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Master’s in Polar Law announced at Iceland’s University of Akureyri


Commencing in August 2008, the University of Akureyri will be offering a Master’s Program in Polar Law. This Program is designed for both lawyers (two semesters leading to an LLM-degree) and non-lawyers (four semesters leading to an MA-degree), preparing them for work in both public and private sector, in national and local governments, international organizations, with indigenous peoples of the Circumpolar North, academic institutions and non-governmental organizations, and national and transnational corporations. The deadline for applications is June 5 for Home/EU students and April 15 for overseas students.

The Master’s Program will provide a unique focus on Polar Law. It lays emphasis on certain chapters in public international law, such as environmental law, the law of the sea, issues of sovereignty and boundary disputes on land and sea, natural resources law, rights of indigenous peoples of the North, self-determination, home rule and good governance, and land and resources claims in the circumpolar regions. The Program comes about in a timely fashion when climate change provides a dramatic impact on the Arctic and Antarctic regions; when natural resource-extracting and transportation companies acquire access to the natural riches of the continental shelf of the Arctic seas, and to the northwest and northeast passages; when current and potential boundary disputes on land and sea remain unresolved; when issues concerning the improvement of national and local governance are stepping forward on national and international agendas; and not least, when multiple threats to the environment are raising serious concerns and calling for urgent measures. The Program is also going to look at the history of the legal regime for the Antarctica and discuss whether the solutions it offers can be used in the Arctic, for instance those regarding the environmental issues.

Graduate students have the option to carry out research for a Master’s thesis. An academic expert in the relevant field of law supervises the preparation of the thesis. The research should constitute an individual and independent effort in a chosen area of specialization within Polar Law.

In connection with this Program, the University of Akureyri will work closely with the universities in Rovaniemi, T

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