American Indian Law Certificate Program

The Certificate Program is designed for law students who wish to acquire an in-depth knowledge of American Indian law and who are willing to commit the time and effort necessary to achieve a level of specialization in their legal education. The Certificate Program provides students the opportunity to graduate from law school with a credential recognizing their concentration and accomplishment in this field. Because we believe specialization in law school should not come at the expense of a well-rounded legal education, we require students in the Certificate Program to complete 95 hours compared to 90 credit hours for students outside the Certificate Program. In most cases, this additional credit load can be completed within the normal three academic years of law school.

Upon successful completion of the certificate program, the certificate is noted officially on the student's transcript.

If you wish to pursue a certificate program, you must notify the Associate Dean of the School of Law as soon as you decide to do so, but in no case later than the beginning of your second year of law school.

Certificate Requirements

  1. Earn a total of 95 credits (five credits more than required for the J.D.)
  2. Take Federal Indian Law, which is offered every academic year in the fall semester and is a pre-requisite for participation in the Margery Hunter Brown Indian Law Clinic (MHBILC), although the course can be taken concurrently with participation in the MHBILC upon approval of the MHBILC Director.
  3. Take nine credits from the following elective courses, which may be offered every other academic year depending on student interest or which have been offered as summer courses and are generally divided according to the following areas of interest:
    • Foundations
      • Advanced Problems in Indian Law
      • Tribal Courts/Tribal Law
      • Mastering American Indian Law
    • Natural Resources
      • Advanced Indian Natural Resources Law
      • American Indian Natural Resources Law
      • Water Law
      • Indian Water Law
      • Protection of Wildlife and the Environment in Indian Country
      • Indian Land Issues
      • Indian Property Law
    • Economic Development
      • Indian Gaming
      • Economic Development in Indian Country
      • Energy in Indian Country
      • Taxation & Finance in Indian Country
    • Social Issues
      • Indian Child Welfare Act
      • American Indian Cultural and Religious Freedoms
      • Tribal Criminal Law and Procedure
      • Indian Health Law
      • Indigenous Cultural Preservation
      • Voting Rights in Indian Country
      • Art & Cultural Property
    • Indian Law and Policy
      • Tribal-State Relations
      • Current Issues in Indian Law and Policy
      • Tribal-State Conflict of Law
      • Supreme Court Jurisprudence and Indian Country
      • Constitutional Issues Relating to Indian Legal Concepts
      • Public International Law
    • Skills/Independent Study
      • Indian Law Research
      • National Native American Law Student Association (NNALSA) Moot Court Competition (only two credits of NNALSA Moot Court may count toward completion of the American Indian Law Certificate)
      • Independent study courses related to Indian law issues may be approved for consideration under the certificate program. (Students may only take up to two credits of Independent Study)
  4. Take at least four credits in the Margery Hunter Brown Indian Law Clinic (MHBILC) or another clinic approved for consideration under the certificate program by the Director of the Indian Law Clinic and the Clinic Director. If a student takes more than four clinic credits in the Indian Law Clinic or an approved clinic, not more than four of the excess credits may be counted toward the nine credits of electives required for the certificate. (Note: Federal Indian Law is a pre-requisite for participation in the MHBILC, although the course can be taken concurrently with participation in the MHBILC upon approval of the MHBILC Director).
  5. Successfully complete the advanced writing requirement in an area addressing an Indian law topic. The Associate Dean's designate must review the topic and the final written product of every certificate program student to ensure that the work is appropriately related to an Indian law topic.