Northern Studies

College of Liberal Arts

B.A., M.A. Degree

Minimum Requirements for Degree: 30 credits

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The northern studies program offers an interdisciplinary study of northern problems and policy issues. The purpose of the northern studies program is to give interested students a broader study of the northern region -- its environment, peoples and problems.

The geographic location of UAF is outstanding for the study of northern issues. Students examine the countries and regions throughout the circumpolar North, and their distinctive problems, such as the survival of indigenous populations, environmental and wilderness issues, high rates of alcoholism and suicide, fragile environments, adaptation to extreme cold and cycles of light and darkness and adult development in small frontier societies.

The M.A. program is designed especially for students who live and work in the North and who want to expand their knowledge of the history, economics, politics, psychology and anthropology of northern regions. Many northern studies students are seeking employment with northern agencies and want to develop a broad perspective on northern issues. Some students plan to pursue doctoral work in a discipline such as history or anthropology and seek a master's degree with a broad approach. Other students are employed as teachers, military personnel, or agency staff and want a rich, interdisciplinary program. The program is suitable for any of these goals, and it is designed to be compatible with either full-time graduate study or full-time employment.

The M.A. program offers three concentrations: northern history, environmental politics and policy, and individualized study. Students of northern history benefit from the availability of the Alaska and circumpolar collections of the UAF library, UA Museum of the North, and the Polar Regions Collection. The environmental politics and policy concentration focuses on political, social and psychological responses to environmental change. The individualized study concentration has a focus selected by the student.

The program offers a thesis or non-thesis option. The choice of option is guided by the student's interests and goals, the graduate advisory committee, and the requirements of the university. Faculty in the program are drawn from such disciplines as Alaska Native studies, art, anthropology, economics, English, geography, history, library science, political science and psychology.

For information on studying at McGill University, Montreal, Canada; the University of Copenhagen, Denmark; or opportunities for study in the former U.S.S.R., see International Study Abroad and Exchange Programs.

Graduate Program -- M.A. Degree

Concentrations: Individualized Study, Environmental Politics and Policy, and Northern History

  1. Complete the general university requirements.
  2. Complete the master's degree requirements.
  3. Complete the following
    NORS F600--Perspectives of the North--3 credits
    NORS F601--Research Methods and Sources in the North--3 credits
  4. Complete two elective courses at the F400- or F600-level--6 credits
  5. Complete one of the following:
    NORS F698--Project--6 credits
    NORS F699--Thesis--6 - 12 credits
  6. Complete one of the following concentrations:
    Individualized Study*
    Complete 12 credits from the following:
    1. Course offerings selected from the relevant department** and,
    2. Courses offered within the Northern Studies program, including those in the other concentrations (below) and,
    3. Any of the following:
      NORS F606--Science, Technology and Development in Northern Regions--3 credits
      NORS F614--Human Adaptation to the Circumpolar North--3 credits
      NORS F640--Ethics and Reporting in the Far North--3 credits
      NORS F652--International Relations of the North--3 credits
      NORS F660--Government and Politics of Canada--3 credits
      NORS F662--Alaska Government and Politics--3 credits
      NORS F668--Government and Politics of Russia--3 credits
      NORS F680--Comparative Education--3 credits
      * The individualized study concentration may be used as a basis for a M.A. thesis/project typically under the direction of a faculty member in the most relevant department.
      ** Some students may, with the consent of their graduate committee, develop an individualized program with an emphasis on Alaska Native studies, northern art, northern sociology, northern policy studies, or another northern field or discipline.

    Environmental Politics and Policy*
    Complete 12 credits from the following:
    NORS/PS F603--Public Policy--3 credits
    NORS/PS F647--U.S. Environmental Policy--3 credits
    NORS F648--Environmental Politics of the Circumpolar North--3 credits
    NORS/PS F654--International Law and the Environment--3 credits
    NORS/PS F655--Political Economy of the Global Environment--3 credits
    NORS/PS F656--Science, Technology and Politics--3 credits
    NORS/PS F658--Comparative Environmental Politics--3 credits
    NORS F613--Wilderness and Environmental Psychology--3 credits
    * The environmental politics and policy concentration may be used as a basis for the M.A. thesis/project.
    Note: The environmental politics and policy concentration is a clear track toward interdisciplinary doctoral programs.

    Northern History*
    1. Complete the following:
      NORS/HIST F690--Researching and Writing
      Northern History--3 credits
    2. Complete 9 credits from the following:
      HIST F470--Seminar in Alaska History--3 credits
      NORS F661/HIST F662--History of Alaska--3 credits
      NORS/HIST F663--Foundations of Russian History--3 credits
      NORS/HIST F664--Modern Russia--3 credits
      NORS/HIST F681--Polar Exploration and its Literature--3 credits
      NORS/HIST F683--20th Century Circumpolar History--3 credits
      * The northern history concentration may be used for the M.A. thesis/project.
  7. Minimum credits required--30 credits