Master 2 Arctic Studies

General informations:

Domain(s): Environmental land and economic sciences
Specialty: Sustainable development engineering
Recruitment level: Master 1
Length of course: 2 semesters
Faculties: OVSQ
Location: Guyancourt (Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines)
Tuition language: English (except for the intensive training program at the beginning of academic year and one module of French as a foreign language)


  • Multidisciplinary and circumpolar (unique in Europe), receive indigenous students of the Arctic (about half a dozen every year), International label "University of the Arctic" (network of universities working in/on the Arctic).
  • Collaboration with the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk (Russia)

Challenges and objectives:

The aim of the studies is to train future decision-makers and experts of a rapidly developing Arctic region which is playing a growing role in the global geopolitics. It provides students with multidisciplinary integrated analytical tools based on an in-depth understanding of the fragile balance of the Arctic’s ecosystems and human ecology. The master allows students who are considering a scientific career to develop a research project for their doctoral studies, possibly jointly supervised with one of our international partners. It aims to instruct students on key issues of the Arctic world and thus to ensure the next generation of young experts in the field of circumpolar studies.

Skills acquired:

  • Management of organizational change through a multidisciplinary approach
  • Risks management
  • Monitoring of social and technical evolutions
  • Environmental knowledge mediation
  • Economic and environmental assessment
  • Management of economic, sectorial, political and ethical issues relating to the Arctic regions and countries
  • Evaluation of systems of innovation, production and knowledge acquisition
  • Identification and selection of opportunities (economic intelligence)

Strengths and teaching methods:

  • A multidisciplinary program with a common core including climate and environmental sciences, economics and governance studies, social sciences and humanities modules, offering a specialization in science and technology or humanities
  • An international program taught entirely in English, which welcomes many foreign students with a view to developing a network of young specialists in Arctic studies
  • Study trips in France and abroad
  • A tutoring system, that allows students to do an internship in a sector relevant to their professional project
  • Possibility of following up with doctoral studies and, if relevant, with joint supervision by one of our international partners
  • Supported by research
  • Project-based education

Career perspectives:

  • Arctic sustainable development advisor/manager
  • Research fellow
  • Risk manager
  • Sustainable development engineer
  • Arctic expert
  • Industry – Research liaison officer
  • Economic intelligence officer
  • Arctic project manager for the government, a local authority, a business, or an NGO


This Master draws on the knowledge and expertise of all members of the Observatory of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en- Yvelines (OVSQ) and its many international partners:

OVSQ’s research laboratories: European Arctic Centre / CEARC, Laboratory for the Atmosphere, Milieux, and Satellite Observation /LATMOS, Laboratory for Climate and Environmental Sciences/ LSCE, Research on Ecological Economics and Sustainable Development/ REEDS, in association with other departments and units of UVSQ.

Several international universities and institutions: University of the Arctic (UArctic), University of Greenland in Nuuk, Uummannaq Polar Institute Greenland, University of Quebec in Montréal (Canada), Geophysical Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk (Russia), State Pedagogical Institute of Komi Republic (Russia), Komi Science Centre (Russia), State Polar Academy of Saint-Petersburg (Russia),  Lapland University in Rovaniemi (Finland), University of Applied Sciences in Kemi-Tornio (Finland), Institute of Northern Culture/Lapland Higher Education Consortium (LAPPIA, Finland)

List of courses:

OPTION 1 Social sciences and humanities

Field and studies: Sustainable development sciences

OPTION 2 Science and technology

Field and studies: Environmental sciences

Environmental Science - This unit presents fundamental aspects of environmental science in the Arctic, including atmospheric pollution, the ozone stratosphere and the climate

Man and the Environment – An introduction to the history of environment awareness, the history of natural resources in the Arctic and the question of environmental responsibility

Arctic Geopolitics - Geopolitical impacts of climate change in the Arctic in terms of shipping, natural resources exploitation, continental shelf claims and government policies

Risk management – An integrated view on environmental risks to which Arctic societies may be exposed

Arctic Societies – This circumpolar comparative overview of the main human issues of the Arctic today focuses on the relationship between Arctic peoples and their environment

French language and culture  - This course designed for foreign students is an introduction to French language, oral and written, as well as a panorama of French society and culture, both past and modern

Scientific writing and project conception - New methodologies for scientific writing,  project management and projects’ conception tasks

Training in Observational Methods - Three days field work at the Observatory of Upper-Provence (South France)

Cycle of lectures by external experts  - This cycle offers students exceptional lectures by international experts on subjects that complement the other units of the program

Climate and Arctic Weather - This unit examines three central themes: severe weather events in the Arctic, the consequences of climate change in the Arctic and the role of Polar Regions in comparative planetology

Governance and sustainable development – The basic concepts of governance in decision-finding procedures for issues at the human-environment interface

Arctic travel Literature  – A survey of the history of Arctic exploration narratives, narrative ethnography and travel accounts from the 16th to the 21st century

Arctic Anthropology – A Circumpolar approach (Greenland, Canada, Alaska, Siberia and Fennoscandia) – Classic and current Arctic anthropology and contribution of indigenous peoples whose traditional knowledge and viewpoints are now taken into account in research projects

Climate Change in the Arctic - Some of the themes of the unit come under closer scrutiny in this module: severe events such as polar lows and wind blasts in relation to climate change


Geology – An overview of the geology of the Arctic and circumpolar regions and an outline of the occurrences and reserves of mineral resources in the Arctic


  • OPTION 1 - Social sciences and humanities Program Coordinator: Prof. Jan Borm,
  • OPTION 2 - Science and technology Program Coordinator: Dr. Alain Sarkissian,
  • Secretarial Support : Ms Sylvie Fauveau,,​ +33(0)139255009, Office A321 (Building Alembert)


More informations on the website of Université Paris-Saclay