Energy and Climate

Tilhører studiet:
Physics - master
Photo: Colourbox
Photo: Colourbox

Energy and Climate

Tilhører studiet:
Physics - master
Application deadline
Nordic applicants:15 April/1 November
International applicants: 1 December
How to apply?

The sun generates massive amounts of energy by nuclear fusion. Is it possible to mimic the fusion process in a reactor on Earth to produce unlimited energy? How does one confine a 100.000.000 degree hot fusion plasma in a reactor, how does one model transport phenomena in such plasma? Alternatively, how can we directly convert the energy from solar irradiation on Earth to generate power? One hour of sunshine gives our world enough energy to meet our entire energy demand for a full year. The challenge is to achieve a high conversion efficiency and, importantly, to store the intermittent solar energy. The energy demand of our society is projected to double by the end of the century while the consequences of the anthropogenic climate change become ever more visible. During this two-year Master's program, you can learn about sustainable energy; its potential, the physics and technology behind, and how to examine and utilize these clean energy sources. You can also learn about the climate system and how it changes over time, both naturally and due to human activities. These fields strongly depend on advanced mathematical models, in e.g. fluid dynamics and heat flow, as well as numerical simulations. Alumni with these skills are highly desired in the scientific research sector and industry, nationally and abroad.

Questions about the study

Kirsti Merete Johannessen .jpg
Kirsti Merete Johannessen

Higher Executive Officer / Administration

Energy and Climate is a discipline of the Master's degree programme in physics.

Climate change has made it critical to search for environmentally friendly and sustainable sources of energy. There is a great need for knowledge that can help us undertake the shift towards sustainable energy production. We need to develop sustainable energy solutions, for instance from fusion energy, wind, and solar sources. In addition, continued monitoring of climate change, its causes and effects, and an understanding of climate dynamics in general will be essential for coming generations in order to make climate predictions. This is the knowledge that the Energy and Climate discipline aims to provide. The education and the master's projects offered are rooted in the research interests at UiT within the field. Current research on sustainable energy concentrates on renewable energy and fusion energy. The research on climate change concerns climate modelling and polar meteorology. Most activities are oriented towards challenges and opportunities in the High North. Students will find work opportunities in the energy and power private sector as well as in major companies that has sustainability and self-sufficiency on their agenda. In addition, students may continue with their work in science at research institutes and the university sector within sustainable energy and climate dynamics.

This discipline offers specialisation in three different fields of research:

  • Climate dynamics
  • Fusion plasma physics
  • Solar energy and hybrid systems

The climate dynamics specialisation provides knowledge on atmosphere and ocean circulation, processes important in the climate system, and climate change due to natural and anthropogenic external forcings. The specialisation includes a solid program in physics and mathematics and provides knowledge within fluid dynamics and climate modelling. Special attention is given to the climate of the Arctic. A master's thesis in this field will test hypotheses concerning processes and couplings in the climate system, for instance related to the coupling between atmospheric circulation and Arctic climate.

Students following the fusion plasma physics specialisation will acquire a high level of knowledge of fluid dynamics, plasma physics, turbulent motions, energy transport, and numerical calculations. Candidates with these skills are highly desired in the scientific research sector and industry nationally and abroad. The Sun and other stars are powered by the energy released from fusion of hydrogen into helium. For more than half a century, there has been a large international research program focused on the development of controlled thermonuclear fusion for production of clean electrical energy on Earth. If successful, this will provide humankind with electrical energy for millennia. The fusion process requires so high temperatures that the matter is in the state of a plasma. In a reactor, this plasma will be confined by strong magnetic fields.

Students following the solar energy and hybrid systems specialisation will acquire in-depth insight into the nature of this source of energy, and how it can be exploited for the benefit of humankind. In particular, candidates will be trained to understand the physics and mathematics behind solar energy conversion. The student will learn how various materials harvest solar energy on a nanoscale all the way to how to design complete solar energy systems and, importantly, how the intermittent nature of the energy source can be dealt with. For solar energy to become widespread, successful and game changing it is crucial to have renewable energy hybrid systems and good energy storage possibilities. A hybrid system is when for example wind and solar energy as well as an energy storage capacity is working together to create a more self-sufficient and secure energy supply system.
Compulsory courses in the Energy and Climate discipline:

  • FYS-3900 Master's thesis in physics

Students are required to choose at least one of the following courses:

  • FYS-3026 Fusion plasma physics
  • FYS-3028 Solar energy and energy storage
  • FYS-3030 Fluid dynamics of atmospheres and oceans
  • MAT-3213 Climate dynamics

Students specialising in fusion plasma physics must either choose FYS-2009 Introduction to plasma physics the first Autumn semester, or they must have similar background from their previous education.

