spring 2020
BIO-8026 Arctic Ocean functioning: interdisciplanary perspectives from geology to ecosystems - 3 ECTS

Last changed 14.01.2021

Application deadline

Registration deadline for PhD students enrolled at UiT - The Arctic University of Norway: February 1st (for spring semester).

Application deadline for other applicants: June 1st (for autumn semester) December1st (for spring semester).

Type of course

PhD. course in Oceanography.

The course can be taken as a singular course.

Maximum number of participants: 24

Admission requirements

PhD students or holders of a Norwegian master´s degree of five years or 3+ 2 years (or equivalent) may be admitted. PhD students must upload a document from their university stating that there are registered PhD students. This group of applicants does not have to prove English proficiency and are exempt from semester fee.

Holders of a Master´s degree must upload a Master´s Diploma with Diploma Supplement / English translation of the diploma. Applicants from listed countries must document proficiency in English. To find out if this applies to you see the following list:
Proficiency in English must be documented - list of countries.

For more information on accepted English proficiency tests and scores, as well as exemptions from the English proficiency tests, please see the following document:

Proficiency in english - PhD level studies

PhD students at UiT register for the course through StudentWeb.The registration for the spring semester starts in the middle of December. Other applicants apply for admission through SøknadsWeb. Application code 9304. Contact Ingjerd Gauslaa Nilsen at the BFE-faculty if you have troubles or questions regarding registration to the course.

Course content

The course provides a cross-disciplinary introduction to the marine environment of the Arctic Ocean, spanning from geology to food webs and human stressors. It describes the physics of the Arctic Ocean and adjacent seas, for atmosphere, water and ice, and discusses how climatic changes alter them. Geological studies will shed light on how the physical and biological environment of the Arctic Ocean has changed in the past. Biological and chemical processes will be discussed in close relation to the physical environment. The course also discusses how human activities impact the Arctic marine ecosystem, and introduces the students to the most important management measures. The course will challenge the students to communicate complex scientific context and their own research in popularized form. The course is taught by a large number of lecturers, which will give the students the possibility to meet and get to know many of Norways foremost polar researchers.

Objectives of the course

At the end of the course, the student will

  •  be able to evaluate the physical environment in the Arctic Ocean with respect to hydrography, sea ice cover, and atmospheric circulation, and discuss the role of physical drivers for the Arctic marine ecosystem.
  • be able to explain the significance of sea ice and discuss the implication of sea ice cover on ocean productivity.
  • be familiar with the historical development of the Arctic Ocean and changes in its physical and living environment
  • have an understanding of how humans impact the Arctic marine environment, and some of the most important management measures.


At the end of the course, the student will

  • have the ability to discuss scientific topics related to a variety of processes and dynamics in the Arctic marine environment in a cross-disciplinary manner.
  • be aware of and be able to discuss the current understanding how climate and anthropogenic impact can influence Arctic marine ecosystems.
  • be able critically reflect on literature about the Arctic ecosystem, as well as present this information orally and in form of an popular science newspaper chronicle or short video clip.

General knowledge:

At the end of the course, the student will 

  • be able to integrate ecosystem knowledge by combining information from different fields of science.
  • be able to give recommendations on complex environmental scenarios and challenges, based on cross-disciplinary knowledge and understanding.
  • have refined the ability of critical thinking, by discussing scientific literature with lecturers and fellow students from different field of science.
  • have improved their ability to work with fellow students through various group work activities
  • have improved their ability to explain complex scientific issues in a popularized manner.

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

Theoretical course, consisting of lectures, literature seminars, group work and student presentations.


Approved either

a) A popular science newspaper chronicle about one of the courses topics and own research
b) A popular science video clip (1-4 min) about one of the courses topics and own research

Grade: Passed/Failed.

Hand in date: June 15

Coursework requirements:
a presentation of the students research project and reading of the curriculum before the course. 

Re-sit exam:
There will be no re-set exam in this course.

  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 3
  • Course code: BIO-8026