The International Affairs Program (IAFS) offers an interdisciplinary undergraduate certificate in arctic studies, in collaboration with the Program in Nordic Studies (SCAN), the Program in Russian Studies (RUSS), the Department of Geography (GEOG), the Department of Environmental Studies (ENVS), the Department of Anthropology (ANTH), the Department of Ethnic Studies (ETHN) and the research entities of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR).
This certificate prepares students to address pressing environmental, political and cultural issues in the far north. A laboratory for studying the effects of global climate change, the arctic region spans three continents, with territories in Canada, Greenland (Denmark), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia and the United States. Its population exhibits considerable ethnic, linguistic, and sociopolitical diversity, and contains numerous indigenous peoples. Issues as critical as nationalism, territorial rights and law, security, economic development and resource technology place the arctic at the center of global, regional and national interests. Further, the region’s natural and social characteristics have inspired influential and enduring expressive culture—produced by locals and outsiders—from antiquity to the present.
These features make study of the arctic ideal for students pursuing careers in international politics and diplomacy, indigenous rights, environmental science and climate change, humanistic scholarship or creative work.
The certificate is open to all CU undergraduates and requires the completion of six courses for a total of 18 credit hours.
Credit hours are distributed in three categories: (1) Certificate Core Courses, (2) Environment and Policy, and (3) Culture and Society. Students must complete all three courses in the core category and at least one course in each of the other two categories. They will then take one elective course, and only one 1000-level course is allowed. Nine of the 18 credits must be upper-division.
Up to three credits of approved study abroad experience may be applied to either the Environment and Policy or Culture and Society categories.
Required Courses and Credit Hours
|Required Certificate Core Courses|
|GEOG 2271||Introduction to the Arctic Environment||3|
|PSCI 3206||The Environment and Public Policy||3|
|IAFS/SCAN 3631||Arctic Society and Culture||3|
|Society and Culture||3-6|
|Critical Issues in Native North America|
|Introduction to Modern Nordic Culture and Society|
|Radical Nationalism in Contemporary Northern Europe|
|Environment and Policy||3-6|
|Mountain Ecology and Conservation|
|Introduction to Environmental Studies|
|Climate Politics and Policy|
|Glaciers and Permafrost|
|The Arctic Climate System|
|Geography of International Development|
|Global Issues and International Affairs|
|Introduction to Environmental Policy and Policy Analysis|
|Total Credit Hours||18|