Navajo Technical Becomes First Tribal University to Offer a Ph.D. Program

The doctoral program, Diné Culture and Language Sustainability, will be focused on preserving Navajo language and culture.
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Published on March 30, 2023
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  • Navajo Technical University announced a new doctoral program, Diné Culture and Language Sustainability.
  • The program will focus on preserving the language, culture, and history of the Navajo people.
  • Applications for the inaugural fall 2023 cohort close May 1.

Navajo Technical University (NTU) will begin offering a doctoral program focused on studying and preserving the Navajo language, culture, and history in fall 2023, becoming the first tribal university to offer a Ph.D. program.

The doctoral program, Diné Culture and Language Sustainability, will succeed a master's degree program in Diné Studies language and leadership and is designed to "produce scholars who can conduct research, teach, and lead in efforts to retain the culture, language, and leadership of the Navajo," according to a press release from the school.

"Diné," is the Navajo word meaning "the people," and is often how the Navajo people refer to themselves, according to the Associated Press.

The establishment of the Diné Culture and Language Sustainability doctoral program "is a monumental achievement for Navajo Technical University, the Navajo Nation, and Tribal Colleges and Universities throughout the country," NTU President Elmer J. Guy said in the release.

"It reflects NTU's dedication and commitment to reaching new levels of providing the best education for our people and scholars who want to attain prominent degrees near home and at our institution."

NTU is the first tribal university to offer such a program. All 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) offer associate degree programs; 19 offer baccalaureate programs; six offer master's degree programs, according to the American Indian Higher Education Consortium.

Applications will close May 1.