Terrence Cole, Professor of History and Northern Studies, emeritus reflects on his UAF career during a lecture sponsored by UAF Summer Sessions and Lifelong Learning.

Study the North in the North!

The Arctic & Northern Studies program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, America’s Arctic university, provides students the opportunity to study some of the world’s most pressing problems in one of the world’s most beautiful settings. More than ever before, research critical to humanity’s survival is taking place in the Arctic and sub-Arctic. In recent years, as climate change has threatened the global environment, the world’s eyes have turned to the Arctic, where the pace of warming is more than double that elsewhere in the world. Residents of the circumpolar north don’t have to imagine how climate change might affect them in a decade or two. Communities are already experiencing the devastating effects of coastal erosion, sea ice melt, crumbling infrastructure resulting from melting permafrost, and the most destructive wildfires on record. A recent study by the National Academy of Sciences predicted costs to Alaskan infrastructure alone in the billions of dollars through the 21st century. The socio-cultural costs extend far beyond these numbers.

Arctic & Northern Studies (ACNS) offers a BA and an MA that allow students to contribute to solutions to the challenges we face in the north by studying the region and its sub-regions from multiple disciplinary perspectives including anthropology, art, biology, geography, history, literature, political science, and more. ACNS students benefit from the northern expertise and research experience of our faculty and from the comprehensive holdings of the Alaska and Polar Regions department of the Rasmuson Library. Students have opportunities to work closely with ACNS faculty as they conduct their research and take classes with low teacher/student ratios. For profiles of faculty who teach Arctic & Northern Studies courses, follow the link to 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 our Alumni page for profiles on recent graduates.


Arctic & Northern Studies in the World

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