About US

Program Description

Alaska and the Circumpolar North face increasingly complex challenges in use and management of natural resources. These challenges require the education and training of high-level professionals with skills for considering the interaction of social and natural systems and informing the development and implementation of practices and policies that enhance natural resource management. The Ph.D. in Natural Resources and Sustainability at the University of Alaska Fairbanks prepares future leaders as academic researchers, educators, agency and industry professionals and analysts of non-governmental organizations and communities for careers at the frontiers of science in the management of natural resources and environment. The program objectives and its curriculum center around three thematic areas of study:

  1. Natural Resource and Environmental Economics
  2. Resource Policy and Sustainability Science
  3. Forest and Agricultural Sciences.

In the NRS Ph.D. program, each student draws on a common set of core courses, and with his/her graduate committee, develops a program of coursework and research that produces a unique intellectual contribution to the applied field of Natural Resource and Sustainability. Students elect to focus on one of the three thematic areas or they choose to integrate themes to develop their areas of knowledge and dissertation research.

The Ph.D. program builds on existing resources at UAF and directly complements and supports the mission of several funded university and national initiatives including the Resilience and Adaptation Program, EPSCoR “Resilience and Vulnerability of a Rapidly Changing North,” The Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, the Scenarios Network for Alaska Planning project, and the Center for Global Change.


  1. Educate and train scholars at the Ph.D. level with in-depth and integrated knowledge in research and management of natural resources.
  2. Develop leaders who will direct the use and management of natural resources in Alaska and other northern latitude settings.
  3. Create a nationally recognized program in the natural resources and sustainability that will contribute to science and inform public decisions. »
  4. Contribute to the sustainable development of Alaska’s rural and urban environments


  • Research and scholarship with emphasis on the circumpolar North.
  • Spearhead integrated research, emphasizing our complex high latitude physical, biological and social systems.
  • Offer distinctive opportunities in graduate education that take advantage of UAF’s location in the Far North.
  • Promotion of sustainable living in the North.
  • Increase research programs that address the Arctic and its indigenous people .

The global challenges facing researchers and professionals in management of natural resources and environment are considerable, and demand an in-depth expertise in specific problem areas as well as integrated academic training. Today’s conditions of rapid climate change, globalization, changes in land use, and development add to the challenges of sustainable natural resource management. The Ph.D. program in NRS builds on UAF’s capacity for leadership in sustainable use of Alaska ’s natural resources and its prominence as America’s Arctic University.