Arctic Science, 4.5 ECTS (Arktisk Vetenskap, 4,5 hp)

31 January - 3 February 2024, Kiruna, Sweden

Spring term 2024, Application code: UMU-53118, Application period 15 September to 16 October 2023

The course in Arctic Science is a distance course that will run in the spring of 2024 from 15 January to 3 March 2024 with a 4-day meeting in Kiruna from 31 January to 3 February (Wednesday to Saturday) for non-Umeå students and later in the month (11-14 February) for Umeå exchange students. The course is given in English. During the intensive programme in Kiruna homework tasks are given out that are to be completed at home and submitted by the end of the course. The course has already been successfully run 17 times and is very popular. This course is free of charge to all EU/EEA and Swiss citizens. See more details on how to apply below.

The schedules for the two groups in 2023 can be seen here and the schedules for 2024 will be somewhat similar: "Arctic Science 2023 for non-Umeå students " .

"Arctic Science 2023 for Umeå exchange students " .

The exotic town of Kiruna lies in the north of Sweden, above the Arctic Circle, which means that in December and January the nights are very long and the days very short! Temperatures down to −20 degrees Celsius are common in the winter in Kiruna. The town's northerly location makes it an ideal place to observe auroral phenomena. It is also in a transition process due to the mining activities which have resulted in the need to move the town centre to a new location. The village of Abisko, 100 km northwest of Kiruna, is home to the Climate Impact Research Centre, which is undertaking research on how climate and environmental changes are impacting the environment in the north. We invite students from Sweden and abroad to come to Kiruna to participate in our winter course and experience the Arctic winter first hand. This course is given in English by the Department of Physics of Umeå University. It is particularly suitable for exchange students in the Department of Physics to give them the opportunity to visit the northern part of Sweden during their studies. It is also suitable for students of physics and engineering in Sweden and abroad as well as further training for school teachers. There is no fee for this course for most European students, however students must cover their own travel and living costs while attending.

All-sky camera image of aurora over Kiruna (Credit: Swedish Institute of Space Physics)

Planned course contents:

The course is given by the course coordinator together with other lecturers in Kiruna.

The formal course plan can be found on the web pages of the Physics Department. The course is split into three parts: a theoretical part examined in the form of problem sheets which students complete during the course, a project part consisting of a study of a scientific publication and a practical part consisting of an exercise in which students are assigned the task to observe and categorise aurora borealis during the Kiruna visit.

Making an Application

For international applicants, including nationals of the non EU/EEA and Switzerland. The web site for the on-line application is found here: . The application code for EU/EEA and Switzerland UMU-53118 and for the rest of the world the application code is UMU-F5310. To be eligible to take the course you need to submit documentation to prove that you satisfy all the requirements:
  1. A completed Upper Secondary Education, e.g. Abitur, Baccalaureate, GCSE O and A levels and corresponding to the Swedish National Programme (gymnasium)
  2. Proof of proficiency in English
  3. A physics major at high school level or a similar qualification.
  4. All EU/EEA and Swiss citizens are required to submit proof of their citizenship to University Admissions in Sweden in order to prove that they are exempt from paying admission and tuition fees. The easiest way to do this is to submit together with your application either a copy of your valid passport, valid national ID card, or valid identity card where your citizenship is indicated
More detailed information regarding how you can fulfil the requirements of eligibility for Bachelor level courses.

All applications must be made on-line (except in the case of exchange students at Umeå University who should apply in the usual way). Once you have entered your on-line application you can upload supporting documents. You will be able to check that your supporting documents have been registered on 'Your pages/Your application'.

Note that all the applications are processed by the international admissions office and that the physics department plays no role in the selection process. To be accepted by the admissions office it is imperative that you submit the correct documentation to support your application. You must prove that you fulfil the general and special eligibility requirements, which for most people will mean sending witnessed copies of your school leaving certificates, NOT just proof of university studies. Original letters written by university tutors are sometimes acceptable if the certificates are not available.

The university has an additional web page for the course: Arctic Science homepage.

Travel and Accommodation

Kiruna is accessed by plane in approximately 90 minutes from Arlanda, Stockholm's international airport ( Scandinavian Airlines and Norwegian ), by train or by bus from various locations in Sweden.

We have reserved rooms close to the city centre, which are available for successful applicants on a first come first served basis.

Exchange students at Umeå University will receive accommodation information for their trip to Kiruna directly from the Physics Department.

Arctic Science course participants at the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (Photo:Rick McGregor)

Students listening to a presentation in Abisko (Photo:Carol Norberg)

Inside the ICEHOTEL (Photo:Carol Norberg)

Keeping warm!

It is important to keep warm during your stay. Inside buildings it is of course warm, but when outside it can be very cold and warm shoes, a hat and gloves are absolutely essential. You will be spending time outside each day and even digging in the snow. For more information about how to dress for the cold look at the advice given by the ICEHOTEL.

For more information about the course or help with the application procedure, write to: winter @
Course coordinator: Dr. Carol Norberg, Reader in Space Physics, Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Box 812, SE-981 28 Kiruna, Sweden.
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Page updated 30 August 2023 by Carol Norberg