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University of the Arctic Mission: Empower the North… Improve Access to Education… Serve Our Community… Create Shared Knowledge… Build Regional Identity… Strengthen the Voice of the Arctic… Vision: In the North For the North By the North About U Arctic

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University of the Arctic

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university of the arctic

University of the Arctic


Empower the North…

Improve Access to Education…

Serve Our Community…

Create Shared Knowledge…

Build Regional Identity…

Strengthen the Voice of the Arctic…


In the North

For the North

By the North

about u arctic
About U Arctic

The University of the Arctic (UArctic) is a cooperative network of universities, colleges, and other organizations committed to higher education and research in the North. Our members share resources, facilities, and expertise to build post-secondary education programs that are relevant and accessible to northern students. Our overall goal is to create a strong, sustainable circumpolar region by empowering northerners and northern communities through education and shared knowledge.

We promote education that is circumpolar, interdisciplinary, and diverse in nature, and draw on our combined strengths to address the unique challenges of the region. The University of the Arctic recognizes the integral role of indigenous peoples in northern education, and seeks to engage their perspectives in all of its activities.

historical markers
Historical markers
  • Mar. 1997: Presentation made to the Senior Arctic Officials (SAO) of the Arctic Council on the concept of a circumpolar university.
  • Jan. 1999: UArctic Circumpolar Coordination Office (CCO) is founded in Rovaniemi, Finland, with financial support from the Government of Finland
  • Oct. 2000: Release of UArctic Integrated Plan: implementation of Bachelor of Circumpolar Studies
  • June 2001: University of the Arctic is officially launched; 1st UArctic Council Meeting: Rovaniemi, Finland ; 1st UArctic Board of Governors Meeting: Rovaniemi, Finland
historical markers cont d
Historical markers (cont’d)
  • Feb.2002: Kick-off meeting for north2north undergraduate exchange program, Helsinki, Finland; Arctic Learning Environment (ALE) online learning materials are piloted; BCS 100: An introduction to the Circumpolar North introductory bachelor-level course curriculum begins
  • October 2004: University of Manitoba joins U Arctic north2north program; select first students for north2north program in Feb 2005
  • Apr. 2005: UArctic’s proposal to the International Polar Year is identified as the leading proposal in the Education, Outreach and Communication cluster
  • May 2005: 8th UArctic Council Meeting: Oulu, Finland. The new Thematic Coordination Office at Oulu University, Finland and the UArctic Press Editorial Office at the University of Alberta, Canada are announced, GoNorth is accepted as a program under the Mobility Strategic Area

Our Location : Offices

Governing Bodies:

Board of Governors

Council of UArctic

Decentralised Administration:

1 President

2 International Secretariat

3 International Academic Office

4 UArctic Press Editorial Office

Program Offices:

5 north2north Student Mobility

6 Undergraduate Studies

7 UArctic Field School

8 Northern Research Forum

9 UArctic Thematic Networks

Coordination Office

10 IPY Coordination Office












Our Programs : Strategic Areas

Undergraduate Studies

Circumpolar Studies Program (BCS)

Open Learning

Graduate Studies

Field School

PhD Networks






Arctic Learning Environment (ALE)

Knowledge and Dialogue

Northern Research Forum

Thematic Networks

Circumpolar Universities Association

Mimir – Research Outreach Program


Our Programs : Circumpolar Studies

The Circumpolar Studies Program is an interdisciplinary program specifically developed to meet the needs of northern communities. Students can take courses online or on-campus at UArctic member institutions.

churchill northern studies centre arctic boreal entomology course
Churchill Northern Studies Centre: Arctic & Boreal Entomology Course

Arctic & Boreal Entomology Course

July 7 - 18, 2008

Are you interested in:

. the ecology of insects across one of the world's most important ecotones?

. the diversity, taxonomy and evolution of the insect fauna across the northern limit of trees from boreal forests to the arctic tundra?

open learning
Open Learning

The Open Learning program offers shorter courses than the BCS program, and has more emphasis on practical courses and skills training. The programs subjects are contemporary issues relevant to the North, such as adaptation to global change, integrated ecosystem management, traditional subsistence, eco-tourism, etc.

This program is still under development, but has already shown success: the first Open Learning course, a specialized course in environmental impact assessment (EIA) for indigenous peoples, was offered by Saami University College in . Funding was received from the Finnish Ministry of Education, the Danish Government, and UNEP.

field schools
Field Schools

The UArctic Field School catalogue is an online database of field excursion courses in which students from UArctic member institutions can participate. Please find the latest course descriptions, dates, and application and contact information in our catalogue.

The Field School Catalogue includes courses from around the Arctic, which are…

  • externally open to students from UArctic member institutions
  • predominantly "field-based" (ie, not in the classroom)
  • of a limited duration (most courses are around 2-3 weeks)
  • consistent with UArctic goals and values

If you are interested in having your course listed in the UArctic Field School Catalogue, please contact the International Secretariat at You may also contact the Field School coordinators, Rasmus O. Rasmussen and Eystein Markusson.

phd networks
PhD Networks

The University of the Arctic's graduate education programs feature three PhD Networks, which also play a lead role in the UArctic Field School.

