Arctic Semester at DTU in Greenland - for graduate students

The Arctic Semester is aimed at graduate students who wish to increase their knowledge of engineering in cold regions while studying a semester in Greenland.

DTU Arctic Semester in Sisimiut, Greenland

The Arctic Semester takes place at DTU's campus in Sisimiut and is offered once a year in the spring semester. The Arctic Semester can be included in a number of DTU's master's programs and is also open to students from other universities.

The language of the education is English.

Extreme Engineering

Why go all the way to Greenland? Because it is exciting and rewarding – both from a strictly learning point of view and from a life experience point of view.

Many places in the world engineers work under extreme conditions. It could be an extreme climate: very cold or hot, very humid or dry. It could be an extreme physical environment: rough mountains or soft ground. It could be extreme logistics: Isolated settlement without infrastructure or remote areas with difficult access.

Common for those conditions is that you work under abnormal conditions; you cannot use standard methods and procedures. You have to adapt to the extreme condition or develop new methods and procedures.

The Arctic Semester is an opportunity for you to experience the unique environment and the challenges of extreme engineering north of the Arctic Circle:

  • How to design buildings able to withstand strong forces from heavy snow load and extreme gales, and how to design comfortable indoor climate in an energy efficient way in a harsh climate.
  • How to construct on unstable permafrost or harbors in icy waters, and how to blast tunnels in old cracking rock for hydroelectric plants or mines.
  • How to treat wastewater and solid waste in remote locations
  • How to manage the logistics in remote areas with a sparsely population and very limited access.

Greenland has it all. If you can engineer in Greenland, you can engineer everywhere.

The Arctic Semester is part of the curriculum for the Master of Science in Civil Engineering, Architectural Engineering and Environmental Engineering at DTU.

The semester is also part of the Nordic Master in Cold Climate Engineering. Students from these programs have first priority for the seats in the semester.

But you can also attend the semester as an international exchange semester or other DTU programs.

The Arctic Semester is 18 weeks in the spring following a compulsory safety/introduction course starting in DTU's winter holiday. Dates for 2025: 27.01 – approx. 30.06. 

You arrive in the middle of the winter, when the sun has returned, but the ground still covered with heavy snow and all lakes frozen over, so you can experience the different life of an Arctic city during the winter. Then you experience the spring with water from melting snow everywhere, and you stay until the short summer arrives, so you will be able to investigate the geological features of the mountains and do fieldwork.

The semester consists of two parts: The three courses 41882, 30857 and 12859 (each course 3 weeks, in total 9 weeks until April) and one of the two final courses 41881 or 12854 (9 weeks from April to June), depending on your study line and interests.

Course 41882 The Arctic Infrastructure & Society introduces you to the Arctic way of living, and leads you further into the special challenges of the Arctic infrastructure.
Course 30857 Extreme Climate & the Physical Nature introduces you to the Arctic geography, nature, climate and geology, so you have the necessary preconditions for Arctic studies.
Course 12859 Environmental Engineering in the Arctic deals with securing clean water and getting rid of waste water and solid waste in a sustainable way under difficult circumstances.
Course 41881
Sustainable Building in Extreme Environments deals with designing buildings with good indoor climate for harsh climate with strong loads and hostile environment.
Course 12854

Infrastructure Constructions in the Arctic deals with the infrastructure necessary for building industrial plants in remote areas.

41881 & 12854 will be project oriented courses with much field work, where it will be possible for you to focus on topics relevant to your line of study.

For more detailed information about each course, please visit DTU's Course Base and insert the relevant course number from the list above.


For DTU students

You apply for enrollment by filling out the application form in the link below  before 1 October 2024.

For exchange students

You apply for enrollment for the Arctic Semester by filling out the application form in the link above before 1 October 2024

The Arctic Semester is part of the curriculum for the Master of Science in Civil Engineering, Architectural Engineering and Environmental Engineering at DTU. The semester is also part of the Nordic Master in Cold Climate Engineering. Students from these programs have first priority for the seats in the semester.

Students with other relevant backgrounds can also apply, but should be aware that some extracurricular work can be expected prior to the courses 41881/12854 to fulfill the course requirements.

We recommend that students apply for the entire semester. However, it is also possible to follow the first part of the semester (courses 41882, 30857, and 12859) or the last part (course 41881 or 12854). Only students from BEng Arctic Civil Engineering and Nordic Master in Cold Climate Engineering –Space track are allowed to take single courses in the first part of the semester.

The first courses could be taken by DTU bachelor students on the last semester e.g. in combination with their bachelor's thesis.

If you live and work in Greenland or other Arctic countries and are an EU/EEA citizen, you can take the courses individually under Open University, if seats are available.

There is a limited number of seats for the semester, depending on physical space at Arctic DTU Campus Sisimiut. Full-semester students have first priority, followed by MSc students and then BSc students.

Fees and tuition

Tuition is free for students from universities with a bilateral student exchange agreement with DTU
For students from universities without a  bilateral student exchange agreement with DTU the following rules apply: EU/EEA students can enroll through Open University and pay fees, for non-EU/EEA citizens, you’ll need a permanent residence permit for Denmark to apply for the courses through Open University and pay fees. 

More information about fees and how to pay them are found here.


Deadline for application is 1 October 2024.

Greenland is not a part of EU/EEA, neither is in a Schengen zone. This means that there are special rules regarding your stay in Greenland. You should make sure that you follow the rules and prepare your trip well in advance.

Nordic citizens

Citizens of Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Iceland are free to enter, reside, study and work in Greenland. You can enter the country without a passport, but you should always keep an identity document with you.

EU/EEA citizens

EU/EEA citizens are obliged to apply for a Greenlandic residence permit for studies if they are going to stay in Greenland for study purposes lasting more than 90 days. This is relevant for both Exchange students and MSc students.

NON EU/EEA citizens

NON EU/EEA citizens are required to apply for a residence permit for studies if they want to study in Greenland. Please note that a Danish residence permit does not give you the right to enter Greenland.

DTU will initiate the residence permit for studies process for the students of the Arctic Semester. The processing time is usually 60 working days/3 months from when SIRI has received all the necessary information. It is the student’s own responsibility to make sure that all documentation is in place and apply in due time.

See the exact information from SIRI about the application process here

Arctic DTU Campus in the winter
Arctic DTU Campus in Sisimiut is located in a building owned by Tech College Greenland (KTI).

Sisimiut is situated just north of the Arctic Circle and is Greenland’s second-largest town with around 5,600 inhabitants. Sisimiut is ideally situated for experiencing the Arctic. Although it’s Greenland’s second largest city, it’s a small city so you can easily get around. On the other hand, it’s a self-sustained city with all the facilities you need to visit in order to understand the running of an Arctic city.
Apisseq dormitory.
Apisseq dormitory © Tom Siegemund
Accommodation is provided at a fully equipped dormitory room, preferably the engineering dormitory Apisseq, in Sisimiut at a cost of approximately 1,000 DKK/month. You do not need to apply for a dormitory room separately, we will provide you with a dormitory room when you apply to the semester.

However, if you follow only a single course under Open University, accommodation at the dormitory can only be provided if extra rooms are available.

The round trip air fare from Copenhagen to Sisimiut is approximately 8000 DKK.


Asmus Skar

Asmus Skar Associate Professor Department of Environmental and Resource Engineering Phone: +45 45251807