Recommended optional courses approved in the climate dynamics specialisation:

  • FYS-3001 Earth observation from satellites
  • FYS-3030 Fluid dynamics of atmospheres and oceans
  • FYS-3810 Individual special curriculum
  • MAT-2201 Numerical methods
  • MAT-3200 Mathematical methods
  • MAT-3202 Nonlinear waves

Recommended optional courses approved in the fusion plasma physics specialisation:

  • FYS-3030 Fluid dynamics of atmospheres and oceans
  • FYS-3810 Individual special curriculum
  • MAT-2201 Numerical methods
  • MAT-3200 Mathematical methods
  • MAT-3202 Nonlinear waves

Recommended optional courses approved in the solar energy and hybrid systems specialisation:

  • FYS-2006 Signal processing
  • FYS-2007 Statistical signal theory
  • FYS-3009 Photonics
  • FYS-3029 Optical nanoscopy
  • FYS-3030 Fluid dynamics of atmospheres and oceans
  • FYS-3810 Individual special curriculum
  • MAT-2201 Numerical methods
  • BIO-3111 GIS and remote sensing
  • *AUT-2005 Reguleringsteknikk
  • *AUT-2006 Elektronikk

* = Currently only offered in Norwegian.

Optional courses should be determined in collaboration with your supervisor in connection with choice of research topic in the Master's thesis. Other optional courses may be approved on application or if recommended by your supervisor. An individual special curriculum or project paper may also be part of the degree.
If the Master's thesis involves work in a laboratory, in the field or on a research cruise, it is mandatory to conduct a course in safety education prior to commencing the thesis.

Knowledge - The candidate:

  • has a solid basis in natural sciences in general, and in particular in physics
  • has advanced knowledge of theory and methods in one of the offered disciplines of physics
  • has thorough knowledge about mathematical and statistical methods for analysis of physical problems
  • can apply knowledge on new areas of research in one of the offered disciplines of physics
  • has good knowledge of scientific method and knows how to conduct a research experiment
  • can analyse and assess scientific literature and research in the field of physics


Skills - The candidate:

  • can use scientific measurement equipment and carry out advanced experiments
  • can evaluate and analyse measurement data in a critical manner
  • can assess sensors and measurement devices and evaluate and quantify their error sources
  • can use programming tools and advanced software for solving physical problems numerically
  • can work independently with problem solving following scientific method
  • can evaluate and analyse published theories, methods and experiments in the physics literature
  • can carry out an independent, limited research or development project under supervision in physics or related areas


Competences - The candidate:

  • displays good communication skills, oral and written, in the presentation of scientific work for both the general public and for the specialists in the field
  • can analyse academic, professional and research ethical problems in the field of physics
  • displays good working habits and follows the code of ethics in scientific work
  • is able to continue a career within research, teaching, production, development and technical professions in the society
  • can produce a well-structured presentation of an extensive independent scientific work
  • can contribute to new thinking and innovation processes in the field of physics

With a master of science in physics with specialization in energy and climate you can work in fields such as:

  • Energy Production
  • New Energy Solution
  • Solar Energy Innovation
  • Fusion Energy Research
  • Climate Modelling and Research
  • Sustainable Energy Solutions for Rural and Urban Areas

Term 10 ects 10 ects 10 ects
1. sem. (autumn)
Optional courses (30 ECTS credits)
2. sem. (spring)
Obligatory course dependent on the choise of spesialization (10 ECTS)
Optional courses (20 ECTS credits)
3. sem. (autumn)
FYS-3900 Master's thesis in physics
4. sem. (spring)

Exchange studies abroad or at the University Centre in Svalbard can be recognised in the Master's degree if recommended by your supervisor, and only if the external courses are validated prior to departure. The period of time for the exchange studies depends on the individual educational plan, and should be planned in collaboration with the student advisor and the students supervisor.