  • Circumpolar Arctic Social Sciences PhD Network (CASS)
  • Circumpolar PhD Network in Environmental Studies (CAES)
  • International Ph.D. School for Studies of Arctic Societies (IPSSAS)

The north2north student exchange program provides opportunities for students to experience different northern regions firsthand, and to share experiences face-to-face by allowing students to study at other UArctic institutions.

northern teaching resources exchange program
Northern Teaching Resources Exchange program

NorthTREX (Northern Teaching Resources Exchange) is designed to bring recognised northern experts to centres of higher education for short term teaching residencies.

Short term residencies would last from one to twelve weeks and meet both the needs of host institutions and the schedules of individual faculty members.


GoNorth! Members:

Finnmark University College

Luleå University of Technology

Murmansk Humanities Institute

Roskilde University

Scandinavian Seminar Group

Syktyvkar State University

University of Alaska Fairbanks

University of Lapland

University of Northern British Columbia

University of Oulu

University Center in Svalbard

University of Tromso

The initial program task force submitted a proposal to the EU Erasmus Mundus program in 2005 and was granted financial support for two years (ending in December 2007) to develop the program through a GoNorth! project with 12 UArctic partner institutions.

northern research forum
Northern Research Forum

The Northern Research Forum provides a platform for effective, policy-relevant discussion and the sharing of research on northern issues.

Meetings are held biennially with the participation of a wide variety of scientists, policy makers and representatives of other stakeholders.

thematic networks
Thematic Networks

Thematic Networks encourage faculty and institutional cooperation on subjects of shared interest among UArctic members. UArctic Thematic Networks aim at stimulating cooperation, sharing of resources, and are important tools for developing the stable relations among member institutions that form the backbone of UArctic activities. This includes student and faculty exchange, and joint curriculum and degree development as well as research. Currently operating networks and their web sites can be found on the left column of this page.

Thematic Networks

circumpolar universities association
Circumpolar Universities Association

The Circumpolar Universities Association is an organ for cooperation between universities and other institutes of higher learning and research in the northern circumpolar region. The aim of the CUA is to encourage cooperation and promote higher learning and research in northern areas. The CUA hosts a biannual Circumpolar Universities Cooperation Conference. The last conference was held in November 2003, in Whitehorse, Yukon.

CUA’s role is to represent the interests of higher education in the circumpolar North to governments and non-governmental organisations.

CUA is governed by its Steering Committee, and operates according to the CUA Charter.

mimir research outreach program
Mimir - Research Outreach Program

Mimir is a research outreach program that was created to ensure that there are strong ties between the planning process for Arctic research and Arctic communities.

UArctic is involved in two major international Arctic research events which are occurring now or in the next few years:

  • Second International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARPII)
  • International Polar Year (IPY).

Mimir's primary responsibility is to plan and coordinate the outreach portion of UArctic's participation in both ICARPII and IPY.

the university of the arctic and ipy
The University of the Arctic and IPY

The UArctic will play a key role in education and outreach during the International Polar Year (IPY). Endorsed by the IPY Joint Committee, UArctic will be the official provider and coordinator of IPY higher education and outreach activities.

The International Polar Year IPY begins in March 2007 and ends in March 2009. IPY is an internationally-coordinated program to explore new frontiers in polar science, improve our understanding of the critical role of the polar regions in global processes, and educate the public about the polar regions.


Our History : Record of Success

  • UArctic: A Success Story!
  • Over 4000 student enrolments since 2002
  • More than 200 exchange students 2005-06
  • Nearly 70 students graduated since June 2006
  • 80% of curriculum by Northern authors
  • 20% of curriculum by Aboriginal authors

Our Future : Creating Northern Opportunities

  • UArctic: By 2010, more than . . .
  • 5,000 student course enrolments
  • 24 universities and colleges offering UArctic courses in all 8 Circumpolar countries
  • 100 Canadian exchange students
  • 100 new Northern university grads . . .

UArctic : What is UArctic?

  • Why Canada needs UArctic

Why Canada Needs UArctic : Access

  • Access to Education
  • Canada is the only Circumpolar state without a university in its Arctic region
  • Participation in university education in the North is the lowest in Canada
  • Building three new universities in the Canadian Arctic is extremely costly
  • UArctic is a cost-effective means to provide relevant university access to Northerners

Why Canada Needs UArctic : Governance

  • Governance
  • pressing need for a highly skilled Northern civil service
  • increasing need for well-educated Northern leadership
  • need to build effective and accountable territorial and Aboriginal governments

Why Canada Needs UArctic : Economic Dev

  • Economic Development
  • need to meet opportunities of new global economy
  • strengthen traditional industries—lumber, mining, oil and gas, fishing—vital for Canada
  • create new jobs and businesses in the territorial and provincial Norths

Why Canada Needs UArctic : Arctic Sovereignty

  • Arctic Sovereignty needs to strengthened by . . .
  • Effective territorial governments, built on skilled and well-educated civil service
  • Increased economic and resource development through education and skills development
  • Northerners trained in natural resource management
  • Northerners educated with skills in land and environment surveillance
university of the arctic28
University of the Arctic

Web site:

Contacts at the University of Manitoba:

Office of International Relations

Jim Dean, Executive Director (U Arctic Council Representative)

Rhonda Friesen, International Cooperation (Communications Rep)

Associate Vice-President (External)

John Alho (President’s Representative on BoG)