• 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
    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 will spend parts or all of third year living and studying in the High Arctic at the University Centre in Svalbard.

  • >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


Students are writing blogs about their Arctic adventures - read them here!


To graduate with a BSc (Hons) Marine Science with Arctic Studies, you have to

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

2. be accepted to and study for at least one semester of third year at the University Centre in Svalbard, passing the studied modules. Students who spend only one semester in the Arctic must during their SAMS semester complete the third year Literature Review module on a topic relevant to Arctic science and successfully study two further elective modules from the following list (students who want to retain the option to revert to the Marine Science BSc stream must study one module from list A and one from list B): Marine Zoology (A), Fisheries Ecology (A), Aquaculture (A), Marine Microbial Ecology (A), Marine Biotechnology (A); Marine Biogeochemical Cycling (B), Ocean Circulation & Climate (B), Marine Technology (B), Marine Pollution (B), Marine Instrumentation & Data (B)

3. undertake a fourth year dissertation in an Arctic studies topic

4. pass the fourth year Polar Seas module and

5. pass three other free elective modules from this list: Science Communication; Behaviour & Biological Clocks; Defining the Marine Carbon Cycle; Deep-Sea Ecosystems; Marine Environmental Impact Assessment; Marine Modelling; Palaeoceanography; Coastal & Shelf Sea Dynamics

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

Read here an account from one of our earliest students who graduated with this qualification...

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. Via an Erasmus agreement, this will cover your UNIS tuition fees. However, the Svalbard adventure attracts additional 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

Tuition fees Paid by Erasmus
Excursions (£24/day) 336
Accommodation (£380 pcm) 1710
Subsistence (£500 pcm) 2250
Air Travel 450
Clothining 900
UNIS SEMESTER TOTAL COST   £5646


Sources of funding

There is an Erasmus scheme with Tromsø University (£200 pcm) coming to a total of £1000 per semester. 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

info@sams.ac.uk

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!