MSc in Biology - Arctic Animal Physiology

General information

Have you ever wondered how arctic animals cope with climatic variability, extreme light-dark cycles and large seasonal fluctuations in food availability? Or which physiological adaptations aquatic birds and mammals have acquired in diving? By studying arctic animal physiology, you can find the answers as well as contribute to new science.

The Master`s discipline in Arctic animal physiology focuses on physiological adaptations to life at high latitudes in fishes, birds and mammals. Particular emphasis is placed on how these animals cope with the climatic variability, extreme light-dark cycles and large seasonal fluctuations in food availability that are all typical of their environment. Physiological adaptations of diving birds and mammals, which are abundant at high-latitudes, also represents an important topic.

Students will be introduced to and given the opportunity to specialize 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 this purpose, specialized laboratories and approved research animal facilities, where several relevant species of fishes, birds and mammals are maintained, are available. The language of instruction and all syllabus material is English.

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 institute. Recommended elective courses for the Master's discipline:

  • Biological rhythms - 10 ECTS
  • Arctic Marine Pollution - 10 ECTS
  • Ecotoxicology -10 ECTS
  • Top predators - 10 ECTS (every second year)
  • Applied Molecular Genetics - 10 ECTS (every second year)
  • Northern populations and ecosystems - 10 ECTS
  • Biotechnology - 10 ECTS
  • Applied Statistics 2 - 10 ECTS
  • Individual Special Curriculum (autumn/spring) - 5/10/15/20 ECTS
  • Production and Growth in Polar Areas - 10 ECTS
  • Pharmacology - 10 ECTS
  • Individual Special Curriculum (autumn/spring) - 5/10/15/20 ECTS

The language of instruction and all syllabus material is English.

Exchange possibilities. Students can apply for exchange studies or field work abroad according to the available cooperation agreements within scholarship programmes such as Erasmus, Nordplus, Barentsplus or North2North. Please consult the programme study adviser for more information. Students can also undertake periods of studying at The University Centre at Svalbard, UNIS

Learning outcome:

After graduation, it is expected that candidates will have achieved the following learning outcomes:

  • Display good capability of critical analysis of scientific literature and research
  • Display good communication skills, oral and written, in the presentation of scientific work
  • Have a solid and broad knowledge of living organisms
  • Have a solid knowledge of biological processes from the molecular level to the ecological level
  • Have an advanced level of knowledge in one of the disciplines offered
  • Be able to plan, carry out and report on a specific research project
  • Be able to work independently in the field and/or in the laboratory
  • Be able to analyze and evaluate scientific data and literature
  • Be able to work independently with problem solving

Job perspectives. A Master`s of Science degree in Biology will prepare students for a wide range of jobs, in both public and private sectors, including; research, administration, consulting and the teaching profession. Many Master`s students in Biology are connected to common projects involving Department of Arctic and Marine Biology (AMB) and other institutes in Tromsø that carry out biological research and consultation work, e.g. Norwegian Polar Institute, Institute of Marine Research, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), Bioforsk, Akvaplan-niva and Nofima.

Contact Person: Siv Andreassen (


The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.

0511 - Biology", "0522 - Conservation and environmental management", "0521 - Ecology


Venue: UiT The Arctic University of Norway
Tromsø, Norway

Department of Arctic and Marine Biology
Campus Tromsø
Romssa universitehta. N-9019 Tromsø 


Open from
31 Oct 2016 to 1 Dec 2016


UiT The Arctic University of Norway is a state university and therefore publicly funded. Students do not pay tuition fee, only a semester registration fee of NOK 500. Nonetheless, living expenses in Norway are higher than in other European countries.


Degree Requirements 
A Bachelor`s degree (180 ECTS) in biology or equivalent qualification in biology. An average grade of equivalent to C or better in the Norwegian grading system is required.

Proof of English Proficiency
As a general requirement, all applicants to Norwegian Higher Education must document their proficiency in English on an advanced level, either through education or an internationally recognized examination/test. Proficiency in English can be proved through any of the following tests:

  • TOEFL: minimum score of 580 paper-based/ 213 computer-based/ 85 Internet-based. Institutional code: 0742
  • IELTS: minimum of 6.5 points
  • APIEL: minimum of 3 points
  • MELAB: minimum of 85 points
  • University of Cambridge Exams: Certificate in Advanced English, Certificate of Proficiency in English.

Application Procedure:

Admission to the Master`s programme in Biology requires a Bachelor`s degree (180 ECTS) or equivalent qualification, with a major in biology of minimum 80 ECTS.An average grade of equivalent to C or better in the Norwegian grading system is required.

Applicants from Norway or Nordic countries:

  • The application deadline for Norwegian and other Nordic applicants is April 15th for admission to the autumn semester and November 1st for admission to the spring semester.
  • Online application is via Søknadsweb, study code 6001.

Applicants from outside the Nordic countries:

Are you an international applicant? Read more here.

Application is carried out via the online application system Søknadsweb.

Application Deadlines

  • Applicants from Norway or Nordic countries: April 15th for admission to the autumn semester and November 1st for admission to the spring semester.
  • Applicants from outside the Nordic countries: for autumn semester admission, December 1st.

Grant Opportunities:

The Quota Scholarship Scheme is a funding scheme sponsored by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, providing students from certain developing countries in the South, Eastern European and Central Asian countries with full sponsorship for the period of their Master's studies in Norway.


Academic level: Master


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.

Qualification: Master of Science

Occupations (not validated):
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