Professional master's program in Marine Innovation

General information

The professional master's program in Marine Innovation is an unconventional program offered in cooperation with the University of Akureyri and the Innovation Centre Iceland, where students learn to make a job instead of taking one. The program gives students insight into coastal and marine issues and the nature and conditions of starting and running an innovative micro-business. 

Marine Innovation is a practical, personalised master’s degree in the field of innovation. The program unites professional disciplines and innovation through its course selection and the development of a personal innovation project. The program is based primarily on input and methods of innovation studies and by the end students are well acquainted with the nature of innovation and its requirements and have strengthened their professional background through a related project. They have acquired the skills needed to implement and lead projects in the field of marine innovation and can take responsibility for the work of individuals and groups. The teaching schedule  is personalised. Students are generally expected to have good knowledge of both English and Icelandic in order to take advantage of all aspects the program has to offer. The program is offered by the University Centre of the Westfjords in Ísafjörður, in co-operation with the University of Akureyri and the Icelandic Innovation Centre. Program courses are taught in Ísafjörður and elsewhere in the Westfjords, while the range of courses offered by the network of Icelandic public universities, and other universities, is also utilised by the program.

Each student designs an individually-tailored plan of study, combining courses in their professional field and business management courses with the respective innovative project. Students work closely with the Innovation Centre Iceland and the Westfjords economy. Because the program is individually structured the number of students is limited. 

Program organisation. 
The program is 90 ECTS and takes three terms, full-time. In most cases it begins in the autumn term. Flexibility on this is possible in collaboration with instructors and with the Master’s  program committee approval. The program is organised as 45 ECTS in courses and 45 ECTS in the form of a practical innovation project. Students are asked to note that the workload per week for each ECTS is expected to be about 25-30 hours.

At the beginning of the program, each student is appointed two personal advisors: one from the Innovation Centre and an academic advisor. It is possible to swap instructors in co-operation with all stakeholders, if the focus of the innovation project changes. The student creates a teaching schedule with the advisors and the University Centre Director of Education and Teaching. Each schedule takes previous education and the student’s innovation idea into account. At the same time, the schedule must ensure all learning outcomes are met. The Director of Education and Teaching supervises the teaching schedules and ensures they are followed. The Master’s program committee must approve all teaching schedules, and changes made to them.

No compulsory core courses in the program are anticipated, as students will have diverse backgrounds, student numbers will be low and the group will be marked by the number of very different innovation project ideas. At least 15 ECTS must be courses in the student’s professional sphere of interest and are available locally at the University Centre, through University of Akureyri and/or through the network of public universities in Iceland. At least 15 ECTS must be courses in innovation/entrepreneurship and business, available for distance learning at the University of Akureyri, locally at the University Centre and/or through the network of public universities. Rough drafts of personalised teaching schedules should be compiled before study starts, but will be reviewed at the end of each semester in accordance with the learning progress and the development of the innovation project.

Courses and teaching schedules should aim to increase knowledge, skills and the student's ability to successfully tackle their innovation project. Generally, the student does not need to take the same sort of courses he/she may have taken at the undergraduate level or through other studies. If a student wishes to have an external course assessed for inclusion in the program, it must be at a master’s level or equivalent, and must meet the learning outcomes of the study and cannot be part of a degree the student has already graduated from.

Upon graduation, students are well prepared to bring their own ideas into practice, either through starting new companies or within existing businesses. The training that students receive in the program can also be used in a wide range of companies and institutions, for example in various project management. The program is good preparation for the constantly changing labour market which demands independent work and imagination.

The Master’s program committee shall adopt detailed rules for the evaluation of courses and learning plans, including evaluation of courses taken at a bachelor level.

Students graduate from the University of Akureyri with a master’s degree (90 ECTS) in Marine Innovation.

Study plan
The programme constitutes of 45 ECTS course work and 45 ECTS of practical innovation project. Given the foreseeable broad variety of students, backgrounds and projects, as well as the small numbers annually, the study plan does not build on core courses. At least 15 ECTS shall be courses that are content-related to the innovation-project. At least 15 ECTS shall be courses from the field of innovation studies, entrepreneurial studies, business and economics. 

Course on Offer. The University Centre of the Westfjords, in collaboration with the University of Akureyri and the co-operative network of Icelandic public universities, can offer many courses directly connected to innovation projects that can help students to implement their own ideas. 

The following courses are available through distance learning or taught on-site in modules. Students prepare their own schedule alongside their advisors and the Director of Education and Teaching. Schedules take into account the students’ innovation project, previous education and experience. The nature of the program means that the following list can never be exhaustive, especially when courses professionally related to the innovation project are concerned. Students and instructors are therefore encouraged to keep their eyes open for other external courses, though they do need to be approved by the Master’s program committee. It should be noted that students may need to pay fees and other costs for external courses, when relevant.

