Second Level/Cycle. 120 credits (2 years, daytime, study tempo 100%). Start Autumn Term 2021.

Programme structure Admission requirements and selection Application documentation Apply here

In many places of the world we experience rapid environmental change. In the Master's Program in Polar Landscape and Quaternary Climate you get knowledge and skills necessary for the understanding and analysis of polar and alpine landscapes. You get insights in how they have changed on different time scales, linked to climate variations during the Quaternary period.

Climate change is particularly rapid in the glacial and periglacial landscapes of polar and alpine regions. The program will provide you with knowledge about the global climate system's functioning and about methods used to reconstruct climate and environmental change. In addition, human and natural causes of climate change are presented and discussed.

The program gives you skills and tools that make you attractive in the labour market, and it also prepares you for a career in research. Today, former students work in consultancies and various government and regional authorities. Many have moved on to doctoral education both in Sweden and abroad.

Programme structure

The first semester starts with two mandatory courses. Here you acquire in-depth knowledge on climate and environmental change, geomorphology and glaciology. You learn how to analyse and interpret landscape and climate change, and you focus on dating methods, presentation techniques and scientific publishing. The first course starts with an excursion to northern Scandinavia, dealing with Quaternary climate history, glacial and periglacial landforms, and sub-Arctic and Arctic environments.

During the second and third semesters, you will focus on courses based on research for which we are internationally competitive. Examples are courses in climate modelling, bio- and lithostratigraphy, palaeoglaciology and permafrost, but there is a wide range of elective and optional courses also in other subjects, such as GIS and remote sensing and hydrology. A large part of the teaching is conducted in the field and in the laboratory. Our teachers are active researchers, providing direct contact with ongoing research. The second year ends with a thesis, which is generally linked to an ongoing research project. Unique opportunities for Master thesis projects are available at our alpine research station located in Tarfala, Kebnekaise, or at our research station, Navarino Environmental Observatory in Greece.

The two-year Master’s Programme consists of 120 credits

30 credits Mandatory advanced courses
22.5 credits Elective advanced courses (from a list)
7.5-37.5 credits Optional courses
30-60 credits Master Thesis (mandatory)

Year 1 Mandatory courses
Autumn, A-B Polar and Alpine Environments and Climate Changes, 15 credits
Autumn, C-D Methods in Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, 15 credits
  Elective courses (22.5 credits) and optional courses (7.5 credits)
Spring A Quaternary Climate and Environmental Reconstructions, 15 credits Permafrost - Interactions with Ecosystems and Hydrology, 7.5 credits
Spring B Glaciology, 7.5 credits
Spring C Climate Model Simulations, 7.5 credits Quaternary Sedimentology, 7.5 credits
Spring D Paleoglaciology, 7.5 credits  
Year 2 Optional courses and master thesis
  Optional courses, 0/15/30 credits
  Degree Project in Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology 30/45/60 credits

The number of optional courses taken will be dependent on the period of time devoted to the Master thesis, which may extend over one or two terms.

Elective courses for the NPLKO Master's Programme in Polar Landscapes and Quaternary Climate, study (99 Kb)

Language of instruction



Admission requirements

To be eligible for this programme you must have knowledge corresponding to a Bachelor's degree with at least 90 higher education credits (ECTS credits) in Geoscience or Geography or equivalent subject in Science. Mathematics C/3b/3c or at least 7.5 ECTS credits Mathematics/Statistics or equivalent. Also required is knowledge equivalent to Swedish upper secondary school course English B/English 6.


Grades of academic courses, motivation letter and the relevance of previous studies in relation to the programme.

Application documentation specific for this programme

In addition to the documents required by, the following documents must accompany all applications to this Master’s Programme:

  1. Personal letter/Letter of interest (maximum one page)
  2. CV
  3. Brief summary of the grading system of your university (if other than ECTS). Provide explanation of grading scale.
  4. List your courses to indicate how you fulfill the specific requirements for the programme.

If you are still studying for your Bachelor degree when making the admission application then please write in the personal letter which courses and credits are yet to be completed.

How to apply and upload documents

Follow the instructions at on how to apply and how to submit your supporting documents. Please do not send any documents directly to the department.

Dates and deadlines

January 15 – Last date to apply for Master programmes for all applicants (Application period: October 16 - January 15)

Application process

All applications must be sent through The number of students admitted to each of our programmes is limited and admission is granted on a competitive basis. Candidates will be selected by an admission committee.

Step-by-step guide

Apply here (via