Indigenous Governance Program

The Indigenous Governance Program (IGP), a partnership between University of Arizona Law’s Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy (IPLP) Program and the University of Arizona Native Nations Institute (NNI), provides professional development, leadership training, and graduate education for individuals interested in a deep, practical understanding of Indigenous governance and rights.

IGP’s nation building and Indigenous governance curriculum combines the expertise of world-renowned faculty with data-informed research on what works for Native Nation (re)building efforts. IGP offers both in-person and online courses for tribal leaders and other professionals to collaborate on how to strengthen Indigenous governance.

Strengthening Native Nations

Are you interested in strengthening Native Nation building and Indigenous governance within Indigenous communities? The Indigenous Governance Program offers a Master of Professional Studies in Indigenous Governance and Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Governance.


January in Tucson

January in Tucson (JIT) is a cornerstone of IGP’s educational programming, bringing together leading faculty and an international cohort of Indigenous leaders, policymakers, and advocates. For three weeks each year, the JIT intensive education session brings together distinguished faculty in the field of Indigenous governance and Indigenous rights, and gives them the opportunity to teach and hold discussions with Indigenous leaders, practitioners, and community members, as well as other individuals interested in Indigenous affairs.

The result is more than just a series of classes on Indigenous topics. JIT courses not only convey important information backed by research, but they allow space for a crucial dialogue to occur between Indigenous peoples from all over the world. This conversation provides new perspectives to familiar challenges, and helps to make JIT a truly unique educational experience.

The JIT nation building curriculum is the foundation of all of our professional development and graduate educational offerings, providing the required courses for the Master of Professional Studies in Indigenous Governance, Graduate Certificate in Indigenous Governance, and Continuing Education Certificate. The unique learning experience of JIT provides students and faculty alike with new perspectives and strategies on how to improve and expand Indigenous governance within their communities.

  • RESEARCH-BASED CURRICULUM: How and why do Indigenous nations reclaim effective self-governing power? What is working and where? Our curriculum is based on decades of on-the-ground research, analysis, and case studies by the people who literally wrote the book on Indigenous nation building.
  • FLEXIBILITY: Do what’s useful for you: take one 3-day January in Tucson class, take several, take online courses, or enroll in a certificate or degree program.
  • PEER-TO-PEER LEARNING: Meet other tribal professionals and leaders who are working to assert their nations’ sovereignty. Learn from the experiences of other Native nations that are strengthening Indigenous governance.

"January in Tucson has offered a lot of insight into how other tribal communities have dealt with issues... how tribes have pursued their identity and demonstrated self-determination. The next step is trying to see if we can make those efforts in our community too."

Mikhail Sundust (Gila River), Acting Managing Editor, Gila River Indian News | JIT 2016

Course Schedule

January in Tucson 2024

Graduate and Professional Development Programs

Master of Professional Studies

The Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Indigenous Governance is a 30-credit hybrid in-person and online degree that can be completed within one year. By combining the immersive in-person January in Tucson experience with a robust online curriculum, the MPS gives students flexibility to create their own specialized courses of study.

*The MPS requires applicants to have completed a bachelor’s degree as a prerequisite. Required courses are offered in-person during January in Tucson.

Graduate Certificate

The Graduate Certificate (GC) in Indigenous Governance provides graduate level executive education and leadership development for those interested in Indigenous governance. The GC is the accelerated version of our MPS degree, requiring twelve (12) credits of course work to be completed within two years.

*The GC requires applicants to have completed a bachelor’s degree as a prerequisite. GC required and elective courses are offered in-person during January in Tucson with an option to earn credits through a self-initiated Capstone Project.

Continuing Education Certificate

The Continuing Education Certificate (CEC) in Indigenous Governance is a non-credit professional development certificate that allows individuals from all walks of life to take part in courses taught by renowned faculty, covering a wide variety of topics related to Indigenous governance, Indigenous rights, and economic, community, and leadership development.

*The CEC is a non-credit professional development certificate and does not require participants to have completed a bachelor’s degree as a prerequisite.

Tribal Professionals Cohort

Each year, full funding for three January in Tucson (JIT) courses is offered to a small group of tribal professionals (10 or fewer) who demonstrate a career commitment to serving Native communities, and an interest in learning how they can strengthen tribal governance. Completing these courses will earn an individual cohort member credit towards a Continuing Education Certificate in Indigenous Governance from the Native Nations Institute. Additionally, the cohort will receive supplemental educational materials, and an opportunity to share what they’ve learned with one another throughout the year.

Applications for the Tribal Professionals Cohort are managed by the Indigenous Governance Program (IGP). Additional financial aid awards for those attending JIT for professional development are available through IGP.


Transfer Policy

Transferring Credits from Continuing Education Certificate

Credits for the Continuing Education Certificate (CEC) in Indigenous Governance may be eligible to be transferred into the Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Indigenous Governance degree, upon review and approval by the MPS Admissions Committee. Up to 6 credits of the CEC are eligible to be transferred into the MPS degree.  

Transferring Credits from Graduate Certificate

All 12 credits taken toward the Graduate Certificate (GC) in Indigenous Governance are eligible to be transferred into the MPS degree, upon review and approval by the MPS Admissions Committee. To be eligible, the transfer of credits must take place prior to the completion and award of the GC.

Group Pricing

If you feel your tribal council, administrative staff, our academic program would benefit from IGP curriculum, please email IGP to learn more about group pricing options available for groups to attend January in Tucson or enroll in our CEC, GC, and MPS.

Key Contact

Tory Fodder
Manager, Indigenous Governance Program

Email Tory Fodder
Phone: (520) 621-3093