AGF-852 Chemical Oceanography in the Arctic (10 ECTS)






October 15, 2022


April 19, 2023


June 08, 2023


Spring semester (April–June), annually.

AGF-352/852 students being lifted from the ship on to the sea ice during the course cruise. Photo: Agneta Fransson/UNIS.

Grade:Letter grade (A through F)
Course Cost:Fieldwork, NOK 1000–1400 (5–7 days x NOK 200 per day)
Course Capacity Min/Max:10/20 students (AGF-352/852 in total)
Language of instruction:English
Examination support material:Bilingual dictionary between English and mother tongue

Course requirements

Enrollment in a PhD programme in chemical oceanography or a relevant PhD programme where knowledge of chemical oceanography would be beneficial for the student. Preference will be given to students working on a PhD thesis in chemical oceanography.

Academic content

The course describes the distribution of chemical constituents in the Arctic and the processes that control their variability. Main focus will be on the cycling of inorganic carbon, methane, oxygen, and nutrients. The role of sea ice in influencing fluxes of climate relevant gases and the effect of ice freezing and melting on chemical constituents in the ice and in the water column below is an essential part of the course.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing the course, the students can:


  • be able to recognise the major marine chemical processes and their coupling with physical and biological processes in an Arctic environment
  • have the ability to explain chemical processes in sea ice and the role sea ice may play in gas exchange
  • demonstrate excellent knowledge of the marine carbon cycle in the Arctic Ocean and how it may respond to future climatic changes
  • understand the fate and effects of increased CO2 in the ocean (ocean acidification).


  • be able to set up lab and field experiments, analyse and interpret marine chemical data, and produce a scientific article.

General competences

  • be able to present, discuss, and defend scientific results
  • conduct academic leadership by arranging and participating in seminars for master students.

Learning activities

The course extends over 7 weeks including compulsory safety training and is run in combination with AGF-352.

Lab- and field work experiments are an integrated part of the course and methodology, experimental design, lab and chemical safety issues will be covered. During field work the students will learn how to sample and use different scientific equipment, both on board a research vessel and on sea ice.

Each student will carry out an independent research project based on scientific data collected in the field or in the lab. This will give the student practical experience in lab and field work, in analysing chemical data, interpreting the findings, and discussing them both orally and in writing. Based on the individual research project, the student will produce a scientific article manuscript suitable for publication in scientific journals and present and discuss the results in class. The students will arrange a seminar for the master students in AGF-352, where they will present and discuss scientific papers listed in the course syllabus. Each student will know in advance which paper to present and should have the presentation ready before the course starts.


  • Pre-course preparations: 2-4 days
  • Total lecture hours: 30 hours
  • Total seminar hours: 15 hours
  • Fieldwork: 5–7 days

Compulsory learning activities

All compulsory learning activities must be approved in order to sit the exam.

  • Lab- and fieldwork
  • Written manuscript
  • Oral presentations


Percentage of final grade
Oral exam100 %

Student life

ice sampling
AGF-352/852 students taking ice samples on the sea ice during the course cruise. Photo: Agneta Fransson/UNIS.
water filtration on ship
Water filtration on the ship. AGF-352/852 course cruise. Photo: Christiane Uhling/UNIS.