Rural Development and Alaska Native Studies

Bachelor and master

Earn your bachelor’s degree in Alaska Native studies, or a bachelor’s or master’s degree in rural development at UAF. Designed to empower rural Alaska communities through our students, our programs are flexible, culturally relevant and responsive to the communities they serve.

The bachelor’s degree in Alaska Native studies explores the scope, richness and variety of Alaska Native cultures from an Indigenous perspective, while the bachelor’s in rural development is designed to educate a new generation of community leaders for rural Alaska to guide and participate in human and economic development in local and global contexts.

The master’s in rural development provides advanced academic and professional skills in Indigenous and community development processes, business development, administration and conflict management to prepare leaders who understand the dynamic relationship of rural Alaska with the global economy. Many of our master’s degree graduates go on to pursue doctoral programs.

Our faculty include experts in tribal law and governance, K-12 education, international law, federal Indian law, Native women’s issues, cross-cultural communication and more.

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Why Study Rural Development and Alaska Native Studies at UAF?

  • Prepare to take on leadership roles, advance in your career and become role models for future generations of Alaska Native and rural leaders.

  • Earn your bachelor’s or master’s degree in a flexible program designed for students who live in rural Alaska communities, offered through online, distance and face-to-face classes.

  • Learn from world-class educators and prominent Alaska Native advocates who have expertise in Alaska Native nation building, community and small business development, and social and human development in a rural Alaska context.

  • Access holistic advising and support services specifically designed to benefit rural and Alaska Native students, and take part in opportunities such as the Native Student Union and other clubs and organizations at UAF.


Experiential learning in the rural development and Alaska Native studies programs

In the Alaska Native studies and rural development programs, you’ll develop practical, hands-on skills through your coursework that are relevant to your daily job and day-to-day life.

As a rural development major, you’ll complete a senior project that involves original research, community activism and community planning. You’ll also have opportunities to engage in a week-long leadership course at a tribal government site in Alaska, meet with legislators in the state capital, and write policy papers or help draft model laws for Native communities.

In the Alaska Native studies program, you can serve on a mock tribal council, write a research paper using Indigenous approaches and methods, review legislation or write a new law that impacts Native communities.



Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development Jobs

Our graduates work in federal and state agencies, nonprofits, health services, community organizations and cultural programs. They work in tribal governments and Alaska Native corporations. Many also return to their home communities where they lead initiatives involving economic development and sustainable development, or serve as cultural ambassadors.

Graduates of the master’s degree in rural development work in all levels of management of Alaska Native corporations and include several presidents and CEO's. They also work in management of tribal organizations that bring services worth millions of dollars to their tribal members.

Many graduates of our bachelor’s degree programs also continue on to advanced degrees in fields such as law, policy making and Indigenous studies.




Get Started on Your Rural Development or Alaska Native Studies Degree

Take the next step toward earning your bachelor’s or master’s degree at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. We have the resources to help you get started.