Rural Development and Alaska Native Studies
Bachelor and master
Earn your bachelor’s degree in Alaska Native studies, or a bachelor’s or master’s degree in rural development at UAF. Designed to empower rural Alaska communities through our students, our programs are flexible, culturally relevant and responsive to the communities they serve.
The bachelor’s degree in Alaska Native studies explores the scope, richness and variety of Native Alaskan cultures from an Indigenous perspective, while the bachelor’s in rural development is designed to educate a new generation of community leaders for rural Alaska to guide and participate in human and economic development in local and global contexts.
The master’s in rural development provides advanced academic and professional skills in Indigenous and community development processes, business development, administration and conflict management to prepare leaders who understand the dynamic relationship of rural Alaska with the global economy. Many of our master’s degree graduates go on to pursue doctoral programs.
Our faculty include experts in tribal law and governance, K-12 education, international law, federal Indian law, Native women’s issues, cross-cultural communication and more.
Who Are the Rural Development and Alaska Native Studies Programs Designed For?
Our rural development and Alaska Native studies programs are designed to meet the needs of a diverse student body, especially those who live in rural Alaska as well as other parts of Alaska and the world. Whether you’re interested in working with tribal governments, Alaska Native corporations, rural businesses, federal agencies or community organizations, you’ll gain valuable knowledge and practical skills through the coursework and real-world learning opportunities these programs provide.
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How are the rural development and Alaska Native studies programs delivered?
You can earn your bachelor’s or master’s degree entirely through distance audio conferencing courses. Some courses are also available online or face-to-face at our main campus in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Concentrations in the Alaska Native studies and rural development programs
Specialize your bachelor’s degree according to your interests and career goals. The B.A. in Alaska Native Studies offers concentrations in:
- Indigenous peoples in law, governance, and politics
- Alaska Native knowledge, cultural resources, and expression
- Alaska Native peoples: health, wellness, and the environment
You can focus your B.A. in Rural Development in the following areas:
- Human and social development
- Tribal and municipal governance
- Integrated resource management
- Entrepreneurship and economic development
Why Study Rural Development and Alaska Native Studies at UAF?
Experiential learning in the rural development and Alaska Native studies programs
In the Alaska Native studies and rural development programs, you’ll develop practical, hands-on skills through your coursework that are relevant to your daily job and day-to-day life.
As a rural development major, you’ll complete a senior project that involves original research, community activism and community planning. You’ll also have opportunities to engage in a week-long leadership course at a tribal government site in Alaska, meet with legislators in the state capital, and write policy papers or help draft model laws for Native communities.
In the Alaska Native studies program, you can serve on a mock tribal council, write a research paper using Indigenous approaches and methods, review legislation or write a new law that impacts Native communities.
The rural development program bridges the gap between your cultural identity and traditional wisdom from the elders and the tools that tribes have for self-governance. These classes teach you how to use federal Indian law to your tribe’s advantage.Randy A. Mayo
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Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development Jobs
Our graduates work in federal and state agencies, nonprofits, health services, community organizations and cultural programs. They work in tribal governments and Alaska Native corporations. Many also return to their home communities where they lead initiatives involving economic development and sustainable development, or serve as cultural ambassadors.
Graduates of the master’s degree in rural development work in all levels of management of Alaska Native corporations and include several presidents and CEO's. They also work in management of tribal organizations that bring services worth millions of dollars to their tribal members.
Many graduates of our bachelor’s degree programs also continue on to advanced degrees in fields such as law, policy making and Indigenous studies.
Explore Classes in the Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development Programs
Classes for the Alaska Native studies and rural development programs cover a wide range of topics, from Alaska’s relationship to the global economy, to sustainable development strategies, to tribal histories and cultures. Through your coursework, you’ll also develop knowledge in community leadership, business planning, research, project management and other essential skills.
Get Started on Your Rural Development or Alaska Native Studies Degree
Take the next step toward earning your bachelor’s or master’s degree at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. We have the resources to help you get started.
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Transfer to UAF
Transferring to UAF? We can walk you through the process and help make sure you get the most out of the credits you’ve earned.