September 23-24, 1999 

ITEM 104-2004-R0999 Authorization to Offer a Master of Arts Degree in Native American Studies; Montana State University-Bozeman

THAT: The Board of Regents of Higher Education authorizes Montana State University-Bozeman to offer a Master of Arts degree program in Native American Studies

EXPLANATION: Montana State University-Bozeman proposes an inter-disciplinary Master of Arts degree in Native American Studies (MANAS) in response to numerous requests from NAS students as well as every tribal institution across the state. The inter-disciplinary approach would make the best possible use of university resources, and would allow each graduate candidate the opportunity to select a course of study which would combine Native American Studies and a student=s other particular area of interest (e.g. history, literature, political science). The 30 credit program is designed so that each graduate student would be able to complete the program within three or four semesters of concentrated work. The program is designed to meet both the needs of full time students attending MSU-Bozeman as well as students that are more place bound. All graduate students would do at least two full semesters on campus with the option of doing the balance of their program via distance delivery. The program=s mission, purpose, intent, and objective emphasis is to graduate, in a timely manner, knowledgeable academicians and professionals in the study of Native American issues.

It is appropriate that this program be initiated at this time. It is intended that the Master of Arts in Native American Studies at Bozeman will work closely and cooperatively with the revitalized University of Montana=s undergraduate program in NAS in order to allow students the opportunity of study at both the undergraduate and graduate level in a state where a significant percentage of the population are Native Americans. The NAS department at MSU-Bozeman has been engaged in conversations with appropriate University of Montana officials who support this program being based at MSU-Bozeman. There are no similar graduate programs offered in Montana and there are only two similar programs in the region (one in the state of Washington and one in the state of South Dakota). There are two other similar programs in Alberta and Saskatchewan, but none of these programs offer a Master of Arts in Native American Studies.

There is a growing recognition that a basic knowledge of Native American history, culture, and issues is a necessary part of the education of Montana citizens. It is an educational need that must be addressed by the state=s universities, colleges, and tribal colleges. Therefore, the need for well educated scholars to teach and do research concerning Native American issues, and professionals to work in business as well as federal, state and tribal governments is critical.

Proposed Starting Date: Fall 2000