The politics of maritime security in the Arctic

Course content

Maritime security is a key and cross-cutting issue in Arctic politics. It is high on the regional political agenda and seen as a key concern for the future development of the Arctic region, since security is a prerequisite for the development of Arctic communities. However, the maritime Arctic territory is characterised by low temperatures, sea ice, long distances, limited infrastructure, sparsely populated areas, scarcity of capabilities for search and rescue, and vulnerabilities related to communities, the environment and human life. To promote societal security, these dangers and risks call for developing capabilities for emergency preparedness and response to avoid or reduce risks in terms of unwanted incidents that threaten human lives, the environment or society at large. The Arctic needs robust security risk management systems, for example in terms of search and rescue (SAR) and oil spill response (OSR) capabilities. The aim of the course is to facilitate an understanding of how safety and security is organized and regulated regionally, nationally and locally in the Arctic in general and as part of the politics within the Danish Realm including the multilevel governance links between Danish governmental authorities and Greenland sub-state authorities. How are sub-state entities represented in relevant regional organizations in the Arctic like the Working Group of the Arctic Council on Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) and the Arctic Coast Guard Forum? The course also serves as a lens to investigate different scales of Arctic politics and their interconnectedness. Theoretically the course will build on recent and ongoing research activities, including developments within critical security studies, societal security and maritime security policy.


Full-degree students enrolled at the Department of Political Science, UCPH

  • MSc in Political Science
  • MSc in Social Science
  • MSc in Security Risk Management
  • Bachelor in Political Science


Full-degree students enrolled at the Faculty of Social Science, UCPH 

  • MSc in Social Data Science


The course is open to:

  • Exchange and Guest students from abroad
  • Credit students from Danish Universities
  • Open University students
Learning outcome


The course objective is to enable students to demonstrate knowledge of the main strands of scientific literature, reports and white papers within political theory, comparative politics and international relations.


The course objective is to enable students to apply theories and analyse one or more cases comparing single aspect or/and asses the interactions of several aspects, and be able to make informed, analytical evaluations of the developments, present situation or/and future perspectives.


The course objective is to enable students to fulfil academic functions in public and private organisations, adequately to handle these in national and international contexts, and successfully to continue their education at the postgraduate level.

The teaching will be based on the principle of ‘student-centered learning’ and take the form of lectures, student presentations and discussions as well as presentations by invited guests and visits at institutions dealing with different aspects of developments in the Arctic. Feedback and advice based on a 1-3 pages abstract of the final assignment submitted during the course.

  • AMAP, 2018. Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic: Perspectives from the Baffin Bay/Davis Strait Region. Oslo: Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP).
  • AMAP. 2021. Climate Change Update 2021: Key trends and Impacts. Summary for Policy Makers. Oslo: Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP).
  • Berling, Trine Villumsen, Ulrik Pram Gad, Karen Lund Petersen, and Ole Wæver. 2022. Translations of Security. A framework for the study of unwanted futures, London: Routledge.
  • Bueger, Christian and Timothy Edmunds. 2017. “Beyond Seablindness: A New Agenda for Maritime Security Studies”. International Affairs 93(6): 1293–1311.
  • Chircop, Aldo. 2017. “The IMO, its Role under UNCLOS and Its Polar Shipping Regulation”. Governance of Arctic Shipping. Balancing rights and interests of Arctic states and user states, ed. Robert C. Beckman et al. Brill: 107–143.
  • Jakobsen, Uffe. 2018. “Greenland’s Preparedness Capacities, Gaps and Need for Cooperation”. In Maritime Emergency Preparedness Resources in the Arctic: Capacity Challenges and the Benefits of Crossborder Cooperation between Norway, Russia, Iceland and Greenland. MARPART Project Report 4. Bodø: Nord University, 123–140.
  • Uffe Jakobsen. 2019. “Greenland”. In Organizing emergency response in the European Arctic: A comparative study of Norway, Russia, Iceland and Greenland. MARPART Project Report 5, Bodø: Nord University, 172-183.
  • Larsson, Sebastian and Mark Rhinard. 2020. Nordic Societal Security: Convergence and Divergence, London: Routledge.
  • Lauta, Kristian Cedervall, Morten Thanning Vendelø, Birgitte Refslund Sørensen and Rasmus Dahlberg. 2018. “Conceptualizing cold disasters: Disaster risk governance at the Arctic edge”. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 31: 1276–1282.
  • Østhagen, Andreas. 2020. Coast Guards and Ocean Politics in the Arctic, Singapore: Springer.
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
Type of assessment details
Free written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

- In the semester where the course takes place: Free written assignment

- In subsequent semesters: Free written assignment

Criteria for exam assessment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester


Department of Political Science, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Political Science
  • Social Data Science
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Uffe Jakobsen   (2-776c426b6875306d7730666d)
Saved on the 13-05-2024

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