1997-98 UAF Catalog

Degrees and Programs

Course Description Index

Northern Studies


Degrees: B.A., M.A.

Minimum Requirements for Degree: B.A.: 130 credits; M.A.: 30 or more credits

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 major in northern studies is interdisciplinary.

The northern studies curriculum is centered around an interdisciplinary seminar, the Northern Studies Seminar, NORS 484, which is taken in the senior year. Students also must complete 10 courses, constituting a core program and select an additional two courses of their choice from the disciplines represented in the core curriculum.

The Northern Studies Program offers an interdisciplinary study of northern problems and policy issues.

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 master's 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 Northern Studies 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 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 the disciplines of Alaska native studies, 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 Study Abroad.

Undergraduate Degree Requirements

Northern Studies -- B.A. Degree

  1. Complete general university requirements and B.A. degree requirements.
  2. Complete the following program (major) requirements:
    Northern Studies Core:
    ANL 215 -- Alaska Native Languages (3 credits)
    ANTH 242 -- Native Cultures of Alaska (3 credits)
    BIOL 104 -- Natural History of Alaska (3 credits)
    GEOG 327 -- Cold Lands (3 credits)
    HIST 483-20th Century Circumpolar History (3 credits)
    NORS 484 -- Northern Studies Seminar (3 credits)
    PS 462 -- Alaska Government and Politics
         or PS 263 -- Alaska Native Politics (3 credits)
    Select 15 credits from two of the following groups:*
    ANTH 309 -- Arctic Prehistory (3 credits)
    ANS/ANTH 320 -- Lang and Culture: Appl to Alaska (3 credits)
    ANTH 321 -- Physical Anthropology of the Americans (3 credits)
    ANTH 380 -- The People of Alaska Southwest (3 credits)
    ANTH 381 -- The Inupiaq and Yup'ik Peoples (3 credits)
    ANTH 382 -- The People of Alaska Southeast (3 credits)
    ANTH 383 -- Athabas. Peoples of Alaska & Adjacent
    Canada (3 credits)
    GEOG 302 -- Geography of Alaska (3 credits)
    GEOG 303 -- Geography of United States and Canada (3 credits)
    GEOG 306 -- Geography of Russia (3 credits)
    HIST 320 -- Modern Scandinavia (3 credits)
    HIST 354 -- Canadian History to 1867 (3 credits)
    HIST 355 -- Canadian History 1867 to Present (3 credits)
    HIST 375 -- History of the Northern Pacific (3 credits)
    HIST 460 -- Russian America (3 credits)
    HIST 461 -- History of Alaska (3 credits)
    HIST 464 -- Modern Russian (3 credits)
    HIST 465 -- Russian Eastward Expansion (3 credits)
    HIST 481 -- Polar Exploration and Its Literature (3 credits)
    HIST 482 -- History of Circumpolar Research (3 credits)
    Political Science:
    PS 310 -- The Politics of Post-Industrial States (3 credits)
    PS 311 -- Government and Politics of Russia & the Periphery (3 credits)
    PS 321 -- International Politics (3 credits)
    PS 322 -- International Law and Organizations (3 credits)
    PS/ANS 325 -- Native Self Government (3 credits)
    PS/ANS 450 -- Comparative Aboriginal Rights and Policies (3 credits)
    PS 481 -- Geopolitics and International Environ (3 credits)
    ANS 301 -- Native Cultural Heritage Documentation (3 credits)
    ART 364 -- Native Art of Alaska (3 credits)
    ENGL 349 -- Narrative Art of Alaska Native Peoples (3 credits)
    ENGL 350 -- Literature of Alaska and the Yukon Territory (3 credits)
    MUS 441 -- Alaska Native Music and Social Change (3 credits)
    Two semesters of a northern language, such as Eskimo or
    Russian (10 credits)

    Minimum credits required (130 credits)

*Students are encouraged to use the major in conjunction with a discipline-based major. Double majors linking Northern Studies with, for example, Alaska Native studies, anthropology, geography, history or political science majors may double count a maximum of 9 credits from the above groupings toward the second major. Other majors may double count a maximum of 9 credits toward their university distribution requirements.

Minor in Northern Studies

A minor in Northern Studies requires the completion of the core courses, excluding NORS 484, for a total of 18 credits.

Graduate Degree Requirements

Northern Studies -- M.A. Degree

Admission Requirements

  1. Complete a personal statement concerning educational and career goals.
  2. Provide a writing sample.
  3. Provide all university application materials, including scores from the Graduate Record Examination.

Degree Requirements

  1. Complete UAF degree requirements.
  2. Pass a comprehensive examination.
  3. Complete a research thesis or project.
  4. Course Requirements:
    Complete the following program requirements of 30 credits. At least 24 credits must be at the 600 level.
    Required courses (6 credits):
    NORS 600 -- Perspectives of the North (3 credits)
    NORS 601 -- Research Methods & Sources in the North (3 credits)
    Complete four core courses selected from the
    following: (12 credits):
    NORS 606 -- Science, Technology, and Development in
    Northern Regions (3)
    NORS 610 -- Northern Indigenous People and Contemporary Issues (3)
    NORS 614 -- Human Adaptation to the Circumpolar North (3)
    NORS 620 -- Images of the North (3)
    NORS 625 -- Visual Images of the North (3)
    NORS 630 -- Economic Issues of the Circumpolar North (3)
    NORS 637 -- Geography of Northern Development (3)
    NORS 640 -- Ethics and Reporting in the Far North (3)
    NORS 648 -- Environmental Politics of the Circumpolar North (3)
    NORS 650 -- Comparative Government and Politics in the Circumpolar North (3)
    NORS 651 -- Law, Justice, and Society (3)
    NORS 652 -- International Relations of the North (3)
    NORS 653 -- Greenland: Home Rule and Self-determination (3)
    NORS 661 -- History of Alaska (3)
    NORS 664 -- History of Russia (3)
    NORS 665 -- Russian Eastward Expansion (3)
    NORS 680 -- Comparative Education (3)
    NORS 681 -- Polar Exploration and its Literature (3)
    NORS 682 -- History of Circumpolar Research (3)
    NORS 683-20th Century Circumpolar History (3)
    NORS 690 -- Researching and Writing Public Northern
    History (3) (12 credits)
    Electives (6 credits) (6 credits)
    Electives are chosen with the approval of the graduate advisory committee. Electives may or may not relate specifically to northern studies, depending on the student's interests and professional goals.
    Thesis or Project
    NORS 698 -- Project (6 credits)
    NORS 699 -- Thesis 6-12
    NOTE: All required and core Northern Studies courses are offered in the evenings so that students can complete this program and still maintain employment and family responsibilities. Elective courses may be taken at other times of day.

    Total credits required (30 credits)