The unique geology of Svalbard and its present-day cryosphere provide superb opportunities to study geoscience. The Arctic Geology courses at UNIS are therefore built to take full advantage of having a high Arctic field setting on our doorstep. Hands-on field activities are closely integrated with state-of-the-art classroom education and, during your stay, you will become part of a vibrant international geology and physical geography community of Arctic-focused research.

The geological evolution of Svalbard is recorded in spectacular geological sequences spanning the Precambrian to the Cenozoic, and overlain by Quaternary glacial and interglacial deposits. Easily accessible outcrops make it possible to demonstrate the interplay of continental drift with tectonic, glacial, periglacial, coastal, fluvial, and marine sedimentary processes.

There is, for instance, a long history of past climate variations in Svalbard’s geological record. There are pre-Cambrian glacial tills that formed when Svalbard was located on the Southern Hemisphere, organic rich Mesozoic rocks which were deposited at equatorial latitudes, and Quaternary glacial and interglacial marine and terrestrial deposits from its recent Arctic situation. Large parts of the archipelago are currently covered by glaciers, and there is continuous permafrost within ice-free areas, and even below some of the glaciers. The close proximity of present-day geological, glacial, periglacial, marine, and terrestrial processes provides an exciting field laboratory as the basis for study.

Carboniferous and devon (red) rocks in Billefjorden. Photo: Snorre Olaussen/UNIS
Carboniferous and devon (red) rocks in Billefjorden. Photo: Snorre Olaussen/UNIS

Insights from Earth’s climate history: implications for tomorrow

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Meet our staff

Svalbard’s dynamic lithosphere

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Sustainable Geoscience in the Arctic

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Bachelor course combinations

Autumn semesterSpring semester
AG-214 and AG-215AG-209 and AG-222 (2024)
AG-211 and AG-223 Arctic Climate Change: Past to Future (2025)
Recommended workload is 30 ECTS per semester.

Teaching blocks

Teaching blockStartInsights from Earth’s climate history: implications for tomorrowThe Cryosphere and polar landscapesSvalbard’s dynamic lithosphereSustainable Geoscience in the Arctic
Block 1 (spring)08.01.24AT-305AT-331
Block 2 (spring)26.02.24AT-311AT-330
Block 3 (spring)15.04.24AT-319AT-324
Block 5 (autumn)06.08.24AT-334AE-341
Block 6 (autumn)23.09.24AT-301AE-342
Block 7 (autumn)04.11.24AT-332AE-343

Bachelor courses

Master courses

PhD Courses