Rural Development

Bachelor's Degree Program

Learn to approach development from an Indigenous perspective, with a focus on rural Alaska and Alaska Native communities.

Designed to prepare a new generation of leaders in Alaska, the bachelor’s in rural development combines hands-on experiences and practical education to tackle real-world problems. Rather than simply meeting the needs of the state or of private developers, this unique program explores ways to maintain Indigenous control of development projects and address the real needs of communities.

You can earn your bachelor’s degree in rural development at our main campus in Fairbanks, Alaska, or via distance in the community where you live.

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Why Study Rural Development at UAF?

The bachelor’s in rural development at UAF is a truly unique program that integrates development and cultural perspectives with a focus on serving rural communities in Alaska. Here are some of the opportunities you can look forward to as part of your study.

Earn your rural development degree from anywhere in Alaska

  • The degree in rural development is designed for adult and nontraditional students in rural Alaska communities. Whether you’re already employed or busy with family and community obligations, this program offers the flexibility to earn your degree in a way that works for you. Options include late afternoon and evening classes (in Fairbanks and on-site cohorts around the state) and online classes.

Work with faculty with deep expertise in Alaska Native issues

  • Our faculty have expertise in Native nation building, community development, small business development, economic development and social and human development in a rural Alaska context. Faculty also support applied projects and recognize the experience of returning adult students.

Gain new perspectives via hands-on coursework

  • As a rural development major, you’ll complete a senior project based on your program concentration, experience and interests. Projects involve original research, community activism and community planning. Other examples of hands-on learning include traveling to a tribal government site in Alaska for a week-long leadership course, meeting with legislators in the state capital, researching and writing policy papers as a means of cultural and social justice advocacy and drafting model laws for Native communities.

Access support resources

  • Rural Student Services (RSS) works with students from all over the state, providing holistic advising and support services that benefit rural and Alaska Native students. We also offer opportunities such as the Native Student Union, a student club on campus that supports the success of both Alaska Native and non-Native students at UAF.


What Can You Do With a Degree in Rural Development?

Our rural development program trains much of the Native administrative and management workforce within tribes, regional Native nonprofits, small businesses and the Alaska Native corporations within rural Alaska. Graduates improve their skills in their existing job, move to more advanced jobs or go on to graduate school. Many students also use the skills gained in this program for more effective community organization and activism.



Get Started on Your Bachelor’s Degree in Rural Development

Take the next step toward earning your bachelor’s degree. We have the resources to help you get started.