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The University of Akureyri seeks applications for its master programmes in Polar Law with the West Nordic Studies option for the period 2017-2019

The programme is taught entirely in English

Next application deadlines for degree-seeking students is in 2017:

  • 1st of April 2017 (NON-EU/EEA CITIZENS)
  • 5th June 2017 (EU/EEA CITIZENS)

Please keep in mind that you need to upload the following:

  • CV (Curriculum Vitae)
  • Statement of your objectives and expectations regarding the studies
  • Transcripts of record
  • Copy of passport
  • Two letters of reference 

Application form


Study Lines in Polar Law

In 2016, the University of Akureyri is offering the following studies in Polar Law: a 120 ECTS programme leading to an MA degree with the West Nordic Studies option; and a 120 ECTS programme leading to a LLM degree with the West Nordic Studies option.

In 2017, the University of Akureyri will offer students the LLM and MA programmes in Polar Law (with or without the West Nordic option) as well as a 60 ECTS programme at master level leading to a Graduate diploma.

All courses in Polar Law are taught in English.

International cooperation
The Polar Law Programmes are incorporated within the International West Nordic Studies Masters Programme. This is a cooperative Programme with the University of the Faroe Islands, the University of Greenland, Nord University in Bodø, Norway and the University of Iceland. Students spend one term of the four on exchange at one of the partner universities. Grants are available to partially defer the costs of the exchanges.

In addition to these partner institutes, The Polar Law Programme at the University of Akureyri involves experts from the University of Lapland, the University of Tilburg, the University of Tromsø, the University of Tasmania, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the Arctic Council and the Stefansson Arctic Institute.

Programme Costs
There are no tuition fees as such but students pay an annual registration fee which is currently 75.000 ISK (approximately 500 Euros) to cover administrative costs. Non-EEA/EU citizens must also apply for a residence permit and must pay in advance approximately 200.000 ISK to cover the first year’s registration fee, the necessary residence permit application, and six months health insurance (obligatory under Icelandic law). The University will refund any surplus once all the expenses are paid. If your application for a residence permit is turned down by the Directorate of Immigration, the University will refund the surplus, including the registration fee and health insurance costs. (The student must nonetheless pay for the registration permit processing fee, administrative costs, and bank transfer charges; the amount refunded may also vary owing to currency volatility).

What is Polar Law?

Polar Law describes the legal regimes applicable to the Arctic and the Antarctic. It is interdisciplinary, placing emphasis on relevant areas of public international law and social sciences. Subject areas include: environmental law; the law of the sea; sovereignty issues and boundary disputes on land and sea; natural resources governance; the rights of indigenous peoples in the North; self-government and good governance; economic development; Arctic security and Arctic strategies; and land and resource claims in Polar regions.

The Polar Law masters programmes
The masters programmes are developed and delivered as interest in the Arctic and the Antarctic are at a high. Climate changes are having a dramatic effect on the Arctic and Antarctic and multiple threats to the environment are sending serious danger-signals and calling for urgent measures; speculation is high regarding new shipping routes and natural resources; the Arctic Council is creating innovative modes of regional governance; Arctic States map and stake their entitlements to the Arctic Ocean floor; nations inside and outside of the Poles work together to manage fisheries; ethical, legal and sociological debates arise around the consumption of marine mammals; questions of national and local governance are moving forward on national and international agendas; indigenous peoples are claiming their rights to manage their own communities, lands and resources; and Arctic inhabitants pursue economic development.

Every effort is made to ensure that all courses in this programme are gender-sensitive.

Students who have not yet completed an introductory course in public international law do so during their first semester of study.

Courses are taught by Guðmundur Alfreðsson, Tom Barry, Giorgio Baruchello, Kees Bastmeijer, Erik Franckx, Soffía Guðmundsdóttir, Lassi Heininen, Jón Haukur Ingimundarson, Julia Jabour, Rachael Lorna Johnstone, Joan Larsen, Anita Parlow, Jessica Shadian, Peter Ørebech, and other leading academics and practitioners in the field of Polar law.

The Faculty recognises the diversity of backgrounds of the Polar Law students and is keen to offer a flexible study environment in which students can make the most of their study opportunity at the University of Akureyri. For that reason, a student may be exempted from otherwise mandatory courses if s/he can demonstrate that s/he has satisfactory competence from previous study or occupation or will obtain such competence during the study period in an alternative course. Where an exemption is granted, the student should seek an alternative course or courses with relevance to Polar Law, either within the University of Akureyri or from another university, and ensure that s/he at all times has adequate academic credits to fulfil the obligations of the study line. All such requests must be sent to the Curriculum and Credit-transfer Committee which will assess each on its merits, taking particular account of the stated learning outcomes for the Polar Law study line in question and the skills and competences demonstrable by the applicant or to be acquired in an alternative course (e.g. from a previous academic transcript or a current course description). In no case may the Curriculum and Credit-transfer Committee endorse such a change if the result would be that any learning outcome for the study line would not be achieved.

On completion of studies

Studies in Polar Law prepare students for work in the public and private sectors, with different levels of government, with international organizations, the NGO sector, with indigenous peoples in the Arctic, and with universities and research institutions. The Master’s Programmes (LLM and MA) also constitute good preparation for doctoral studies or further research on Polar issues.

For further information please contact:

Rachael Lorna Johnstone, Head of the Polar Law Programmes at the Faculty of Law:

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University of Akureyri

Solborg, Nordurslod         600 Akureyri, Iceland         S. + 354 460 8000 / f: +354 460 8999

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