Art has always been the path to higher expression, forever changing those who create it and those affected by its creation. With this in mind, IAIA has always championed and encouraged students to explore their creative instincts while allowing their inner voice, their inner eye and their hearts and minds to see familiar and traditional techniques as embarkation points for all that is to follow.
IAIA’s expansive academic program invites those who accept it to throw off the conventional. To not be bound by traditional stereotypes and familiar and, therefore, comfortable and traditional modes. IAIA’s mission is endowing each student with the freedom to see and accept creativity as a constantly expanding, ever changing and continually challenging expression of what is new, bold and experimental.
By setting their own artistic standards, our students become enmeshed in a process that allows them to find their own voices. That allows them to satisfy their inner understanding of artistic self-acceptance while they forge new directions of expression. As the very notion and execution of contemporary American Indian art continues to evolve, we are preparing new generations of artists and new forms of artistic expression emboldened by the opportunities an emerging art form allows.
At IAIA, academics are the keystone of our overarching mission to “impart broad knowledge and skills to Native Americans through higher education, academic outreach and lifelong learning.”
Our Native-centered curriculum is designed to bring out the best in you. To build your skills. To free your mind and release your spirit.
Our staff is dedicated to honoring our shared culture and traditions while ushering in a new generation of writers, artists and leaders willing and able to extend the boundaries of expression. At IAIA, you’ll learn how exciting and rewarding learning can be when it’s taught with a spirit of excitement by an exceptional faculty. Open your mind, put away your pre-conceptions and uncover the potential within you.
Your selection of a college is one of the most important decisions you will make, both for now and the future. It is a decision that should be made carefully with great planning and research.
IAIA seeks to attract and enroll highly motivated and talented students from diverse backgrounds and cultural experiences. IAIA believes in equality of educational opportunity and welcomes all applications for admission. Non-American Indian applicants are evaluated by the same criteria as American Indian, Alaska Native and Canadian First Nations applicants. Admission is granted without regard to age, gender, race, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, or religion.
Associate and Bachelor Programs
IAIA is the only school in the nation to offer a Studio Arts degree within a diverse Native American learning community. The program encourages students to explore the visual arts through an exciting comprehensive course of study designed to develop not only skills, but also concepts, historical awareness, and cultural sensitivities essential to the professional artist. Our program offers painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, ceramics, jewelry/metals, and digital art.
In the creative writing program; students have the opportunity to explore writing in multiple genres and develop themselves according to their own unique visions. Students receive a strong foundation in writing as well as a solid grounding in Native American and world literature. Through poetry, fiction, playwriting, screenwriting, journalism, and creative nonfiction, students will join the voices of Indigenous Americans to tell the story of the contemporary Native experience.
The Museum Studies program introduces students to all aspects of museum studies from theoretical perspectives to practical applications. They learn how to safely handle cultural objects, catalogue collections, and work with Native communities. With a wide array of courses available, students can customize their Museum Studies degree to fit their interests. The intensive internship programs provide students opportunities to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to actual museum practices at other institutions. The yearlong Senior Thesis project takes students through the steps of performing research and then designing and executing their own exhibition.
Cinematic Arts and Technology
The Cinematic Arts and Technology program at IAIA is dedicated to providing a supportive environment for future Native screenwriters, directors, producers, actors, documentarians, cinematographers, editors, animators, and visual effects artists to explore their creativity and passion for their art. The Department of Cinematic Arts and Technology features state-of-the-art, cutting edge technology, including high-definition digital cinema cameras, a broadcast studio, motion capture system, sound studio, and 3D scanner, IAIA is the only art school equipped with a fully articulating digital dome for immersive storytelling. A student graduating with a BFA in Cinematic Arts and Technology will possess the skills necessary to function in the professional workforce, whether their path leads them to Hollywood or back to work in their own communities.
Indigenous Liberal Studies
The program is guided by the term “Indigenous Ways of Knowing”, focusing on the exploration and development of Indigenous knowledge. Students will receive a unique educational experience that includes academic course work, opportunities for meaningful experiential education, and preparation for leadership or continued scholarship. The process is one of research, reflection, critical inquiry, and the exploration of interrelationships among academic disciplines and the world at large.
The IAIA low residency Master of Fine Arts program provides a professional degree in creative writing while allowing you to live at home and continue participating in work, family, and community. Students and faculty mentors, together with visiting writers and editors, gather twice a year for an intensive week of workshops, classes, lectures, readings, and individual conferences. At the end of the first week, each student is matched with a faculty mentor, who then works one-on-one with that student for a 16-week semester on creative writing, screenwriting, poetry, and creative non-fiction.
The program introduces students to all aspects of museum studies from theoretical perspectives to practical applications. Courses are arranged with weekly video demonstrations, readings, and original research assignments. In addition to learning the details of museum operations, students also learn about the ethical and legal considerations involved in collecting, storing, and exhibiting Native American cultural objects.
Business and Entrepreneurship
This course of study lays a solid foundation in business and entrepreneurial skills. The program is designed to meet the needs of small business owners and self-employed individuals. With a focus on applied skills, students are taught processes that can be repeated in the development of future business opportunities.
Native American Art History
IAIA offers one of the only Native American Art History certificate programs in the nation. The program takes an interdisciplinary approach, examining Native American art as a form of discourse and cultural exchange. Survey courses provide a broad historical overview of the history of Native American, First Nations, and Central and South American art forms. Courses examine the disciplinary lenses applied to Indigenous art, including archaeological, anthropological, ethnographic, and art historical methods; analyzed with close attention to the ethical and conceptual concerns of Indigenous scholars, artists, and activists
All certificate programs available online.
Applicability of Admissions Procedures
All degree-seeking students must comply with admissions procedures, including students who want to attend school part-time.
Application Due Dates
- Fall Semester: Applications received after August 4 will be reviewed for the following Spring semester.
- Spring Semester: Applications received after January 4 will be reviewed for the following Fall semester.
It is possible to delay enrollment. A student admitted to IAIA may delay enrollment for two semesters. After two semesters, the student must re-apply for admission.
Application requirements vary according to the credentials a student brings to IAIA and the status he or she wants.
IAIA reserves the right to extend the application deadline.
Talk to a member of the Office of Admissions & Recruitment Team to answer your questions about the admissions process, student life, or academics.