866 Alpine Ecology and Environmental Management, one-year programme


Approximately one third of mainland Norway lies above the forest limit; here we mainly find alpine ecosystems. Alpine areas have been an important resource for Norwegian people for thousands of years, and the first men probably followed the reindeer herds that followed the retreating ice during deglaciation. Later when the inhabitants became farmers, use of the alpine regions were also very important as pastures for the lifestock and for outfarming. This tradition remained for hundreds of years, but after World War II the use of alpine areas has decreased strongly. The alpine areas, both in Norway and globally, are increasingly exposed to different types of environmental impacts which in time may change the alpine ecosystems. As a result of this, combined with the effects of global warming, changes in the alpine ecosystems have occurred/been occurring. Norway has the largest population of wild reindeer, and their management is especially important. Therefore management strategies have to be implemented for different alpine species and ecosystems. Information about endangered species and biotopes occurring in alpine areas and possible threats to their existence is imperative. Increased use of the alpine areas for recreation (tourism) may also represent a challenge for the management of alpine ecosystems and vulnerable animal populations. Environmental management is also to make use of the available resources of an area. Geological resources include geology and landforms as a background for the life and as tourist attractions, gravel and stone as important resources for constructions, and ground water as drinking water and heat supply for houses and cabins. Due to a changing hydrology landslides are getting more frequent in these Norway.

Target Group and Admission Requirements

Foreign (primarily from partner institutions) and Norwegian students with relevant backgrounds who want to acquire deeper knowledge about alpine ecosystems and environmental management in general and Scandinavian alpine areas in particular. Admission requirements are two years of studies at university level in the fields of Basic Biology, Ecology and/or Geography. Good command of English is required, and in some cases it may be necessary to submit documentation of sufficient English skills. Basic knowledge in statistics is also assumed.

Aim of the Programme

The main aims of this program is to provide the students with deeper insight into ecological, environmental and conservation issues with main emphasis on Scandinavian mountain areas. This will give the students a basis for further studies at the bachelor and master levels in ecology. Students learn about the alpine ecosystems in Scandinavia and their relation to the environment. Effects of different types of human impact e.g. decreasing traditional use, new constructions (roads and new cabins) and increasing tourism will also be outlined. The courses in this program include mainly biology (botany and zoology), climatology, freshwater ecology, geology, and hydrogeology. Field courses are important parts of the program, and the students will learn to identify common alpine plants and animals and geological and hydrogeological fieldwork. Practical training in sampling of field data is also included, and the sampled data will be analyzed in laboratory classes.

Learning outcome

Students attending the full 1 year study program should receive the following learning outcome:


The candidates will have both general and specific knowledge about important living organisms in alpine areas, their distribution, relation to the environment and possible need for active management implementation.


Be able to identify common alpine living organisms

Be able to sample ecological or geological data in the field, and perform necessary data analyses.

Be able to propose conservation and management strategies for a certain area.

Be able to evaluate an area as a potential site for ecotourism and also possible negative impacts of such activity.

General competence:

Be able to present results from scientific studies to an audience, both orally and in written form.

Be able to carry out varied advanced assignments and projects

Curriculum and structure

Alpine Ecology and Environmental Management, one-year programme
Code Course title Credits O/V *) Credits pr. semester
  S1(A) S2(V)
4501 Alpine Ecology 10.00 O 10  
4502 Alpine Biodiversity and Climatic Change 10.00 O 10  
4311 Ecological Methods 10.00 V 10  
4507 Ecotourism Theories and Concepts 10.00 V 10  
2617 Introducing Norwegian Language 5.00 V 5  
2601 Norwegian Language: Intermediate Level 10.00 V 10  
2609 Norwegian Language: Advanced level 10.00 V 10  
4505 Conservation Biology 10.00 O   10
4324 Georesources and Groundwater 10.00 O    
4209 Project Assignment 10.00 V   10
6027 Sustainability Management 7.50 V   7,5
6044 Tourism and the Environment 7.50 V   7,5
2617 Introducing Norwegian Language 5.00 V   5
Total: 30 30
*) O - Mandatory course, V - Optional course

Minor adjustments may occur during the academic year, subject to the decision of the Dean. Elective courses may vary from one academic year to another.

Master students are given priority if many students want to study the the elective MSc courses offered in the programme.

The study program has two mandatory courses and one elective cours in each semester.


This is an international study program which admits Norwegian students and students from partner institutions from all over the world.

Teaching and Learning Methods

Lectures, excursions, laboratory courses, seminars with student presentations, mandatory reports and papers. The excursions and laboratory courses are mandatory.

Assessment Methods

Individual written exams, group project (reports)

Minor adjustments may occur during the academic year, subject to the decision of the Dean

Publisert av / forfatter Arvid Odland <Arvid.OdlandSPAMFILTER@hit.no>, last modified Anette Norheim Fredly - 29/08/2012