University Centre in Svalbard


The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) is the world’s northernmost institution of higher education, located in Longyearbyen at 78º N. UNIS offers high quality research based courses at bachelor, master, and PhD level in Arctic Biology, Arctic Geology, Arctic Geophysics and Arctic Technology.

Semester studies (30 ECTS) are available at bachelor level in all four disciplines, and at master and PhD level in Arctic Geophysics. At Master and PhD level, UNIS offers 3-15 ECTS courses lasting from a few weeks to a full semester. 

UNIS’ geographical location provides unique advantages, enabling students and faculty to use the high arctic nature as a laboratory for observations and data collection. Most courses include field work and/or excursions, and field activities are undertaken year-round.

Nearly 700 students from all over the world attend UNIS courses yearly. Evaluations show that students rate their UNIS experience as “awesome”. All courses are conducted in English.

UNIS is unlike other institutions found in UArctic's network. We do not offer any degrees within the bachelor, master or PhD level. Instead, our purpose is to provide research and field based courses where students are actively involved, gaining knowledge, experiences, and competences from working in Arctic environments – courses which increase awareness and interest in Arctic science.

We take students from around the world into the field, earning ECTS points that can then be used towards their degree at their home university. As such, the "programmes" that we offer are in fact just subject areas, in which students can search for relevant courses related to the degree(s) that they are working towards back home. Please be aware that relevant courses can be found in not only the most obvious subject area. We recommend all our students to get their UNIS courses approved by their home institution in advance.

Facts and figures

Year Established 1993
Total Number of Staff 115
Number of Academic Staff 70
Number of Students 700
Focus Areas

Research-based education of the next generation of Arctic experts

  • By 2020, UNIS is recognised as the leading international centre for research and education in High Arctic natural sciences and engineering.
  • UNIS performs high quality science addressing issues of global interest.
  • UNIS offers unique field- and research-based education, which increase awareness and interest in Arctic science and educates the arctic experts of tomorrow.
Web link for international students
Fields of Study Offered Life science (broad programmes)
Physical science (broad programmes)
Engineering and engineering trades (broad programmes)
Environmental protection (broad programmes)
Environmental protection technology