Arctic Biology Field Course

Course content

The Arctic Biology Field course builds on previous Arctic courses taken and is for students, who want to get in depth with a specific Arctic subject through an experimental group project (2-3 persons). The course has 3 phases:

  1. Planning of the projects during 2-3 meetings held in Copenhagen during block 4,
  2. Experimental field work at the Arctic Station, University of Copenhagen, in Qeqertarsuaq at Disko, West Greenland, during 10 days in July,
  3. Analysis of data and writing of report in Copenhagen during July-August.

The overall theme for each course alternates between aquatic and terrestrial subjects from year-to-year. Please contact the course coordinator to get information about possible project subjects before you apply for the course. The actual themes can be obtained trough the course responsible during September the year before the actual course will take place.

All field work activities take place at Arctic station. In addition to the group projects there are mandatory excursions to selected locations in walking distance from the station. In some evenings, lectures will be given by the scientific leader of the station, guest researchers and by the teachers about research and monitoring activities at Arctic Station.

Students who want to apply for opportunity to participate in the Arctic Biology Field Course must submit a motivated application (see details below) from 1 September and no later than 25 October the year before the course will take place. The application must follow the format described and should be sent by mail directly to the course responsible. It is recommended to discuss project ideas with the responsible course teachers.

The selection of participants is based on relevance of the course, grades, motivation of the applicants, balanced mix of gender, project themes and feasibility.


MSc Programme in Biology

Learning outcome


  • Comprehensive understanding of Arctic ecosystems
  • Detailed knowledge of organization and interactions of biota in aquatic or terrestrial consortia
  • Explain how organism, populations and ecosystems respond to environmental factors, human interference and climate conditions.


  • Carry out practical field work under challenging Arctic conditions
  • Apply general morphological, physiological and reproductive strategies in arctic organisms in the discussion of the acquired results
  • Apply general population dynamics in relation to environmental conditions
  • Apply general element cycling of the Arctic in the discussion of the acquired results.
  • Include general knowledge on arctic abiotic conditions in the treatment of the results of the project
  • Mediate the ideas of the project and the acquired results in terms of a project report and in an oral presentation of the investigation.


  • Understand the scientific process from the idea of a project to completing a professional report of the study
  • Gather and analyse experimental data
  • The ability to work in a group and to take responsibility for preparing a scientific report with in a deadline
  • Assess anthropogenic impacts on Arctic ecosystems in a sustainability perspective including identifying effects of the current management practices in relation to habitat loss, degradation and decline in biodiversity

Experimental group projects with intensive guidance during project planning, field and lab work, data analyses and writing. The student groups present their progress and results to the other students and the teachers during all phases of the course.

Provided by the teachers during the start-up phase.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree in Biology is recommended.

NBIB14025U Basal arktisk biologi or NBIK14013U Arctic Biology or other similar courses with similar qualifications in Denmark or other countries.

The course is recommended for students aiming at Msc thesis project in relation to Arctic ecology.

The students must have an individual health and travel insurance.

A common report (in English) based on all project reports performed during the Arctic Biology Field Course will be published on behalf of Arctic Station.

The fee paid by the students is not refundable when the travel arrangements are booked (typically in December).

Each student must contribute with approx. DKK 8,000 as co-financing for accommodation and other costs.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, group report
Type of assessment details
Group report must follow the format and scientific level of a scientific paper. The specific contribution of each student must be clearly specified as part of the report (an appendix). Page limit is max 12 pages excl. references and appendixes. Further details will be given during the course. Submission deadline is fixed to 15 August. The report is evaluated by the course teachers. The grade and a concise written evaluation will be given before 1 September.
Exam registration requirements

It is a requirement that the student has participated in all the field activities  in Greenland (excursions, lectures, fieldwork, data analyses and writing the report)

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners

Same as the ordinary exam.

A revised report must be handed in.

If the exam requirement is not fulfilled, the student must take the course again the next year.

Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning Outcome

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 8
  • Preparation
  • 20
  • Field Work
  • 63
  • Excursions
  • 10
  • Laboratory
  • 30
  • Project work
  • 60
  • Guidance
  • 15
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Incl. field trip to Greenland 15-25 July 2024. The dates can fluctuate +/- 1 day due to the fact the flight and ferry time tables are not known until after the New Year.
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board for the Biological Area
Contracting department
  • Department of Biology
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Kirsten Seestern Christoffersen   (15-71696e786f797a756c6c6b78796b7446686f7534717b346a71)

Teachers from Dept. of Biology

Saved on the 11-01-2024

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students