Congratulations 2018 Graduates!

 2017-2018 ACNS MA Graduates and faculty

2017-2018 ACNS MA Graduates and faculty: Kimmy Cao, Katie Hayden, Mary Ehrlander, Emiko Furuya, Terrence Cole, Peter Burkhart, Carolyn Kozak Loeffler, and Anne Rittgers
Photo credit Artem Zhdanov

 Several ACNS students and alumni

Several ACNS students and alumni attended and participated in the Alaska Historical Society and Museums Association conference September 27-30 in Anchorage. Pictured standing from left are: Carolyn Kozak Loeffler, Katie Hayden, Janine Dorsey, Russ Vanderlugt, Brenda Dow, Leanna Williams, Mary Ehrlander (ACNS Director), Michael Bach and Susan Larrabee. Kneeling are Chris Allan and Angie Schmidt. At the conference Carolyn Kozak Loeffler, Katie Hayden, Russ Vanderlugt, Mary Ehrlander, Pierce Bateman and Anne Rittgers (these last two missing from the photo) presented on their research. Also, ACNS alumnus Hild Peters (2014; not pictured) and her husband Guy Peters made a joint presentation at the conference.

Arctic and Northern Studies students, along with other University of Alaska students and faculty, on a trip to Toolik Field Station.

Students and faculty pose at the road sign for the Arctic Circle


Welcome to the Arctic and Northern Studies Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Arctic and Northern Studies offers a BA and an MA that allow students to learn about the circumpolar north, or regions within it, from multiple disciplinary perspectives including anthropology, art, biology and wildlife management, economics, geography, history, journalism, literature, political science.

Arctic and Northern Studies students benefit from the northern expertise and research experience of our faculty and from the comprehensive holdings of the Alaska and Polar Regions holdings of the Rasmuson Library. Faculty associated with the program have extensive northern expertise, and students have opportunities to work closely with these faculty as they conduct their research and in classes with low teacher/student ratios. For profiles of faculty who teach Arctic and Northern Studies courses, follow the link to Associated Faculty.

Our students come from a variety of backgrounds and have diverse interests. The students themselves are a strong asset of the program! They tend to be preparing themselves for careers in the north and want to learn about the distinctive conditions and forces that shape our experiences. Follow the link to About our Students for profiles on a number of our recent MA graduates. For a partial list of MA thesis and project topics, follow the link to Student Theses and Projects.

For information about BA requirements, follow this link:

For information about the MA program and requirements, follow the link to MA in Northern Studies.

For inquiries about the program, follow the link to Contact Us.

NW Territories Government Consultant

Aaron Spitzer, MA

Aaron SpitzerWeeks after completing his M.A. in Arctic and Northern Studies, Aaron Spitzer was hired by the Justice Ministry of the Government of the Northwest Territories, Canada, to assist in the electoral redistricting lawsuit City of Yellowknife vs. Attorney General of the Northwest Territories, 2015. Aaron's thesis had explored a similar 1999 redistricting lawsuit pitting the largely Indigenous rural portion of the Northwest Territories against its predominantly non-Indigenous capital city, Yellowknife. Through his research, Aaron concluded that the ruling in that case, favouring Yellowknife, had facilitated the disempowerment of Indigenous Northerners in their homeland. The 2015 case had a different outcome – Aaron's team prevailed, preserving the Indigenous share of representation in the territory. 
Following the hearing of the lawsuit, Aaron set off for the Canadian High Arctic, where he works for a few weeks each summer as an onboard history-and-politics lecturer with the expedition-cruise company Adventure Canada. This year's cruise took him through the Northwest Passage, passing within a few miles of the recently discovered shipwreck of the Erebus, the flagship of Sir John Franklin's doomed 1845 expedition.

Just Short of Magic Dog Mushing School, Sled Dog Tours

Eleanor Wirts, M.A.

Eleanor WirtsEleanor Wirts, who earned her MA in 2010, researched the struggles that young Alaska Native males face in the 21st century. Her thesis title was: "Changes in Traditional Gender Roles Among Alaska Natives: Their Effects on Sense of Purpose, Direction, Identity, and Family and Community Stature." Eleanor subsequently launched a tourist business based on her many years of experience in dog mushing. Just Short of Magic offers tours by dog sled to individuals and groups. Eleanor also provides lessons in dog mushing. The business is open year-round. In the summer she offers educational tours addressing a wide range of topics related to sled dogs. On the property at 16 mile Chena Hot Springs Road just outside Fairbanks, Eleanor has a Bed & Breakfast in her yurt. The cozy atmosphere, terrific northern lights viewing and her hot homemade breakfasts keep the yurt occupied night after night. Eleanor says: " I"m working my tail off, but I just love it and I'm so glad to be my own boss." Here's a link to Just Short of Magic: