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Graduate Certificate: Working with Native Communities

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*Applications due by Friday, March 4, 2024. 

Working with Native Communities Graduate Certificate

Effective Fall 2023, the Working with Native Communities graduate certificate will open to graduate-level students/learners from all majors at the University of Utah, including business, social work, education, health services, mining, and public office. Upon completing the Certificate, students will have the skills, knowledge, and dispositions required to respectfully work on contemporary concerns that impact Native communities.


The Working with Native Communities Certificate program will prepare graduate level learners of diverse backgrounds and academic studies for professional work with Native communities by deepening their understanding about the historical context and contemporary challenges facing Native peoples in the United States. Through the Certificate, learners will take away essential and critical concepts to prepare them to do important and much needed work with Native communities both locally and nationally. One of the Certificate program's main objectives is to assist students in developing an understanding of the complex inner workings of Native nations, histories, status as political sovereigns, efforts in education, and tribal governments to prepare students for professional work in a variety of fields. The many misconceptions stemming from the unique relationship with the United States and Native communities/peoples will be addressed. Learners enrolled in the Certificate program are expected to work with Native governments, organizations, businesses, health services, and/or other stakeholders to promote the social, political, economic, and environmental well-being of Native nations.

Upon completion of the Working with Native Communities Certificate, learners will be able to:

  1. Distinguish the unique statuses of Native nations, communities, and individuals;
  2. Develop a better understanding of how to work with Native communities;
  3. Collaborate with Native communities to engage working in a given profession;
  4. Cultivate and maintain strong relationships with Native communities.



The Certificate is an interdisciplinary graduate certificate comprised of 15 credit hours (3 courses):

Required courses (9 credits): 

• Sovereignty and Self-Determination in Native Contexts (3 credits) – Education, Culture & Society
• History of Indian Education (3 credits) – Education, Culture & Society
• Community-Engaged Learning in Native Contexts (3 credits) – Education, Culture & Society

Elective Courses (6 credits/2 courses):

• Indigenous Epistemologies in Education (3 credits) – Education, Culture & Society
• Indigenous Research Methodologies (3 credits) – Education, Culture & Society
• Pacific Islander Indigenous Education (3 credits) – Education, Culture & Society
• Indigenous Communication (3 credits) – Communications
• Environmental Racism and Resistance (3 credits) – Ethnic Studies
• American Indian Experience (3 credits) – Ethnic Studies
• Native American/American Indian Policy (3 credits) – Ethnic Studies
• Native American Film & Media (3 credits) – Ethnic Studies
• Native American/American Indian Policy (3 credits) Ethnic Studies
• Federal Indian Law (3 credits) – Law School
• Additional courses to be identified.


Admission Requirements

Admission requirements adhere to Policy 6-224, Graduate Studies and Degrees, Graduate Certificate Guidelines. The minimum admission requirements are as follows:

  1. A bachelor’s degree from a fully accredited college or University, 
  2. An undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 (exceptions may be granted to this requirement), 
  3. The applicant may be a matriculated graduate student or a non-matriculated student at the University of Utah.


Contact Information

Dr. Cynthia Benally Cynthia Benally, Ed.D.

WNC Program Director


SAEC 3287



Jason NewnumJason Newnum

ECS Academic Coordinator


SAEC 3287

Mondays, Wednesdays-Fridays : in office 8am-5pm
Tuesdays: Work remotely


Last Updated: 11/17/23