The Changing Arctic

 After taking this course you will have an understanding of Arctic landscapes, how they were formed and how they are changing. You will also learn how scientists from countries around the North are working together to understand how these changes will affect vegetation, wildlife, the People of the North and the global community. You will experience a range of scientific topics, with up-to-date information on processes that will affect our future climate and the planet we share. We will discuss how the future Arctic environment will pose both challenges and opportunities to different sectors of the global community.

After completing this course learners will be able to value the Arctic, to think globally about our life and our responsibility to future generations.



  1. What is the Arctic, where is it and why should we be interested in it?
  2. Changing landforms: the legacy of glaciers and permafrost
  3. Permafrost and its effects
  4. Snow and ice
  5. Land-atmosphere linkages
  6. Life on cold lands
  7. Life in cold waters
  8. The People of the Arctic
  9. The global Community affected by the changing Arctic
  10. What can we do to understand the changes and their consequences

Needed Learner Background

No prior knowledge is needed for this course; participants should only come equipped with natural curiosity and a willingness to invest time in understanding an environmental issue of global concern. The terms and concepts are targeted at an educated public, 16-18 year-old school students and undergraduates, but not specialists. Resources will be provided so those who are motivated to explore some issues in greater depth. 

Target Audience

General interest

Lower division undergraduate

Upper division undergraduate

Earn a Course Certificate

When you successfully complete your course, you’ll receive an electronic Course Certificate issued by the University and Coursera.

Course Certificates can enhance anyone’s lifelong education. Use your Course Certificate to help you to find a better job, gain valuable credentials, or build on what you already know. Many students list their accomplishment on their résumés/CVs and include it on social media/career profile profiles.

Terms and Conditions

The course is free. To access full course content, you’ll need to register on the platform Coursera and to enroll in the course. The course is always open, and yo’'ll be able to start as soon as you enroll.

Course Instructor

Distinguished Research Professor and Member, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Professor of Arctic Ecology, University of Sheffield, UK, Professor of Botany, Tomsk State University, Coordinator of the INTERACT Network of Arctic Terrestrial Research Stations, Honorary Doctor of the Universities of Lund (Sweden), Oulu (Finland) and Tomsk State, (Russia), Recipient of the Polar Medal (UK),the Vega Medal (Sweden) and joint recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize