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.
Graduates of Northern Studies can expect to find work in northern related agencies of all levels of government: federal, provincial and local. Employment opportunities also exist in northern economic development, social service agencies, resource management, resource exploration and development companies, environmental nongovernmental organizations, northern park management, conservation, journalism, education and health.
UNBC has a number of research institutes that focus on the social, political, and economic concerns of northern BC and similar regions elsewhere. These include: the Community Development Institute, the Health Sciences Institute, the Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Institute and the John Prince Research Forest co-managed with the Tl'azt'en Nation. The amount of research funding held by faculty members working in the provincial, national, and circumpolar north far exceeds all other research monies held by faculty members. A number of students have also secured research funding from the Northern Scientific Training Program.
UNBC and the Northern Studies program is an active member of the University of the Arctic UNBC also has exchange agreements for students and faculty with other northern universities in Russia, Europe, and the US. For more information visit the UNBC International Exchange and Student Programs.