The Polar Law Programme

UNIVERSITY OF AKUREYRI The University of Akureyri has been instrumental in the areas economic growth and is central in the areas future planning as a

The Polar Law Programme


The University of Akureyri has been instrumental in the areas economic growth and is central in the areas future planning as a knowledge based society. The University was founded in September 1987 with the establishment of faculties in health sciences and industrial management. The University has built a reputation for academic excellence and good industrial relations. The University is divided into three Schools; School of Business and Science, School of Humanities and Social Sciences and School of Health Sciences. The number of students is around 1450 and members of staff are around 180. 

Akureyri, photo: Hordur Finnbogason    

About the Programme

The University of Akureyri offers the following studies in Polar Law: a 120 ECTS programme leading to an MA degree; a 90 ECTS programme leading to a LLM degree; a 60 ECTS study at master level leading to a Graduate diploma; and individual courses in Polar law leading to a certificate. 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, the University of Nordland and the University of Iceland.

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 Tromso, the University of Tasmania, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the Arctic Council and the Stefansson Arctic Institute.

Programme description

The programme provides a unique focus on Polar law. It comes about in a timely fashion, when climate changes are having a dramatic effect on the Arctic and Antarctic, when the opening of new shipping routes is becoming probable, when current and potential boundary disputes on land and sea remain unresolved, when issues and questions of national and local governance are moving forward on national and international agendas, and, last but not least, when multiple threats to the environment are sending serious danger-signals and calling for urgent measures. One of the interesting areas of study to which this program can contribute concerns possible lessons that the legal regime for Antarctica could provide for solutions in the Arctic.

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.

New students are admitted into the program in odd-number years. The application process will next be activated in January. The deadline for the submission of applications is April 1, for residents outside the EU/EEA. June 5, for EU/EEA residents.

For further information, course descriptions,  learning outcomes and application form please visit
The University of Akureyri