Northern Studies is an interdisciplinary field of particular importance to the University of Northern British Columbia, and of growing relevance globally. Circumpolar environmental processes are becoming recognized as key indicators of global change; circumpolar indigenous peoples are gaining a greater voice both nationally and internationally; circumpolar political arrangements are illustrating new forms of regional governance. For these and other reasons, a better understanding of northern conditions and issues is needed.
UNBC offers a BA and a Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies (International Northern Development).
Canada's North is roughly 75% of the country's land mass. Despite the North's geographic significance, UNBC is one of only a few universities in Canada to have a major in Northern Studies. This program is integral to the overall mandate of UNBC and exposes students to myriad issues facing northern BC and northern regions around the world. This program draws upon the northern expertise of faculty from a wide array of programs. Students will gain an understanding of the whole North - its geography, peoples, and issues.
Over the past few decades, the north has become an area of growing significance. At the centre of northern issues is non-renewable resource development, including mining, oil and gas and forestry.
Related socio-economic and cultural issues, such as competing land use (i.e. recreation, protected areas), First Nations land claims, and rural infrastructure development (i.e. transportation, services), and renewable resource development are also important to developing the north. These issues have in turn led to unique opportunities to discover what the North means to the individual, the nation and world as a whole.