Indian Country Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Science

Department of Applied Indigenous Studies

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

The Indian Country Criminal Justice degree is designed to enable students and criminal justice professionals to master the complexities, challenges, and resolutions of providing criminal justice services in Indian Country.  The historical relationships between American Indian nations and the United States federal government, as well as relationships with states, have resulted in distinctive and complex legal and political environments. Native Americans and other Indigenous peoples have been and are still subject to discriminatory laws rooted in colonialism that have become institutionalized in criminal justice in Indian Country. Factual, historical, legal, and practical knowledge as well as cultural competency and understanding are necessary for better serving Native American and Indigenous communities and building more effective and culturally sound criminal justice systems.
This innovative, interdisciplinary degree will educate students about these critical dimensions of criminal justice in Indian Country, as well as provide training in the application of knowledge, skills, and theory in many settings, from law enforcement to judiciary settings to advocacy to policy development. Criminal Justice in Indian Country is a unique, complex, and specialized field.

  • To receive a bachelor's degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete at least 120 units of credit that minimally includes a major, the liberal studies requirements, and university requirements as listed below.

    • All of Northern Arizona University's diversity, liberal studies, junior-level writing, and capstone requirements.
    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s).
    • At least 30 units of upper-division courses, which may include transfer work.
    • At least 30 units of coursework taken through Northern Arizona University, of which at least 18 must be upper-division courses (300-level or above). This requirement is not met by credit-by-exam, retro-credits, transfer coursework, etc.
    • A cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 on all work attempted at Northern Arizona University.

    The full policy can be viewed here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • At least 42 units of major requirements

  • Up to 9 units of major prefix courses may be used to satisfy Liberal Studies requirements; these same courses may also be used to satisfy major requirements.

  • Elective courses, if needed, to reach an overall total of at least 120 units.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 120
Major GPA 2.0
Highest Mathematics Required MAT 114
University Honors Program Optional
Some online/blended coursework Required
Progression Plan Link View Progression Plan

Purpose Statement

Criminal justice in Indian Country is a unique, complex, and specialized field that is presently not taught at any university in the United States. To be proficient, a professional working in this field must know and understand how to analyze essential facets and challenges of the field, such as:

  1. The parameters of Indian Country
  2. The process to determine who is an American Indian
  3. The distinction between an American Indian person’s “political status” and “racial status” and within the context of enrolled membership
  4. Whether federal law, American Indian nation law, state law, or a combination of the laws of two jurisdictions applies.
  5. Whether the criminal procedure rights of the U.S. Constitution, the Indian Civil Rights Act, or the American Indian nation’s Bill of Rights apply
  6. Which court – federal, American Indian nation, or state – would have jurisdiction over the matter.
Throughout the program, these analyses are undertaken based upon the fundamental principle that American Indian nations are self-governing sovereigns and that current federal Indian policy promotes self-determination, self-government, and nation-building. The major in Indian Country Criminal Justice educates students with accurate, current knowledge about criminal justice and culturally-appropriate justice services on Indigenous lands, and helps students develop the unique skills they need to pursue criminal justice careers on and around Indigenous lands, with Indigenous peoples, in Indigenous communities, and with justice institutions of self-governing Indigenous nations.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Describe the foundational doctrines, principles, and rules that underlie the sovereign status of American Indian nations and their self-governing powers, including the laws and court decisions that define the term Indian Country and the unique government to government relationship that American Indian nations have with other governments;.Describe the laws and policies that regulate the Indian Country work of criminal justice organizations, and that protect the rights of all persons who are affected by criminal laws in Indian country.
  • Develop cultural competency in the cultures, religions, norms and values of Indigenous peoples that criminal justice professionals must respect in order to serve Indigenous communities.
  • Analyze and describe the impact of colonial processes on crime, victimization, and justice service delivery in Indian Country.
  • Summarize and differentiate between the major and the social science perspectives about crime, criminalization, and victimization in Indian Country and apply them to critically analyze contemporary injustices in Indian Country.

Major Requirements
  • Students enrolled in this plan may not enroll in or pursue the following due to the number of overlapping units:

General Electives
  • Additional coursework is required if, after you have met the previously described requirements, you have not yet completed a total of 120 units of credit.

    You may take these remaining courses from any of the academic areas, using these courses to pursue your specific interests and goals. You may also use prerequisites or transfer credits as electives if they weren't used to meet major, minor, or liberal studies requirements.

    We encourage you to consult with your advisor to select the courses that will be most advantageous to you.

Additional Information
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.