Arctic Studies courses


Tungasugit (pronounced Toong-a-su-git) is the Inuit word for “welcome.” The two required courses for the Arctic minor will welcome students to the community of Arctic scholars at UW, to the cutting-edge research of the Fulbright Canada Chair in Arctic Studies, and to Arctic Indigenous and other northern leaders and thinkers via the zoom platform. Both courses are required for Arctic minors.

  • ARCTIC 100 Climate Change, Environmental Justice, and Indigenous Futures (5) NSc/SSc, DIV, A. Meyer
    This course will introduce students to the research and teaching of UW faculty members and researchers in Arctic Studies as well as off-campus community members from the circumpolar world. Offered every Autumn Quarter.
  • ARCTIC 401 Current Issues in the Arctic (5) NSc/SSc
    UW’s Fulbright Canada Visiting Chair in Arctic Studies will introduce students to current research in Arctic Studies. The instructor and course content vary annually. Offered every Spring Quarter. 


Nunaat means “our homeland” in the Inuit language or what we refer to outside the region as “the Arctic”. The following courses focus solely on the Arctic or the homeland of 4 million people. Minors are required to take at least two of the following courses.

  • ARCHY 377 Arctic Archaeology (5) SSc, B. Fitzhugh
    Archaeological history of the circumpolar arctic and subarctic from Pleistocene to the nineteenth century. Prerequisite: ARCHY 205.
  • ARCTIC 200 Indigenous Diplomacies and International Relations in the Arctic (5) NSc/SSc, J. Young
  • Overview of current issues and geopolitics in the Arctic including those of the eight Arctic nation-states, six Permanent Participants (indigenous organizations) on the Arctic Council, and other non-Arctic nation-state interests. Offered A.
  • ARCTIC 220/HSTCMP 220 At the Top of the World: Arctic Histories (5) SSc, E. Campbell
    History of human understanding of and relationship to the Arctic via social, economic, political, and environmental transformations of the Earth’s northernmost region. Offered: jointly with HSTCMP 220.
  • ARCTIC 387/ESS 402 Exploration Seminar to Greenland and Denmark (5), M. Koutnik
    The course will focus on the science of ice and climate change and how these changes impact society. Offered: Early Fall Start.
  • JSIS B 431/JSIS B 531 International Negotiation Simulation, Arctic (5) SSc, R. Pekkanen
    This course features a weekend-long, in-person international crisis negotiation simulation exercise, implemented in partnership with the U.S. Army War College. Offered: Sp. biennially.
  • JSIS 495: Task Force on the Arctic (5), J. Young & M. Koutnik
    The Task Force is one of the capstone courses for International Studies majors. This course takes students to Ottawa, Canada for a one-week. Offered: W.
  • OCEAN 235 Arctic Change (3) SSc/NSc, R. Woodgate
    Investigates the Arctic system of ocean, ice, atmosphere, and sea-floor; how humans interact with it, and what the future of the Arctic means to the world.

On-line Courses offered by University of the Arctic for the Bachelors in Circumpolar Studies (BCS)

  • BCS 100 Introduction to the Circumpolar World (3)
  • BCS 311 Land and Environment of the Circumpolar World I (3)
  • BCS 312 Land and Environment of the Circumpolar World II (3)
  • BCS 321 Peoples and Cultures of the Circumpolar World I (3)
  • BCS 322 Peoples and Cultures of the Circumpolar World II (3)
  • BCS 331 Contemporary Issues of the Circumpolar World I (3)
  • BCS 332 Contemporary Issues of the Circumpolar World II (3)


Uggianaqtuq (pronounced OOG-gi-a-nak-took) is a north Baffin Island word meaning “to behave unexpectedly.” Increasingly, the Arctic environment is unpredictable, threatening the health of the natural world and traditional life. The courses in this section will introduce students to climate change impacts, physical features of the Arctic environment, Indigenous worldviews, the ethics of climate change and more. Minors must take at least one course from this list.

