St Petersburg University is justly recognized as a largest centre for exploring the Arctic. The University implements more than 200 research projects on the Arctic, and this year it will enroll on a new master programme “FOBOS”, that is “Physical Oceanography and Biological Productivity of Oceans and Seas”, with a strong emphasis on the Arctic.

Prof Evgenii Zakharchuk, head of the Department of Oceanology, director of the programme, told why it is vital to develop interdisciplinary research on the Arctic and what the programme focuses on.

“The idea of physical, chemical and biological interaction in the oceans is underpinned in the name of the programme. Master programmes, as a rule, involve a holistic approach to ocean and sea studies in the way they offer a broad perspective on climate changes, human impact on the environment, and economic crises”, — said Prof Evgenii Zakharchuk.

The programme educates and prepares students to become experts in oceanology and to follow other practices that are aligned to the ocean studies: satellite and commercial oceanology, ocean and sea ecology. The SPbU degree is distinctive in the way it combines hydrometeorology, land hydrology, geomorphology, and biology to name but a few throughout the course. The programme offers a comprehensive guide to polar oceanology. By choosing to study here students will learn about dangerous and catastrophic events in the Arctic Ocean and its seas, how to measure the ice-sheet and water dynamics in the Arctic Ocean and its seas in the global warming,  and ecological risks associated with fossil fuel development in the Arctic and others.

The programme is solution-oriented, said the director of the prgramme. “Research in oceanology is costly, and during the crises substantial financial support is impossible. Still, the ocean must be explored, and we use alternative methods: satellite data. The main skills the employers seek after are skills to grasp and process big flows of information. The programme teaches how to work with satellite archives and data bases and how to process them”, — said Evgenii Zakharchuk.

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Research on the Arctic is vital for St Petersburg University. It aims to support a complex development of the Arctic (fossil fuel exploration in particular), rational use of natural resources, and Arctic ecosystem protection. SPbU acts as an expert and a research centre bringing together the world’s leading scientists and preparing a new generation of the Arctic explorers and researchers.