Arctic Nature and Society

Course content

The aim of this course is to provide a broad introduction to the natural and cultural history and evolution of the Arctic, with an emphasis on Greenland,  combined with a modern perspective on arctic societies and their livelihood.  During the course we will explore topics and case studies within biology, geology, geography, archaeology, and anthropology, as well as the region’s modern history, political development and options for the future.

Learning outcome


At the end of the course, the student is expected to be able to:

  • Have a basic knowledge of the arctic natural environment and its origins

  • Have an overview of the arctic environment and its natural resources as a precondition for cultural evolution and for modern societal, political and economic development

  • Have knowledge of the interplay between the natural and cultural environment in the Arctic and its consequences locally and globally

  • Have knowledge of the management of Arctic resources and the political consequences thereof



At the end of the course, the student is expected to be able to:

  • Describe the characteristics and geological-biological development of the Arctic

  • Detail the peopling of the Arctic and the cultural history of the region
  • Understand the political and administrative options for Arctic nations and communities to manage, develop and exploit natural resources

  • Explain the challenges and opportunities that future climate developments provide Arctic communities and global counterparts


  • Synthesize Arctic research spanning disparate fields such as biology, archaeology, sociology, geochemistry, anthropology, geopolitics and climate change research

  • Analyse, outline and present the evolution of the Arctic as a natural environment and as a stage for arctic societies

  • Facilitate a discussion on a wide range of topics relating to the Arctic at an advanced level

  • Prepare the foundation for future research and employment focussing on the Arctic

Lectures, case-stories, Group work, theoretical exercises and excursions.

See Absalon for list of course literature

The course is for academics with bachelor degree or similar qualifications wishing to obtain a general understanding of Arctic environmental and cultural history and of modern arctic societies and their dependence on natural resources in a changing world.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

This course is part of the arctic coursework at UCPH. See more at

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 min
Type of assessment details
Oral exam with 20 minutes preparation time
Exam registration requirements

The students must give a 10 minute presentation and  an essay on a topic assigned by the course teacher. Completing these is mandatory for being eligible to take the final oral exam.

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

As ordinary exam

If the student has not fulfilled the exam registration requirements the student must hand in an essay with a topic that is chosen by the teacher. The essay must be approved by the teacher three weeks before the re-exam.

Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning outcomes

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 128
  • Practical exercises
  • 6
  • Project work
  • 29
  • Exam
  • 1
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 4
Study Board for the Biological Area
Contracting department
  • Globe
  • The Natural History Museum of Denmark
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Course Coordinators
  • Morten Meldgaard   (10-51516970686b656576684477797268326f7932686f)
  • Nina Lundholm   (9-706e7770666a716e6f4275706f306d7730666d)

Lecturers from:SNM, NBI, National Museum of Denmark, Department of Anthropology (KU-HUM), Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies (KU-HUM), Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (KU-HUM), Law (KU-JUR), and political Science (KU-SAMF).

Saved on the 27-02-2024

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Courseinformation of students