For several years in a row the Bachelor of Northern Studies (BNS) students have been given their University of the Arctic certificate from UiT-The Arctic University of Norway, Finnmark Faculty in Murmansk.

The project manager for the BNS program, Per Møller, is pleased to see that the permanent study program at UiT- The Arctic University of Norway continues to give results.

"We have for several years arranged ceremonies for students in Murmansk and the fact that students completes the BNS program is the very best indicator of a successful cooperation," says Møller.

The students who got their certificate in Murmansk last week, came from the International Institute of Business Education (MIBO), Murmansk State Technical University (MSTU) Petrozavodsk Univeristy and Murmansk State Humanities University (MSHU). Students from North-Eastern Federal University (NEFU), have also been able to complete the Bachelor of Northern Studies program this autumn.

The Russian students are studying different programs at their home university as engineering, economy, teaching and language while completing 90 ECTS and Bachelor of Northern Studies at UiT-The Arctic University of Norway.

MSHU contributed to making the ceremonies to a memorable event for the students and so did the local coordinators from North East Federal University, Syktvykar Forrest Institute, Murmansk International Institute of Business Education, Murmansk State Technical University and St. Petersburg University of Management and Economics, Kola branch, who also attended the ceremony.

"Congratulations.  It is a challenging task to complete the BNS program due to the fact that it is a supplementary degree to you all, it’s academic focus also needs a flexible mindset because of its interdisciplinary nature covering a wide range of topics. I hope this knowledge will make a difference to you", said the lecturer and academic responsible, Peter Haugseth, who along with project manager Per Møller and scientific lead of the Bachelor of Northern Studies program Urban Wråkberg attended the ceremony on behalf of the UiT- The Arctic University of Norway, Finnmark Faculty.

"The BNS program has expanded my competence and understanding of the region I live in," says former BNS student Iuri Bezuglov from MSTU. "I am currently participating in several international networks in the Barents region and it is to a large extent this program that has made me see those possibilities." Anastasia Sharova from MSHU underlined the hard work in which she had to put into finishing the program: "Completing the BNS program meant hard work during weekends because it went along my language studies at my home institution. I am very pleased that I now have completed the whole program!"

Local coordinators meeting and the BNS Program
For this interdisciplinary program to be a success the cooperation on institutional level is important. The BNS local coordinators at the Russian institutions play a key role. 

For students to be able to complete the interdiciplinary program they have to study 5 online core courses (60 ECTS), advanced emphasis courses (30 ECTS) either at our campus in Alta or online. We need to be in close dialog with our Russian partners in order to achieve that says Peter Haugseth. - That is why we also arrange the BNS local coordinators meeting on a yearly basis to sum up and address issues that need to be discussed says Per Møller.

For the Russian partners it is very important to continue developing their universities international profile. "The BNS program is being developed within the University of the Arctic platform and is also anchored in several institutions in the Barents region," says Yulia Shestova from international office at MSHU. "It is of great relevance to us to be part of such a collaboration," she states. At NEFU the program has become very popular. "It seems to me that students find the program very relevant for several reasons; it has an interdiciplinary approach on northern issues that students can relate to and it also gives them an opportunity to complete an  international double degree. Students also find it very interactive having an opportunity to get in touch with other students coming across the Circumpolar world and share their northern experiences," says Liudmilla Nikanorova, from the international office at NEFU.