Arctic Animal Physiology

Tilhører studiet:
Biology - master
Foto: Shona Wood
Foto: Shona Wood

Arctic Animal Physiology

Tilhører studiet:
Biology - master
Application deadline

Nordic applicants: 15 April

EU/EEA + Swiss applicants: 1 March

Non-EU/EEA applicants: 15 November

How to apply?

Have you ever wondered how animals cope with climatic variability, extreme light-dark cycles and large seasonal fluctuations in food availability? Or how it is possible for aquatic birds and mammals to dive for extended periods of time? A discipline in arctic animal physiology will allow you to explore these research questions.

This study programme requires compulsory attendance to the introductory meeting. See this web page for more information.
Spørsmål om studiet

Saga Svavarsdottir


  • Telefon: +4777660525
  • Campus: Tromsø

The master’s discipline in Arctic Animal Physiology (AAP) focuses on physiological adaptations to life at high latitudes in fish, birds and mammals. Particular emphasis is placed on how animals cope with climatic variability, extreme light-dark cycles and large seasonal fluctuations in food availability and how they keep track of time in order to be appropriately prepared for seasonal events. Physiological adaptations of diving birds and mammals, which are abundant at high-latitudes, also represents an important research topic.

Master`s projects will normally form a part of ongoing projects, which encompass both curiosity-driven basic research projects and projects important for production and management of natural resources in aquatic and terrestrial environments. Students will be expected to participate actively in seminars that are given within the research group, as well as at the department.

For more information about the research group Arctic Chronobiology and Physiology, see our blog-spot and our facebook page.

Recommended elective courses in autumn

  • BIO-3014 Biological Rhythms - 10 ECTS (Chronobiology and Physiology)
  • BIO-3009 Arctic Marine Pollution - 10 ECTS (Physiology and ecotoxicology)
  • BIO-3020 Fundamentals of Ecotoxicology - 10 ECTS (Physiology and ecotoxicology)
  • BIO-3013 Northern Food Web Ecology - 10 ECTS (Ecophysiology)
  • BIO-3505 Ecological interactions - 10 ECTS (Ecophysiology)

Other relevant elective courses in the autumn:

  • BIO-3019 Quantitative methods for molecular systematics and biodiversity analyses - 10 ECTS
  • BIO-3805/3810 Individual Special Curriculum - 5/10 ECTS

Recommended elective courses in the spring:

  • BIO-3004 Ecosystem-based management - 10 ECTS (Ecophysiology)
  • BIO-3118 Microscopical Imaging Techniques - 10 ECTS
  • BIO-3506 Top predators in polar marine ecosystems: Biology, role and management Implications - 10 ECTS (every other year)
  • BIO-3029 Sea ice habitats and biology - 5 ECTS
  • BIO-3805/3810 Individual Special Curriculum - 5/10 ECTS

Relevant courses offered at UNIS:

  • AB-338 Life History Adaptations to Seasonality – 10 ECTS (every other year).

Candidates that have completed a master’s degree in biology in the discipline Arctic Animal Physiology will have advanced knowledge within many aspects of animal physiology (e.g., chronobiology, endocrinology, reproductive physiology, thermoregulation, nutrition/digestion, cardiovascular physiology), with approaches spanning from studies of molecular and cellular/subcellular mechanisms, to integrative, whole-animal studies that may be conducted in the field or as experimental studies in the laboratory - or as a combination of these. For these purposes, field stations, research cruise vessels, specialized laboratories and approved research animal facilities for relevant species of fish, birds and mammals, are all available.

The Master’s degree in Biology will allow you to qualify for different career paths and prepare you to step into a professional role or to apply for a PhD.

A Master of Science degree in Biology will prepare you for a wide range of jobs, in both public and private sectors, including research, resource and nature management, administration, consulting and the teaching profession.

The master thesis can play an important role to establish your domain of expertise and to showcase acquired technical and soft skills. Also, it can be very important in building scientific and professional network, that will be a support in your future job search.

Term 10 ects 10 ects 10 ects
Compulsory safety courses at semester start (no ECTS)
First semester (autumn)
Elective course
Elective course
Second semester (spring)
Elective course (up to 10 ECTS)
Animal exp. (5/6 ECTS) **
Third semester (autumn)****
Fourth semester
* BIO-3529 is 5 ECTS spread over the two first semesters and conducted partly digitally to accommodate students going to UNIS.
** BIO-3503 Aquatic Animal Welfare (only for projects that require use of live aquatic organisms) or HEL-6320 Animal Experimentation for Researchers (only for projects that require use of live birds or mammals). Please note that there is an own application deadline for HEL-6320.
**** Possibilities to take single (intensive) courses at UNIS

See the study plan below for more information about the program structure.

Admission to the master’s program in Biology requires a bachelor’s degree (180 ECTS) or equivalent qualification, including a specialization in biological topics [i.e., biodiversity (zoology/botany), ecology, cell- and molecular biology, microbiology, physiology (animal/plant), biochemistry and bioinformatics] corresponding to a minimum of 80 ECTS.

Applicants must have a minimum grade average comparable to a Norwegian C (3,0) in the ECTS scale. The average grade is calcualted from the entire bachelore´s degree.

Applicants with education from non-Nordic countries must document English language proficiency. You will find more information of English language requirements here:

Applicants with a degree in Agricultural, Fisheries and Aquaculture studies, Biomedical laboratory sciences ("Bioingeniør"), or Bachelor of Pharmacy, Medicine or Dentistry do not fulfil the admission requirements.

The Arctic Animal Physiology discipline in our Master’s program require additionally specific qualification requirement: applicants must have completed a basic course in animal physiology corresponding to a minimum of 10 ECTS (BIO-2002 or equivalent).

Please contact the student advisor for more information about this.

More information on admission requirements:

General admission requirements-Master

Applicants from Norway or Nordic countries:

Online application is via Søknadsweb, application code 6020.

EU/EEA + Swiss applicants:

Online application, application code: 7110

Non-EU applicants:

Online application, application code: 2076

How to apply for admission to UiT? Read more here

Several teaching and assessment methods are employed, including lectures, seminars, laboratory work, computer lab and field courses. These will vary from course to course.
Course examinations may be oral or written examinations, assessments of project work/ lab reports/field reports, often in combination.
Supervision of the project work that leads to the writing of the Master`s thesis will be given by faculty staff, sometimes in co-operation with an external supervisor.

The language of instruction and all syllabus material is English.

On successful completion of the degree programme, students may be qualified for admission to a PhD-programme in Biology at the UiT or elsewhere.

Students can undertake periods of studying at The University Centre at Svalbard (UNIS). Each discipline highlights relevant courses at UNIS under program description.

International exchange during an entire semester is not possible in the first year of studies due to obligatory courses in all discipline.

Stays abroad can take place as part of a master project in the third and fourth semester. Please consult the program study adviser for more information.

Bilde av West, Alex
West, Alex
Forsker i Chronobiologi ved Institutt for Arktisk of Marin Biologi
Bilde av Folkow, Lars
Folkow, Lars
Professor i dyrefysiologi
Bilde av Hazlerigg, David
Hazlerigg, David
Professor in Arctic Chronobiology and Physiology
Bilde av Wood, Shona
Wood, Shona
Associate professor in Arctic chronobiology and physiology
Bilde av Sundset, Monica Alterskjær
Sundset, Monica Alterskjær
Professor i Dyrefysiologi