Association of Polar Early Career Scientists


Grad Programme Card

Graduate Programmes

Master Arctic Studies

This diploma of advanced Arctic studies, new in France and Europe, offers two fields of specialisation (special mention): science and technology, as well as  human and social science. All students follow pluridisciplinary core courses. Classes are taught in English, except for the intensive training programme at the beginning of the academic year (forst two weeks of September) in French as a foreign language and the French language module.

The aim of this programme consists in contributing to the training of future Arctic decisionmakers and to offer French, European and other students specialised knowledge of a key region that plays a key role in global geopolitics and which is destined to experience an increasingly dynamic economic development in the years to come, a period of major change that also represents a number of important problems. The programme is pluridisciplinary since one simply cannot seize what is at stake in the Arctic, nor act in the Arctic without an integrated approach. The relationship between man and his environment has to be notably born in mind at any moment, hence the importance of a set of core courses that reflects the various subjects and fields of the research centers of the Observatoire de Versailles Saint-Quentin : IFREA (French Institute of Arctic Research and Studies), LATMOS (Laboratory Atmosphere, Milieux and Observation of Space), LSCE (Laboratory for Climate and Environment Science), REEDS (Research laboratory in ecological economics and sustainable development engineering). 

The major problems of the Arctic today and tomorrow are looked at while basing oneself on sound knowledge of the past. The core courses taken by all students cover the following disciplines: climate and environmental science, atmosphere and observation of space, economics and governance, human and social science, intercultural studies as well as a course on French language and culture for non Francophones.

 Students write either a long research paper in the form of a dissertation in English or follow a training programme on which they will produce a detailed report. Both the dissertation and the report are defended during a viva that helps the student to define a professional project and career perspectives.

A personal project can be validated within the module « group project » and may cover various areas of interest: creative writing; art work and film, portfolio etc.  The group project is defined by the students themselves.

The aim of the Master is twofold: help future decisionmakers and facilitators working in the Arctic or in relation to the Arctic to develop tools for integrated analyses thanks to in-depth knowledge of the fragile balance between ecosystems and the human ecology of the Arctic. At the same time, the Master is designed to provide students interested in research with the opportunity to develop a project that will be pursued in the form of a doctoral dissertation after the validation of the Master. Such Phd work may be co-directed with one of our international partners. We thereby hope to encourage a new generation of researchers with a heightened, pluridisciplinary awareness and expertise to emerge in the Arctic, Europe, and elsewhere.

Students also follow a short training programme in spatial observation at the Observatory of Upper Provence, in the south of France. The programme lasts for three days and is run by four colleagues. It is followed by a day of observation on an archeological site and another day on a geological site.

 The tutoring system will offer students the possibility of following a professional training programme for several weeks in a variety of fields and in relation to their own professional project. Internationally recognized specialists such as Professor Jean Malaurie, Director of studies at the prestigious Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and Honorary President of the Institut français de recherches et d’études arctiques at the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, will also teach in the programme.

The organisation of studies will offer a special schedule that will allow to accomodate training prorammes and field trips (Ethnological Museums of Paris and Berlin, for example).  

Université de Versailles
Guyancourt (Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines)

Conditions of admission

M2 :Conditions of admission

M2 :Bachelor degree (four-year programme)

Master degree, MBA (Equis), PhD

Candidates must be fluent in English. Their professional project has to be in coherence with the Master programme.

CONTACT : Professor Jan Borm, Director of the French Institute of Arctic Research and Studies: <>;


2 semesters
Arctic studies, science and technology, human and social science

The program’s components

The "Arctic Studies" master is original in covering all the major fields of interest of this special region. The programme covers the entire spectrum of relations between education, research, commercial and industrial activity, governance, society and intercultural mediation to favour sustainable and acceptable development of the Arctic which requires an integrated approach.

The master offers three complimentary fields of competence :

- studies in all of the major areas essential for decision making: environmental and natural science as well as technology, economics and governance, geopolitical aspects and questions of law, Arctic societies and their culture;

-scientific competence therefore reinforced by intercultural competence that will allow students to act as experts and facilitators but also councilors and consulting agents

 - an international dimension with courses in English and colleagues of international reputation from various sectors (academics, administrators, politicians, industry…), as well as students from the Arctic and different parts of the world.

Pedagogical priorities:

- active pedagogy involving simulation of real situations (companies, project planning, conceptual workshops, brainstorming), lectures and encounters with professionals;

- training in analysis and action: students are tutored by a colleague from the OVSQ and a professional from outside; students also work on a group project defined by the group;

- training in academic and scientific domains that allows students to understand the major problems in the Arctic and research topics in Arctic Studies.

Skills acquired

The Artic Studies programme trains decision makers capable of piloting the process of expertise, facilitation and governance by relying on a method of eco-efficiency and global performance (environmental, economic, social and societal), of identifying and erasing obstacles to a respectful development of ecosystems and human ecology in an Arctic context. The year of Arctic Studies will allow a student to develop the following fields of competence:

-piloting of a project by using specific tools and management techniques

- management of organisational change relying on a pluridisciplinary approach

- autonomous conduct of an Arctic project or enquiry

- reflect on and respect social, technical and technological aspects

- mediation of environmental knowledge, intercultural aspects, access to and distribution of knowledge ;

- economic and environnemental evaluation;

- expertise of what is at stake in the Arctic in economic, sectorial and multidisciplinary terms

- evaluation of systems of innovation, production and acquiring of knowledge

- identification and selection of opportunities: economic intelligence;

- evaluation of technological, financial, commercial and organisational risk

- management of research teams and projects of international cooperation;


The Master draws on the fields of expertise and competence of the research laboratories of the Obervatoire de Versailles Saint-Quentin at the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines and other faculties of the university, especially the Institute of Languages and International Studies.

- the following institutions and companies: the French National Parliament (l’Assemblée nationale), the Regional Coucil of Brittany (le conseil régional de Bretagne), la Principauté de Monaco, l’Institut français du pétrole, l’Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, le Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique, Ethnologisches Museum Berlin, l’agence Grand Nord Grand Large (other partnerships are currently being negotiated)

- many international universities and institutes: University of the Arctic, Arctic and Antarctic Institute Saint Petersburg (AARI, Russia), State University of Saint-Petersburg (Russia), State Polar Academy of Saint-Petersburg (Russia), University of Yakutsk (Yakoutia, Russia), Pedagogical Institute of Syktyvkar (Komi Republic, Russia), Ummannaq Polar Institute (Greenland), University of New York State at Buffalo, Alfred-Wegener-Institut Bremerhaven and Potsdam…

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