Our History

Dr. Peter Gordon GouldAlaska Methodist University was conceived by the Alaska Mission of the Methodist Church and came into being after a heroic fundraising effort in Anchorage produced $723,000.  It opened its first classes in 1960, graduated three transfer students its first year, and was fully accredited in 1964 at the first opportunity.  Methodist support was reduced over the years according to plan, though church aid remained important.  Like other Methodist institutions, the University never was a religious school as such with compulsory chapel or required religious courses.

Restructured and renamed in 1978, non-denominational Alaska Pacific University today retains its commitment to Alaska Native education and fosters development of spiritual and moral values for all students, faculty and staff consistent with APU’s Judeo-Christian heritage.

APU attracts students from around Alaska, the United States and the world.  The university offers two-year, four-year, master’s and doctorate level programs.  Intentionally small class sizes underscore APU’s commitment to student-centered, experiential learning that emphasizes rigorous academics and challenging field work in the arts and sciences.


A leading active learning community igniting personal passion, self-discovery, and deep learning.


A small private liberal arts and sciences university providing personalized, experiential, hands-on instruction “in the field” with Alaska as its primary classroom.


  • Applied research projects: faculty working collaboratively with students in relevant real world settings.
  • Leadership, moral character, creativity, responsibility, and self-direction.
  • Abilities: think critically, reason analytically, solve problems creatively, work in teams effectively.
  • Student engagement, student-centered.
  • Knowledge to spark personal, moral, and spiritual growth.
  • Acknowledging and honoring the commitment to serve Alaska Native peoples.