Sitting Bull College Offers Master's Degree Program - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Sitting Bull College Offers Master's Degree Program

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Sitting Bull College on the Standing Rock Reservation has made a big step up in the academic world.

Sitting Bull College is the first tribal college in the state to offer a master's degree program.
And it's the first tribal college in the nation to offer a master's degree in environmental science.
The school has offered a bachelor's program since 2006. And it's been well received by students.

"It's been amazing. I've had so many opportunities I wouldn't have been able to have had anywhere else," says sophomore, Koby Sommer.

"I've got a lot of travel experience and research experience. I've worked on a few different projects, which is virtually unheard of in undergrad to have as much experience as I have now," says senior Sunshine Claymore.

The program provides real world experiences both on and off campus.
In the past, undergraduate students traveled to Costa Rica to conduct research in the field.
And the master's program will continue to provide some unique experiences.

One instructor says it's a perfect fit for the school.

"The analytical chemistry lab rolls really nice into a research program. And we have a real well-trained faculty. We have seven PhD level faculty members. And so, I think if there is a tribal college that can handle a master's degree program, I think we're the one to do it," says Gary Halvorson, Instructor.

The program is also a reflection of the Native American reverence for nature.  

"Living with the land is the way the Native Americans lived all their lives. And so, knowing the plants, knowing the animals, knowing everything about the soil, how things grow is just in line with our native culture. And so I think that's what really lights the spirit and lights the  spark of our students," says Laurel Vermillion, Sitting Bull College.

The program isn't just for tribal members. Anyone can enroll. Classes begin this fall.

The program had to meet five criteria before receiving accreditation. The school was evaluated in several areas, including its ability to execute educational outcomes and retain students.

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