The below listed courses are both at the master’s level and the bachelor level. Please note that specific rules apply to the number of ECTS points available at a bachelor level.

Arctic Blue Scenarios – The Future of Blue Innovation. This is a one day seminar on how future change may affect our Arctic marine innovation ideas and developments. We explore how linking innovation and foresight methods can help to get insights into the future of our businesses and our society.

Innovation Projects. Marine innovation is a broad concept and has a place in many industries, such as fisheries and aquaculture, food processing, energy production and high-tech industries. Such innovation is not least to be found in the tourism industry and diverse cultural fields.

Students apply for the program with a specific innovation project in mind, though it is normal for ideas to develop in the course of study.

Here are some examples of innovation projects:

• Marketing wild shellfish
• Production and marketing of goods from fish skin
• Formation of co-operation cluster and marketing of marine tourism in the designated area

Learning outcome:

Upon completing the program students will have acquired knowledge of the nature and conditions of innovation while furthering their knowledge in their profession in relation to their innovation project. They will have adopted the skills necessary to start and manage a project in the field of marine innovation and will be able to take responsibility for the work of individuals and groups.

Contact Person: Kristín Ósk Jónasdóttir (Director of education and teaching) (


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

0831 - Fisheries", "0031 - Project management", "0311 - Maritime economy", "0712 - Environmental protection technology", "1015 - Coastal and marine tourism


Venue: The University Centre of the Westfjords
Ísafjörður, Iceland



The annual registration fee for Coastal and Marine Management at the University Centre of the Westfjords is ISK 150,000 for Icelandic students and those from other EEA/EU countries, and for those who come from countries outside the EEA the registration is ISK 300,000.

The annual fee is collected for each academic year and should be paid by July 30 each year before the coming academic year begins. Students pay the annual fee after they receive a letter of admission.

Registration fees should be directed to the following bank account in EUR:

Account Name : Haskolasetur Vestfjarda
Account Number : 0154-38-710068
Account Address : Sudurgata 12, 400 Isafjordur, Iceland
Swift number: NBIIISRE 
IBAN Number : IS98 0154 3871 0068 6107 0502 20
Bank name: NBI hf
Bank address: Austurstræti 11, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland

It is also possible to pay the annual registration fee by credit card or in USD/CAD. For further information please contact Kristín Ósk Jónasdóttir,

Registration fees are charged for each academic year and shall be paid in full by 30thJune each year for the next academic year.

Right to education
Students who do not pay the registration fee on time are deemed to have forfeited their right to study or pursue further studies at the University Centre. A student is deemed not to be enrolled until he/she has paid the registration fee.
The registration fee is non-refundable. In exceptional circumstances, however, a student may apply for a refund of tuition fees, but only in exceptional circumstances such as serious illness. Each case is assessed individually. Any student applying for a refund must do so by submitting a written request to the Director of Education and Teaching were the reasons for the request are explained and relevant certificates and documents are submitted. If a refund is approved, the student never gets repaid more than half of the registration fee.


To be accepted to the Marine Innovation program applicants must have completed bachelor’s level university study, regardless of whether BA, BSc or BEd. The master’s committee applies further rules on entrance and the maximum number of students. Students submit an application form and must also each submit a cover letter in which they say a bit about themselves, their circumstances, why they want to enroll in this particular program and what expectations they have of it. The application must also include an introduction to the innovation project the student wishes to pursue alongside the courses. It is normal for the project and its implementation to develop as the program progresses.

The teaching schedule is personally tailored to each student. It is anticipated that students should have good knowledge of Icelandic and English in order to take full advantage of all that the program has to offer.

The prerequisite for admission to the program is completion of an undergraduate university degree

Language skills: The program is designed for students with good command on Icelandic and English. It is assumed that applicants from Iceland, the Scandinavian countries, English-speaking countries, and from universities where all teaching takes place in English will have satisfactory English skills and knowledge. Other applicants must demonstrate that their English ability is sufficient by submitting TOEFL scores or results from other equivalent tests. 

Students with no/little command of Icelandic or English: As the study plan is tailor-made for each student, students can apply for special treatment. However, the learning outcomes, the availability of courses as well as the University Centre's administrative capacity might set restrictions.

Application Procedure:

Ready to Apply?

Please be aware that your application will not be processed until all required documentation has been received. 

  1. Official evidence of previous education as well as academic records in the form of certified transcripts.
  2. Curriculum Vitae.
  3. References from at least two people.
  4. Certification of English Language proficiency (if applicable).
  5. Application form

Further queries about the master’s degree in Coastal and Marine Management can be sent to


Academic level: Master

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