  • AIS 308 A/ENVIR 308 A/HSTAA 308 A American Indians and the Environment (5), J. Reid
    This course examines how this relationship has changed over time as American Indians adapted to altered environments and new conditions, including migrations, involvement with markets of exchange, overhunting, dispossession and settler colonialism, petrochemical development, conservation, mainstream environmentalism, and climate change. 
  • AIS 385 Indigenous Ecologies and Climate Change (5) SSc, DIV, P. Griffin
    Diverse ways in which Indigenous peoples around the world understand, experience, and are responding to contemporary global climate change. 
  • ATM S 100 Climate, Justice, and Energy Solutions (5) SSc/NSc, multiple instructors
    Presents visions of the future when the climate crisis is solved.
  • ATM S 111 Global Warming: Understanding the Issues (5) SSc/NSc, C. Bitz
    Presents a broad overview of the science of global warming.
  • BCS 311 Land and Environment of the Circumpolar World I (3)
    This is an on-line course offered by University of the Arctic.
  • BCS 312 Land and Environment of the Circumpolar World II (3)
    This is an on-line course offered by University of the Arctic.
  • ENVIR 416/PHIL 416  Ethics and Climate Change (5) SSc
    Critical examination of the ethical issues surrounding climate change. Prerequisite: either one philosophy or one environmental studies course.
  • ENV H 418/G H 418 Understanding and Managing the Health Risks of Climate Change (3)
    The health risks of climate change are multiple and range across the public health space. Addresses current and projected health risks of climate change and the policies and measures to manage these risks as the climate continues to change. Offered: W
  • ESS 107 Introduction to Ice in the Earth and Space Sciences (5) NSc, RSN, B. Lipovsky
    Covers glaciers, ice sheets, sea ice, icebergs, permafrost, lake ice, and snow on Earth and other planets. Support available for students without a STEM or coding background.
  • ESS 431: Principles of Glaciology (4) NSc, K. Christianson
    Covers snow deposition and metamorphism, avalanches, heat and mass balance at snow and ice surfaces, glacier flow, ice sheets, sea ice, permafrost, methods of paleoclimate reconstruction, Ice Age theories. Prerequisite: PHYS 121.
  • FISH 464 Arctic Marine Vertebrate Ecology (5) NSc, K. Laidre
    Explores the structure and function of Arctic ecosystems, life history, and adaptations of vertebrates, and how species are affected by climate warming. Prerequisite: BIOL 180. Offered: W, odd years.
  • OCEAN 102 The Changing Oceans (5) SSc/NSc, M. Nuwer
    Explores case studies on how the ocean drives our planet’s climate system and how humans have altered marine and coastal environments.  
  • OCEAN 200 Introduction to Oceanography (3) NSc,P. Quay, M. Nuwer
    Focuses on the importance of ocean processes for the functioning of our planet. 
  • OCEAN 235 Arctic Change (3) SSc/NSc, R. Woodgate
    Investigates the Arctic system of ocean, ice, atmosphere, and sea-floor; how humans interact with it, and what the future of the Arctic means to the world.


Tukisiviit (pronounced Too-kee-see-veet) in the Inuit language means “do you understand?” The following courses provide further understanding of Arctic studies for minors. To make up the 25 credits necessary for a minor, students may take any of the courses below or from the lists above. 

  • AIS 102 Introduction to American Indian Studies (5) SSc, DIV
    Introduction to American Indian and Indigenous Studies, a field of research grounded in the study of American Indian and indigenous peoples with the goal of fostering individual and community wellness, political self-determination, cultural revitalization, and cross-cultural understanding.
  • AIS 202 Introduction to American Indian Contemporary and Social Issues (5) SSc, DIV
    Introduction to American Indian/Alaska Natives contemporary and social issues.
  • AIS 476 Indigenous Research Methods (5)
    Multi-disciplinary literature and philosophical applied frameworks of Indigenous research methods. Provides basic tools and methods for conducting applied research in Indigenous communities.
  • AIS 480 Indigenous Resistance (5) SSc, DIV, C. Coté
    Examines Indigenous resistance and resurgence movements in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. 
  • ARCTIC 101-, 201-, 301-series Inuit Language Series (5) A&H
    Fundamentals of oral and written modern Inuktitut, the Inuit language, including an introduction to the elements of Inuit culture. 
  • ARCHY 345 Global Ethnoarchaeology (5) SSc, S. Hakkenson
    Examines ethnoarchaeological techniques, practices and hands-on applications to understanding how humans create and occupy archaeological sites and make artifacts from across the world.
  • HSTCMP 290 B Topics in Comparative and Global History – Polar History (5) SSc, B. Hevly
    Exploration and understanding of the Arctic and Antarctic from the 17th century through the 20th, with an emphasis on the intersections of science and statecraft, and international cooperation. Offered: A.
  • SMEA 407 International Organizations and Ocean Management (3) SSc, N. Dolsak
    Primary emphasis is on the analysis of the effectiveness of regimes and of processes that support or constrain organizations in different issues or regions, such as climate change or the Arctic.