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Master's Programme in Polar Landscapes and Quaternary Climate

In many places of the world we experience rapid environmental change. In the Master's Program you get knowledge and skills necessary for the understanding and analysis of polar and alpine landscapes.

You get insights in how they have changed on different time scales, linked to climate variations during the Quaternary period. Climate change is particularly rapid in the glacial and periglacial landscapes of polar and alpine regions. The program will provide you with knowledge about the global climate system's functioning and about methods used to reconstruct climate and environmental change. In addition, human and natural causes of climate change are presented and discussed.

The program gives you skills and tools that make you attractive in the labour market, and it also prepares you for a career in research. Today, former students work in consultancies and various government and regional authorities. Many have moved on to doctoral education both in Sweden and abroad.

  • Programme overview

    The two-year Master’s Programme consists of 120 credits:

    30 credits Mandatory courses
    22.5 credits Elective courses
    7.5-37.5 credits Optional courses
    30-60 credits Master Thesis (mandatory)

    The first semester starts with two compulsory courses. Here you acquire in-depth knowledge on climate and environmental change, geomorphology and glaciology. You learn how to analyse and interpret landscape and climate change, and you focus on dating methods, presentation techniques and scientific publishing. The first course starts with an excursion to northern Scandinavia, dealing with Quaternary climate history, glacial and periglacial landforms, and sub-Arctic and Arctic environments.

    During the second and third semesters, you will focus on courses based on research for which we are internationally competitive. Examples are courses in climate modelling, bio- and lithostratigraphy, glaciology, palaeoglaciology and permafrost, but there is a wide range of elective and optional courses also in other subjects, such as GIS and remote sensing and hydrology. A large part of the teaching is conducted in the field and in the laboratory. Our teachers are active researchers, providing direct contact with ongoing research.

    Year 1

    Autumn term

    Polar and Alpine Environments and Climate Changes, 15 credits

    Methods in Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, 15 credits

    Spring term

    Elective courses (22.5 credits) and optional courses (7.5 credits):

    Quaternary Climate and Environmental Reconstructions, 15 credits (period A-B)

    Permafrost - Interactions with Ecosystems and Hydrology, 7.5 credits (period A)

    Glaciology, 7.5 credits (period B)

    Climate Model Simulations, 7.5 credits (period C)

    Quaternary Sedimentology, 7.5 credits (period C)

    Paleoglaciology, 7.5 credits (period D)

    Year 2

    The number of optional courses taken will be dependent on the period of time devoted to the Master thesis 30, 45 or 60 credits, which may extend over one or two terms: Degree Project in Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology 30/45/60 credits

    The thesis is generally linked to an ongoing research project. Unique opportunities for Master thesis projects are available at our alpine research station located in Tarfala, Kebnekaise, or at our research station, Navarino Environmental Observatory in Greece.

  • How to apply

    All applications must be sent through January 16 2023 - last date to apply for all applicants.

    Required supporting documentation

    In addition to the documents required by, the following documents must accompany all applications to this master’s programme:

    1. Personal letter/Letter of interest (maximum one page). Please indicate how you fulfill the specific requirements for the programme in the letter.
      Further information: Frequently asked questions about admissions.
    2. CV
    3. Brief summary of the grading system of your university (if other than ECTS).

    If you are still studying for your Bachelor degree when making the admission application then please write in the personal letter which courses and credits are yet to be completed

  • Contact

    Student Counsellor
    Maria Damberg

    Program responsible
    Britta Sannel