Bachelor of Arts

The Bachelor of Arts in Arctic and Northern Studies

The BA in Arctic and Northern Studies offers students an opportunity to learn about various aspects of and perspectives on the north, focusing on the social sciences and humanities. Its mission is to prepare students for living and working in the north. The program offers students broad flexibility so they can choose a course of study that corresponds to their needs and interests. Common academic interests of Arctic and Northern Studies students include northern histories, various political challenges in the north, environmental concerns, natural resource management, indigenous cultures and indigenous peoples’ concerns, northern literature and other arts and humanities.

The geographic location of UAF allows students to immerse themselves in a sub-Arctic environment while studying northern issues. Students examine the common and distinctive features of the countries and regions of the circumpolar North, focusing on the human perspective. Through multiple disciplinary lenses, they study the challenges we face in the north / Arctic, including: protecting fragile environments and northern peoples from climate change and environmental polution; competition for resources amid efforts toward sustainable economic development; Indigenous self-determination and land rights; and high rates of alcoholism and suicide. 

Here is what Lisbet Norris, the 2011 Outstanding Student in Arctic and Northern Studies had to say about her educational experience within the Arctic and Northern Studies Program:

“The greatest strength of the Arctic and Northern Studies BA is its faculty. The Arctic and Northern Studies program is unique in the strong mentorship and support it provides. There is a real sense of community among the students and faculty involved with the program. It makes for an incredibly encouraging environment that fosters creative thought and academic strengths."

"Another attractive feature of the Arctic and Northern Studies program is the flexibility it allows.Rather than constricting my education to a pre-set curriculum, the Arctic and Northern Studies program encouraged me to pursue the subjects I found most interesting. The program encourages experiential learning, especially abroad, and helped facilitate my period of study on Baffin Island. The interdisciplinary nature of the program hasallowed me to gain expertise and knowledge in the fields I find most relevant and fascinating, a process I feel has strengthened my overall understanding of the North.”




Joseph Ransdell-Green 

Joseph Ransdell-Green is our outstanding student for the 2018-2019 academic year. His focus has been indigenous cultures and human-environment relations of the North. Raised in Alaska, Joseph is a guitarist and singer songwriter. He spends most summers near Petersburg, Alaska, fishing, hiking and birdwatching.