Founded in 1954, just a few years before statehood, the University of Alaska Anchorage began its life as Anchorage Community College, providing courses and associate’s degrees at the Elmendorf Air Force Base. These evening classes were the only college education available in Anchorage, which was rapidly growing into Alaska’s largest and most populous city. That growth made a four-year college a necessity, and a major public research university inevitable, and by 1987 UAA was a significant force in learning and life in the city. Today, 40% of Alaska’s people live in Anchorage, and UAA is the state’s largest university, preparing leaders in all disciplines and professional fields for Alaska’s future.
Academic ProgramsAs of 2012, UAA is a comprehensive public research university, offering degrees at every level from associate’s to doctorate, and administrating 4 community colleges as well. While Alaska’s land-grant flagship, UA Fairbanks, carries on the hard sciences and research tradition of the land grant, UA Anchorage has embraced the needs of urban life, developing their programs in the social sciences, humanities, business, and medicine. That includes exceptional programs such as Aviation Technology, as well as top-ranked programs in areas like rural health and nursing, small business and entrepreneurship development, and social services (like addiction counseling and psychological services).
UAA students also benefit highly from an exceptionally low student/faculty ratio of 11:1, usually favorable for a major public research university of UAA’s size. That ratio means students have a much better chance of developing strong mentoring relationships with faculty, of taking part directly in real academic research with seasoned experts, and of building connections and networks that will directly impact their job market experience at graduation.
Student LifeAs an open-admissions university, UAA provides an unusually accessible means to a top-tier public higher education, giving any Alaska student the chance at the greater career opportunity and job-market confidence of a college or graduate degree. UAA’s student body is highly diverse, with nearly half of the university’s students coming from Native American, Native Alaskan, Asian, or Hispanic heritage. Women slightly outnumber men on campus.
Much of student life at UAA revolves around campus activities and events, student organizations and clubs, and community engagement. More than 100 clubs are available to students, ranging from religious and cultural heritage groups to sports and hobbies. UAA’s Sea Wolves varsity athletic teams compete in NCAA Division I and Division II conferences, including gymnastics, hockey, and skiing. Of course, students have opportunities to take part in a multitude of outdoor adventure sports in the Alaskan landscape around Anchorage.