Arctic and Northern Studies

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College of Liberal Arts

M.A. Degree

Minimum Requirements for Degree: 30 credits

The Arctic and Northern studies program offers an interdisciplinary study of Arctic and Northern problems and policy issues. The purpose of the Arctic and Northern studies program is to give interested students a broader study of the circumpolar region — its environment, peoples and challenges.

The geographic location of UAF is outstanding for the study of Arctic and Northern issues. Students examine the countries and regions throughout the circumpolar North, and their distinctive challenges, such as the survival of indigenous populations, environmental and wilderness issues, high rates of alcoholism and suicide, fragile environments, adaptation to extreme cold and cycles of light and darkness, and adult development in small frontier societies.

The M.A. program is designed especially for students who live and work in the North and who want to expand their knowledge of the history, economics, politics, psychology and anthropology of Arctic and Northern regions. Many Arctic and Northern studies students are seeking employment with Northern agencies and want to develop a broad perspective on Arctic and Northern issues. Some students plan to pursue doctoral work in a discipline such as history or anthropology and seek a master’s degree with a broad approach. Other students are employed as teachers, military personnel or agency staff and want a rich, interdisciplinary program. The program is suitable for any of these goals, and is designed to be compatible with either full- or part-time graduate study.

The M.A. program offers four concentrations: Northern history; Arctic policy; environmental politics and policy; and individualized study. Students of Northern history benefit from the availability of the Alaska and circumpolar collections of the Rasmuson Library, UA Museum of the North and the Polar Regions Collection. The Arctic policy concentration addresses international, national and subnational policy structures and processes, as well as the aims of policies developed to address challenges in the Arctic region. The environmental politics and policy concentration focuses on political, social and psychological responses to environmental change. The individualized study concentration allows students to create a concentration with the guidance of their graduate advisory committee.

The program offers a thesis or nonthesis option. The choice of option is guided by the student’s interests and goals, the graduate advisory committee, and the requirements of the university. Faculty in the program are drawn from such disciplines as Alaska Native studies, art, anthropology, economics, English, geography, history, library science, political science and psychology.

For information on studying at McGill University, Montreal, Canada; the University of Copenhagen, Denmark; or opportunities for study in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, see study abroad and international exchange programs.

M.A. Degree

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited university.
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in your undergraduate studies.
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 in your undergraduate major (exceptions are made for students with outstanding qualifications).