World Campus Student Service Coordinator at (619) 594-3946.

We’re excited to help you learn more about our program. Together, we can strengthen Indigenous communities across the nation.


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