• A dog sled driven by a native Greenlander with instrumentation that allows scientists to gather information while the hunter is on the ice
    Study the Arctic ... in the Arctic
    ... where adventure beckons
  • Photo of the Svalbard town of Longyearbyen where the students stay
    A year in the Svalbard town of Longyearbyen...
  • Large number of UNIS students on the first day the sun is back in Svalbard
    New friends from all over the world
  • Image showing reindeer on an Arctic fjord
    blue background
    Experience a magical wilderness
  • Student collecting samples from below sea ice
    Gain Arctic fieldwork experience

Marine Science with Arctic Studies BSc

This could be YOU...

This is a truly unusual and exciting degree programme! You have the option to spend parts or all of third year living and studying in the High Arctic at the University Centre in Svalbard. Or, you can study the entire programme from SAMS in Oban. 

For those opting to study in the High Arctic: 

  • >You immerse yourselves in the Arctic and learn much about it through experience
  • >You are trained how to be safe in this extreme and remote environment and how to look after yourself and a team
  • >You discover how to conduct Arctic research on ships, on sea ice, on glaciers and on land
  • >You live in a young and multi-national community and will return with friends from places you had never even heard of before you met them!
  • >And when you apply for jobs, you will stand out from the crowd!

How to graduate with a BSc (Hons) Marine Science with Arctic Studies:

1. Enrol on the Marine Science BSc programme and pass the first two years.

2. In third year, if you have opted to go to the High Arctic, you will need to be accepted to and study for at least one semester of third year at the University Centre in Svalbard where you will study a range of modules under the topics of Arctic Biology, Arctic Geology, Arctic Technology and Arctic Geophysics.

Students who spend only one semester in the Arctic or the entire programme from SAMS must complete the third year Literature Review module on a topic relevant to Arctic science.

3. Undertake a fourth year dissertation in an Arctic studies topic and pass the Polar Seas module.

5. Pass one of the following elective modules: Aquaculture, Deep-Sea Ecosystems; Marine Environmental Impact Assessment; Marine Modelling; Defining the Carbon Cycle; Fisheries Ecology; Coastal Shelf Sea Dynamics.

You can choose to graduate with this qualification or the BSc (Hons) Marine Science. 

Entry requirements are the same as our core BSc Marine Science programme:

> Scottish Highers (ABBB) or A-Levels (BCC) including two science subjects (such as Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Geology, Geography, Maths). 

> Maths & English to at least Standard Grade / Nat 5/ GCSE or equivalent. 

We also welcome applicants with other suitable qualifications (eg International Baccalaureate) and may accept students with advanced qualifications or experience into higher years. Please contact bsc@sams.ac.uk to discuss.  


About Svalbard and Longyearbyen

You will go to the Svalbard archipelago, which is 79oN in the land of the midnight sun, 24-hour-darkness in winter, snow, ice, northern lights and - yes - polar bears.On the largest island of Spitsbergen is the only larger settlement in Svalbard, a small town called Longyearbyen with a population of just over 2000. Longyearbyen has excellent amenities such as an airport (daily flights to Oslo and Tromø), hospital, school. shops, hotels, restaurants/bars, indoor sport centre, church and museum. Go and have a peek here...

About UNIS, the University Centre in Svalbard

UNIS is a Norwegian run teaching and research centre with approximately 400 students from around 20 nations, most of them on similar 'exchange' programmes. There are around 50 university level courses at bachelor and master level, offered through four departments: Arctic Biology; Arctic Geology; Arctic Geophysics; and Arctic Technology. All courses include substantial field excursions and are delivered in English. Students are commonly highly competent and motivated, achieving good grades with extremely low failure rates.

We have an agreement with UNIS so that the courses students study there will count towards their degree here. Students will receive a completion certificate and a transcript of marks.

What modules can I study at UNIS?

Arctic Biology          Terrestrial Arctic Biology    Semester 1
  Arctic Ecology and Population Biology    
  Marine Arctic Biology Semester 2
  Arctic Environmental Management  
Arctic Geology The Quarternary History of Svalbard Semester 1
  Arctic Marine Geology  
  The Physical Geography of Svalbard Semester 2
  The Tectonic and Sedimentary History of Svalbard  
Arctic Technology Arctic Hydrology and Climate Change Semester 1
  Arctic Environmental Pollution  
  Ice Mechanics, Load on Structures Semester 2
  Frozen Ground Engineering  
Arctic Geophysics Snow and Ice Processes Semester 2
  Air-Ice-Sea Interaction  

Students must take modules from different areas if they stay at UNIS for two semesters.

Check out the UNIS online course catalogue here.

Students pay the same course fees as for the Marine Science BSc to UHI. Following Brexit, there has been a change in funding available to pay for UNIS tuition fees. SAMS is currently looking in to alternative funding sources. Please contact bsc@sams.ac.uk for more information on costs for the Arctic Studies stream.

As well as tuition fees, students on the Arctic stream in Svalbard should also consider and plan for additional living costs. Living costs are higher on Svalbard than in Scotland, you will need Arctic clothing, and there is the cost of travel to Svalbard.

Approximate costs per semester not including tuition fees

Excursions (£24/day) 336
Accommodation (£380 pcm) 1710
Subsistence (£500 pcm) 2250
Air Travel 450
Clothing 900

Students can also access study abroad schemes or student loans and apply for external bursaries and grants. Many students over the years have been supported by the Thomas and Margaret Rodden Trust and the Scottish Arctic Club for example.

Are you ready to APPLY?

Take the first step towards a marine science career...

Apply now

Get in Touch

SAMS is Scotland’s largest and oldest independent marine science organisation, dedicated to delivering marine science.

SAMS, Scottish Marine Institute,
Oban, Argyll, PA37 1QA

+44 (0)1631 559000


Contact Us

It would be great to hear from you! If you got any questions, please do not hesitate to send us a message. We are looking forward to hearing from you!