autumn 2024
SVF-3409 Ocean Leadership Master's Project - 30 ECTS

Type of course

This course is eligible for students admitted to the Ocean Leadership master’s degree program. It is not available to any other category of student as a singular or elective course.

Obligatory prerequisites

SVF-3401 Introduction to Ocean Leadership for Sustainability, SVF-3402 Critical Global Challenges, SVF-3403 Blue Innovation for the Green Shift , SVF-3404 Ocean Futures

Course content

Ocean Leadership is an executive master’s degree for professionals within marine or maritime sectors who want to lead transformative change towards more sustainable futures.

The Ocean Leadership master’s project is carried out during the final year of the program and should demonstrate the candidate’s ability to lead the development and/or implementation of a practical change initiative to advance sustainability within their own professional domain.

The master’s project should support transformations towards more sustainable ways of thinking, acting, and/or organising within an ocean-based domain of relevance to the candidate and demonstrate knowledge, skills, and competences in Ocean Leadership as developed through the coursework components of the program.

The work on this change-oriented project is described in an independently written project report, which constitutes the candidate’s master’s thesis.

Objectives of the course

The learning outcomes for the master’s project in Ocean Leadership are:


At the end of the project, candidates should demonstrate:

  • Advanced knowledge of an important sustainability challenge and possible pathways forward within a professional domain of relevance.
  • Understanding of the value of engaging diverse types of knowledge and/or stakeholders for addressing sustainability challenges.
  • Specialized knowledge of how to lead advances in ocean sustainability in ways that are collaborative, adaptive, and reflexive.


At the end of the project, candidates should demonstrate an ability to:

  • Envision and explore new approaches to addressing sustainability challenges.
  • Plan and implement independent projects in accordance with applicable ethical guidelines and norms for research and data management.
  • Find and critically assess diverse sources of information to support projects with robust and verifiable evidence.
  • Communicate clearly and compellingly with target audiences, including through the effective use of visual elements (e.g., figures, graphs, tables).

General Competences & Attitudes:

At the end of the project, participants should demonstrate an ability to:

  • Value and advance sustainability within ocean sectors.
  • Acknowledge and take leadership actions in the face of complexity.
  • Develop and implement integrative and inclusive problem-solving.
  • Recognize and realise their potential to be inspiring and innovative agents of change.
  • Reflect on their own work and learning in ways that promote growth and development.

Language of instruction and examination


Teaching methods

The master’s project is completed by the candidate under the guidance of an academic supervisor from UiT and a "profession-based" mentor from their own organisation or sector.

Candidates are free to propose their own supervisor and mentor. While supervisors for master’s theses in the Ocean Leadership program can be affiliated with any faculty at UiT, candidates are particularly encouraged to consider potential supervisors from across the collaborating institutes of the Norwegian College of Fishery Science, the Norwegian Centre for the Law of the Sea, Department of Computer Science, and the Department of Technology and Safety. A signed agreement between the candidate, the academic supervisor, and the profession mentor will be considered and given final approval by the institute leader at the Norwegian College of Fishery Science (or their appointed delegate).

The candidate is entitled to 20 hours of supervision from their UiT academic supervisor throughout the year of their master’s project, and it is anticipated that they receive a similar level of support from their profession mentor. This should include a minimum of 2 face-face meetings with both supervisor and mentor and at least 1 round of written feedback on a full draft of the project report. Additional face-face meetings or feedback on written drafts may be agreed by the supervisor, mentor, and candidate based on the available time.

In addition to the sessions with their formal supervisor and mentor, candidates will also have access to 2x1 hour online group supervision sessions offered to the whole cohort. These group sessions will be dedicated to issues likely to be common for many candidates in the conceptualisation or implementation of the project and/or write up of the report.



Examination: Weighting: Duration: Grade scale:
Oral exam 1/1 45 Minutes A–E, fail F
Assignment 0/1 A–E, fail F

Coursework requirements:

To take an examination, the student must have passed the following coursework requirements:

Project proposal Approved – not approved
UiT Exams homepage

More info about the coursework requirements

Submission of a project proposal that has been approved and signed by both the academic supervisor and profession mentor before September 30th.

More info about the assignment

Examination of the master’s project occurs through an assessment of the master’s project report, together with a presentation and defense of the project during an oral exam.

The master’s project report in the Ocean Leadership program is assessed according to three key evaluation criteria: concept, implementation, and communication.

Conceptrefers to the overall idea of the project. For this criterion, the following aspects are considered:

  • The understanding of the selected sustainability challenge.
  • The justification of the importance of the project for a professional domain of relevance.
  • The clarity of the project aims and objectives in relation to the selected challenge.
  • The degree of creativity, novelty, originality, or innovation within project design or activities.
  • The degree to which the project has the potential to contribute towards advancing solutions to sustainability challenges of relevance to the candidate’s professional domain.

Implementationrefers to how the work in the project is carried out. Considerations of relevance for this criterion include:

  • The methodological approach applied in the project and the quality of execution of any tasks or activities.
  • The extent and way in which different actors and/or stakeholders have been involved in the design, development or implementation of the project.
  • The extent to which diverse forms of knowledge have been included (e.g. knowledge from across different disciplines, or knowledge across academia and professional practice, or science and indigenous forms of knowledge).
  • The intellectual rigour of the work, including use of relevant literature, critical analysis, and reflection (e.g., on strengths, weaknesses and lessons learned).
  • The level of leadership capabilities demonstrated through the project

Communicationrefers to how the project report is written and presented. For this criterion, the following aspects are considered:

  • The structure of the report (should be well organised, logical, and easy to follow).
  • The quality of the writing (should be clear, concise and free from spelling and grammatical errors).
  • The effective use of visual elements such as figures, graphs and tables.
  • The appropriate use of academic standards of referencing and clear disclosure of the use of any AI-based tools.
  • Clarity and quality of the impact accelerator as a stand-alone form of communication.

A rubric for helping to assess these criteria according to the grades A-F is provided.

More info about the oral exam

After reading the project report, the examiners will assign an initial grade from A-F. Following the oral examination, the examiners may then adjust the initial grade assigned to the report up or down.

The final grade is not normally altered by more than one grade above or below that initially given to the project report.

Re-sit examination

Re-sit: Participants who do not pass the assessment in this course are entitled to a re-sit. The student must retake the part(s) of the exams they failed. The re-sit is arranged in consultation with the supervisor and administration.
  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 30
  • Course code: SVF-3409
  • Earlier years and semesters for this topic