Rural Development

College of Rural and Community Development
Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development
907-474-6528 Toll-free 888-574-6528

B.A. Degree

Minimum Requirements for Degree: 120 credits

Rural development degree programs are designed to educate a new generation of community leaders for rural Alaska. The B.A. degree can be earned either on the Fairbanks campus or through distance delivery. Special application requirements and deadlines apply for distance B.A. degree programs. Students applying for acceptance into the Rural Development program need to complete two department-specific requirements in addition to general university admission: an oral interview with faculty and a written questionnaire. Findings from this process will be used to support the department advising process and assist students in connecting with faculty and mentors. The questionnaire and instructions for the oral interview are found on the DANSRD website under “How to Apply.”

Students in the rural development program gain a broad understanding of Alaska’s relationship to the global economy and an appreciation for sustainable development strategies. Students also learn specific tools essential for community leadership, including business plan and grant proposal writing, community visioning and planning processes, computer business applications, project management, and evaluation techniques. Graduates typically take positions with tribal and municipal governments, fisheries, tourism and other private businesses, Native corporations, regional health corporations or nonprofits, and state/federal agencies.

Within the B.A. degree program, students will select and develop a concentration in one of five areas:

  • The community health and wellness concentration is for students with a strong interest in health and wellness. Students focus on the various facets of a healthy rural community. Going beyond the basics of health care, they explore different aspects of wellness within a community and develop tools to attain community wellness goals. Students blend and apply both contemporary and traditional health and wellness tools. Graduates may find employment with tribal governments, health consortia, clinics and schools.
  • The community research and indigenous knowledge concentration is for students with interests in applied research involving Alaska Native communities, cultures, languages, ceremonial performances and histories. Students learn principles of ethical research, explore issues of intellectual and cultural property rights, and acquire skills to do ethnographies, oral histories, community surveys and needs assessments, and archival research. Graduates may find employment with museums, ANCSA corporations, tribal governments, and state and federal agencies.
  • The concentration in indigenous organization management is designed for students interested in development and operations of indigenous organizations in rural Alaska. Students develop an understanding of the history and constitutional basis for tribal governance, basics of federal Indian law, principles and practices of self-determination, and the mandates of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. They develop skills in planning, budgeting and human resources management. Students can pursue a special interest, such as management of health programs, tribal governance programs or Alaska Native corporations, and tailor the concentration to these specifications through choice of related courses and electives. Graduates may find employment with tribal and municipal governments and organizations, ANCSA corporations, and state and federal agencies.
  • The natural resource development concentration is designed for students with an interest in land and resources development, co-management and conservation. Students learn about traditional ecological knowledge, principles of natural resources management and policy, adaptive management, conservation and ecotourism, and skills for effective public/private/tribal collaboration in resource management. Management strategies for addressing climate change are explored. Graduates may find employment with ANCSA corporations, regional and tribal entities, or state and federal agencies.
  • The concentration in rural community business and economic development planning is for students interested in creating sustainable economies in rural and indigenous communities, with a focus on small business development. Students learn to develop business and marketing plans, economic development planning, and basic principles of financial and human resources management for rural enterprises. Graduates find employment in ANCSA corporations, regional development organizations, economic development agencies and as local entrepreneurs.

For more information contact the department toll-free at 888-574-6528 or visit our website: