AS-203 Arctic Safety and Field Leadership (14 ECTS)

Field camp, Northwestern Spitsbergen. Photo: Endre Før Gjermundsen/UNIS

Autumn and spring semester (August–May), annually. The start and end dates are approximate, and will be coordinated with the rest of the Arctic Nature Guide study.
Letter grade (A through F)
Students will receive the reading list at the start of the course
All printed and written material


Martin Indreiten
Acting operating manager, Arctic Safety Centre

Course requirements:

The course is not open for application. The course is mandatory for students enrolled in the Arctic Nature Guide study arranged by UiT The Arctic University of Norway.

Academic content:

The course is taught in parallel with other courses in the Arctic Nature Guide study. It is mainly practically oriented, but also includes a theoretical approach. It comprises field excursions and teaching in varied nature of the Arctic throughout the year. The course aims to gradually build up the students’ expertise in safety and leadership in the Arctic nature.

Main instructions and field trips:

  • Polar bear safety: Practical shooting and pyrotechnic training, as well as theoretical training about procedures and polar bear behaviour
  • Using a zodiac: Introduction to driving a Zodiac and navigation at sea
  • Arctic first aid: 30 hours of first aid instructions according to the Norwegian Red Cross’ standards
  • Using a snowmobile: Introduction to driving a snowmobile, and safe guiding of groups on snowmobiles
  • Sea ice navigation: Safety and methodology for travelling and rescuing on sea ice
  • Navigation and communication
  • Planning, risk analysis, HSE, quality assurance
  • Leadership in critical situations / decision making. Individual student supervision related to these topics
  • Two days of practical training and trips with a focus on trip planning. Conscious decisions along the way and safe leadership of groups in the Arctic nature.


Learning outcomes

Upon completing the course, the students will:

  • have a broad theoretical knowledge of topics related to safety and leadership in the Arctic nature.

Upon completing the course, the students will:

  • be able to exercize leadership in critical situations
  • be familiar with the procedures for sending an emergency rescue alarm
  • be able to lead rescue operations on sea and sea ice
  • know safe handling of weapons, and securing the group against polar bear attacks both in camp and when travelling
  • execute trip planning and navigation with GPS
  • know general first aid with specific focus on Arctic conditions
  • know how to establish an emergency camp, especially in situations with strong winds where tents cannot be used

General competences
Upon completing the course, the students will:

  • have skills in assessing routes, campsites and group organization in a complex Arctic nature
  • be aware of their own limitations and that of the group and plan travel according to ability
  • be aware of the impact strong winds can have on a camp site and emergency procedures if a tent cannot be used

Learning activities:

The course extends over a full semester.

Total lecture hours: Ca. 32 hours
Total seminar hours: Ca. 112 hours
Excursions: Ca. 3 days

A large part of the course takes place outdoors, and includes practical exercises and developing experience. Throughout the course, students will be given an increasing degree of leadership responsibility for planning, executing and follow-up of field trips. Other themes will be covered in short courses, and includes exercises and practical work. The teaching methods will be student-focused and involve problem-based learning, project work, group work, practical and methodical work with guidance throughout the course, lectures and discussions.

Compulsory learning activities:

  • mandatory attendance in all field trips and courses, including preparation and follow-up work
  • approved participation in the polar bear safety course, and passing the polar bear safety- and shooting test
  • approved participation on Arctic first aid, and passing the first aid-test
  • approved participation and passing the snowmobile and sea ice course

All compulsory learning activities must be approved in order to be registered for the final assessment.


Students should individually make a plan and risk assessment for a field excursion.

Method Percentage of final grade
Individual assignment 100%

Application deadline:

Cannot be applied for. Only open to Arctic Nature Guide students.

Field camp, Northwestern Spitsbergen. Photo: Endre Før Gjermundsen/UNIS

Photo: Endre Før Gjermundsen/UNIS

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