The Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies at the Brown School at Washington University was founded to provide scholarships for Native Americans and has grown into one of the most respected centers in the nation for academic advancement and study of Native American issues related to social work.

The Kathryn M. Buder Center was founded in 1990 by a generous gift from Kathryn M. Buder, a resident of St. Louis who respected and admired Native American people. The Buder Center is housed within the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis with the mission to empower and prepare Native students for professional leadership in Native communities through education. 


The Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies’ mission is to become a premier program for the education of Native American MSW students to practice in tribal and urban settings. Central to this mission are the following components: 1) Recruitment of Native American scholars and practitioners who have committed to address issues and concerns in Native communities, 2) In collaboration with the Brown School of Social Work and the Washington University community, the provision of student support necessary to accomplish their academic goals, 3) Teaching and curriculum development to prepare students with the necessary knowledge, attitudes, and leadership skills to
effectively address issues and concerns in Native communities, 4) Research and policy
development that directly impacts Native communities, and 5) Community and Alumni
outreach efforts to enhance and foster sufficient relationships to support all of the above.

Prospective Student Information & Scholarship Information

Welcome prospective student and thank you for considering our MSW program!!!

All prospective students must first apply to the Brown School and be accepted into the MSW program before applying for the Kathryn M. Buder Scholarship. Once your application has been accepted, an admission advisor will contact you regarding available scholarships.


REGULAR DECISIONDecember 2 – March 16-8 weeks after submittingMay 1
ROLLING ADMISSIONSAfter March 16-8 weeks after submittingMay 1
After March 1: Admission and scholarship decisions are made based on availability until the following deadlines. 
-International Applicant Final Deadline – April 1 
-Domestic Applicant Final Deadline – July 1 

Confirm Intent to Enroll: By May 1 (or within 3 weeks if admitted after April 15). Admitted students must confirm their intent to enroll by submitting a $200 tuition deposit. International admitted students must also submit the Washington University Affidavit of Financial Support to confirm intent to enroll. Some scholarship offers may require accelerated responses from candidates.

Click here to learn more about the application timeline and deadline type.

Kathryn M. Buder Charitable Foundation Scholarship

The Kathryn M. Buder Charitable Foundation offers scholarships to Native American students wishing to pursue a Master of Social Work degree at the Brown School of Social Work, Public Health, & Social Policy and the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies. The Buder Scholarship will provide the following, determined on the recipient’s application to the Brown School:

Recipient StatusPaid Tuition*Monthly StipendBooks & SuppliesProfessional Development
Advanced StandingTwo semesters of full-time, per semester tuition plus Summer Bridge Course tuition$1000/month for 11-months$300 for one academic year$650 for one academic year
Regular ProgramUp to four semesters of full-time, per semester tuition$1000/month for 21-months$300/semester$325/semester
*Monthly stipends are distributed to Buder Scholars to be utilized at their discretion (e.g., housing, food, etc.). **If a student chooses to enroll in additional semesters, the student will be responsible for those tuition charges. The Buder Scholarship will not cover the tuition of any additional semesters or credits.

Buder Charitable Foundation Scholarship Application Process and Requirements:

Students can indicate their intent to apply to the Buder Foundation Scholarship and authorize the Brown School to release application materials to the Buder Charitable Foundation in the application for admission to the Brown School’s MSW program

Applicant must submit the following materials directly to the Buder Charitable Foundation:

  • Proof of tribal enrollment or CDIB
  • Essay response to the prompt: Why I want to be a Buder Scholar.”
    • Essays should be typed in Arial 11 pt. font, and single-spaced, 3 pages max.


Buder Charitable Foundation
c/o Scott Hunt, Armstrong Teasdale
7700 Forsyth Blvd., Suite 1800
St. Louis, MO 63105-1847

Scholarship Recipient Requirements:

  • Enrolled member of a Native Nation within the United States.
  • Cumulative grade point average of 3.1 on a 4.0 scale, with no “incomplete” grades.
  • Concentrate in American Indian/Alaska Native studies.
  • Enroll and complete the five required American Indian/Alaskan Native concentration courses.
  • Complete a minimum of three credits (360 hours) of the five credits (600 field hours) of concentration practicum in a setting serving Native communities.
  • Participate in the American Indian Student Association (AISA).
  • Participate in programs and events sponsored by the Buder Center, including: the Buder Center Powwow, annual Buder Blessing ceremony for graduating students, and other community events and projects.
  • Within five years of graduation from the MSW Program, the recipient will commence working for a Native Nation or agency serving Native communities, and will continue such work for not less than two years.
  • Maintain professional relationships in a thoughtful and respectful manner. In addition, adhere to the NASW Code of Ethics and its standards of conduct.

About the American Indian/Alaskan Native Concentration

The American Indian and Alaska Native (Al/AN) Concentration is designed to prepare students for advanced social work practice with AI/AN populations.  The concentration grounds students in the historical and contemporary issues facing Native populations from a cultural, policy and practice perspective and includes the courses listed below:

  • Indigenous Knowledge, Values, and Cultures (3 credits)
  • AI/AN Social Welfare Policies and Administrative Practices (3 credits)
  • Indigenous Mental Health Practice (3 credits)
  • Community Development with AI and Other Indigenous Communities (3 credits)
  • Nine credits of practice-focused coursework, to be determined based on your track of choice

If a student is not concentrating in the AI/AN concentration, these classes are available as electives to a student.

 Buder Scholars are subject to the same MSW program requirements as other Brown School students; namely students must complete 60 credits to receive their MSW degree. Learn more about coursework requirements for all Brown School students.

Land Acknowledgement

The Kathryn M. Buder Center at Washington University in St. Louis occupies the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary lands of the Osage Nation, Otoe-Missouria, Illinois Confederacy, Quapaw, Ho-Chunk, Miami and many other tribes as the custodians of the land where we reside, occupy, and call home.

We recognize their sovereignty was never ceded after unjust removal and encourage your own research on tribal removal, tribal sovereignty and the history of the land you reside.

We promote the inclusion of tribal history and the incorporation of contemporary thoughts and actions into your work.

In offering this land acknowledgement, we affirm and support Tribal sovereignty, history and experiences by elders past, present, and seven generations yet to come through their continued connection to this land.