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AlaskaX: Arctic Security Fundamentals

This course explores the present-day security situation of the Arctic through a focus on the key stakeholders responsible for diplomacy and defense.

6 weeks
3–4 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

There is one session available:

After a course session ends, it will be archivedOpens in a new tab.
Starts Feb 26
Ends Dec 17

About this course

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The Arctic: a region of frigid waters, tundra, and prolonged periods of light and darkness. While it may seem desolate, the Circumpolar North holds a wealth of resources and opportunities for nations and the Indigenous peoples who live there. Many challenges also exist, including shipping management, oil and gas production, mining activities, fisheries management, protection of threatened species, and significant defense-related difficulties, all within the context of dramatic climate change. This online course will provide a baseline understanding of security circumstances and management, as well as the variety of actors involved.

Arctic Security Fundamentals also explores the security situation of the Arctic through a focus on the key stakeholders responsible for diplomacy and defense. Although the post-Cold War Circumpolar North has remained mostly stable, rapid changes in climate and technology have created new conditions requiring increased attention and management.

Course participants will learn about the complex landscape of international norms and processes governing security in the Circumpolar North, as well as the balance of diplomacy and defense that nations employ to manage priority interests. Students will explore how the three realms of international relations—cooperation, competition, and conflict—interact in this unique environment.

This course is for:

  • Security specialists interested in learning more about the Circumpolar North
  • Members of defense-related institutes and organizations who want to know more about international security and/or the Arctic
  • Professionals in industries that rely upon Arctic resources and knowledge
  • Undergraduate and graduate students who hope to specialize in regional studies
  • Those interested in emergency management as it applies to arctic contexts, and anyone interested in security contexts generally including cybersecurity, regional security, homeland security, and human security.

At a glance

  • Institution: AlaskaX
  • Subject: Social Sciences
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prerequisites:

    None, however, an interest in international relations and defense is ideal.

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcripts: English, Русский
  • Associated skills:Cyber Security, Shipping Management, Fisheries Management, Diplomacy

What you'll learn

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  • Develop an introductory understanding of how the environment and people interact throughout the Arctic region

  • Define basic regional and international diplomacy organizations such as the Arctic Council, and how priority non-emergency issues are managed

  • Develop an understanding of identifying and managing regional security through cooperation and competition

  • Define the current regional defense disposition and potential future developments in the Arctic

Week 1:

  • Defining security
  • Regional geography of the Arctic region, Arctic governance, and economic circumstances

  • Regional diplomacy, both international and regional

Week 2

  • Arctic regional defense organizations, including domestic, bilateral and multilateral

Week 3:

  • The difficulties and importance of how and why regional security actors pursue and maintain cooperation

Week 4:

  • The difficulties and importance of identifying and defining competitive issues

Week 5:

  • How regional security actors manage competition

  • The defense disposition associated with the Arctic

Week 6:

  • Potential future security developments

Learner testimonials

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An excellent introduction for anyone interested in understanding the dynamics and players of a rapidly changing region. It is equally engaging and thought provoking for both the student and experienced policy professional alike.

–Robert McKenna

The course far exceeded my expectations. It expanded and challenged my thinking. And it gave me language, tools and connections for continuing my learning.

–Gary Heck, Strategy Consultant, Chicago, IL

If you want to gain insights into a wide range of issues in one of the most fascinating areas of the world, this course is for you. The input and readings provided by Mr. Bouffard combined with the many contributions from experts each week was a highly enjoyable learning experience.


Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: Does this course have any prerequisites?

A: No. Only a general interest in geopolitics and related issues is needed!

Q: Does this edX course lead into any other licensures or opportunities?

A: Yes, University of Alaska Fairbanks offers a graduate certificate in Arctic Security. Please find more details about this 12-credit certificate program on the UAF website: Arctic Security Graduate Certificate.

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