Arctic Nature Guide - one year programme

Duration: 1 year

Photo: Sigurd Toven Gautun
Photo: Sigurd Toven Gautun

Arctic Nature Guide - one year programme

Duration: 1 År

Application deadline
Nordic applicants: 15 April, EU/EEA + Swiss applicants: 1 March, Non-EU/EEA applicants: 15 November
How to apply?

Arctic Nature Guide (ANG) is a full year guide education located on Svalbard. The program is in English and on a basic university level. Having a guide education in the remote arctic nature implies more than great opportunities for adventure. ANG has a strong commitment to educate guides about the responsibility they have toward the fragile arctic nature and the safety for their guests. ANG students will learn the tools needed to travel safe and how to lead guests leaving as little trace as possible in nature. They will get the skills needed to facilitate learning and experiences in nature. An international student group, experienced teachers, guide companies and the arctic nature itself, will help you become one of the Arctic Nature Guides of tomorrow.

This study programme requires compulsory attendance to the introductory meeting. See this web page for more information.
Questions about the study

Unni Charlotte Jansen


Maja Kristine Olsen


Information about semester start

Safe Guiding in the Arctic, Value-based Guiding and Teaching Arctic Nature and Arctic safety and field leadership are courses taught throughout the whole of the academic year. They are mainly practically oriented, but also includes a theoretical approach.

Safe Guiding in the Arctic and Value-based Guiding and Teaching Arctic Nature includes field trips of longer and shorter durations in the varied Arctic nature throughout the year.

Arctic safety and field leadership comprises concentrated courses in arctic safety as Polarbear safety, Arctic First aid, sea ice navigation, navigation and communication, using a Zodiac and a snow scooter. Planning risk analysis, HSE, quality assurance and situational leadership.

The stormy sun and the northern lights taught during two weeks in the beginning of the second semester. It will give a summary of the sun and the northern lights from myhts to early science. A brief introduction to the sun, solar activity, solar storms and modern observations of the sun are also included.


  • Have broad theoretical knowledge of topics related to safe travel and stay in the Arctic nature.
  • Have theoretical knowledge about the leadership and hostmanship of groups in the nature based on relevant research.
  • Have theoretical knowledge essential in nature-based tourism, experience production, friluftsliv and eco-philosophy.
  • Understand the nature, culture, history and the geopolitical conditions in the polar region.


  • Have skills, methods and routines for safe travel and stay in the Arctic nature.Have learned methods and through practice and guidance have achieved personal development aimed at being a host, mediator and leader of groups in nature. Be able to identify methods to facilitate and impart knowledge, values and good nature experiences.
  • Have acquired adequate skills to be able to convey arctic nature and culture to their guests.

General competence

  • Be aware of the requirements concerning the skills and competence they must possess as a nature guide in order to lead groups in a varied Arctic nature.
  • Be aware of the responsibility nature guides have when leading groups in a demanding arctic nature.
  • Have reflected on their own values in relation to experiencing nature, friluftsliv, nature guiding role and commercial tourism.
  • Be aware of what role nature guides can play as ambassadors and friends of the vulnerable Arctic environment with regard to interaction with the guest.

Future employment opportunities may be found primarily in guiding activities in the Arctic region. After completing the study programme, students will have gained expertise that will be relevant for employment on the mainland in outdoor recreation, tourism, education, culture and environmental stewardship, as well as in voluntary organizations. The tourism industry in Svalbard is unique in both national and international contexts; amongst other things, by having a strong concentration of nature-based tourism enterprises in which the guide has a central role in value creation, and where activities take place in a vulnerable and extreme environment.

1. Higher Education Entrance Qualification and certified language requirements in English.

2. In addition, you must document a driving licence, category B (passenger car, etc.) or category S (snowmobile) valid in Norway.

For more information, see EEA Regulations

3. Relevant practical experience requirements

Relevant practical experience for admission to the Arctic Nature Guide program is:

- Work experience as a nature guide, equivalent to a minimum 6 months full time/100 % Or

- Work experience as an officer, outdoor leader or teacher, equivalent to a minimum 6 months full time/100 %

Experience from active arctic outdoor life (eg. volunteer as instructor in winter sport or outdoor life, participation in expeditions or organized outdoor activity, experience as glacier- or climbing instructor) or education in outdoor life can replace lack of work experience. All experience must be equivalent to a minimum 6 months full time/100% and must be documented with valid reference letter.

All work experience, must be documented with a valid employment reference letter.

Please note that the testimonial shall include the dates of starting and ending the employment/activity and the weekly hours of employment/activity.

Limited number of places each fall.

You will find more information about international admission here.

Non-EU students must be prepared to pay tuition fees, more information here

Student-centred teaching and learning methods with problem-based learning approaches, project work, group work, practical and methodical work with guidance are used throughout the study program, in addition to lectures, discussions and the use of ICT. In other words, this involves a lot of self-directed and practical work indoors and outdoors for students. A large part of the study program takes place in nature and includes practical exercises and the development of experience. Guide role experience will be obtained through a practical training period. This period will be carried out as interval sessions in the autumn semester and in a longer period in the spring semester. The period should consist of about 150 hours in total. The candidate will formulate a plan for the period, which must be approved by the teacher. The criteria for the period are given in a separate document, which candidates will receive at the start of the studies.

The following requirements must be approved before the candidate may be allowed to

take the exam:

  • Planning, implementation and evaluation of practical training in a tourism business, including a practical training report.
  • One hundred percent participation in all excursions, including preparation and follow-up work, and implementation of safety and rescue techniques on glaciers, sea and mountains.
  • Reports and any type of follow-up work (eg. Photo and video presentations, group work, etc.) after each trip. The teams will decide what type of work and preparation will be carried out in relation to each trip.
  • Planning, implementation and presentation of group project on one of these student projects: polar night experience productions, arrangement at the local sun-festival, arranging Camp Svalbard Winteror managing the guest in front of the summer ski excursion.
  • Individual written assignment on the project concerning experience production, which must be submitted and receive a passing mark.
  • Assignment on the theme of Arctic nature which must be submitted and receive a passing mark.
  • Pass the test in to recognizing arctic plants, birds and animals.
  • Approved participation on the polar bear safety course and pass the polar bear safety and shooting test
  • Approved participation on Arctic first aid and pass first aid test.
  • Approved participation on the glacier course and pass the companion rescue and glacier guide test.
  • Approved participation on the multiday hiking excursion and pass the trip planning and navigation test.
  • Approved participation on the arctic intro winter excursion and pass the GPS navigation and snow bivouac test.
  • Approved participation on the avalanche course and pass the test on avalanche awareness and companion rescue.
  • Approved participation on the sea ice course
  • Approved participation on the arctic winter skiing excursion
  • A summer ski trip will be carried out as a concluding activity of the academic year. Candidates working together will be responsible for the entire execution of the trip and will receive various assignments related to the role of guide; they will be evaluated as pass / fail by the teacher.


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