Courses / University of Washington

Exploration Seminar to Greenland / Denmark

Below is information about the Exploration Seminar to Greenland and Denmark offered from 15 August – 10 September 2018. This is listed as Earth and Space Sciences Greenland and Denmark: Ice and climate-change science and societal response.

This course provides 5 NW credits as ESS 402, included in the course fee, and will be cross-listed with Arctic Studies to provide 5 units of ARCTIC 387 if that is preferred.

Course fee listed reflects a significant reduction in cost due to generous support from the Scan|Design Foundation. A summer fellowship of $3,500 has already been applied to reduce the program fee for each student to the amount listed with UW Study Abroad. We are thrilled to have this partnership and offer this distinct opportunity.

Basic itinerary includes:

August 15: Meet in Copenhagen, Denmark
August 17: Fly from Copenhagen to Kangerlussuaq and then to Ilulissat on Air Greenland
August 17 – 24: Explore around Ilulissat, lessons in ice and climate, Arctic history, and includes boat tours in icy fjord and to nearby glaciers, as well as hiking in this area that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
August 24: Take the Diskoline ferry from Ilulissat to Aasiaat
August 26: Take the Arctic Umiaq Line from Aasiaat to Nuuk
August 28 – 1 September: Stay in the capital city Nuuk learning about government, history, and scientific research in Greenland
1-4 September: Fly from Nuuk to Kangerlussuaq on Air Greenland and spend the time hiking near Kangerlussuaq and onto the Greenland ice sheet margin
4 September: Fly from Kangerlussuaq to Copenhagen on Air Greenland
4-10 September: Spend this time in beautiful Copenhagen learning more about ice-core science, renewable energy, and Greeland-Denmark relations through active engagement at sites and with experts

The course focus is based on physical science, but the destinations and experiences will be rich in exposure and education in culture, history, and policy. The academic motivation is for students to understand how the Greenland Ice Sheet is changing due to climate change, how this affects people in Greenland and around the world, and how Denmark is leading scientific efforts to understand these changes and political efforts to mitigate these changes. Since no roads connect towns and cities in Greenland, we will go by plane and ferry to locations that will span smaller towns, stunning natural environments, and the country’s capitol city. We will hike on the Greenland ice sheet, tour the iceberg-choked fjords, and learn from Copenhagen how it is one of the world’s most desirable places to live and one of the most sustainable cities.

For the participants I have linked documents with more information. These are still being updated but are made available for planning — please take note of the version and look for notices of any updates!

Detailed itinerary

Packing list


Book list

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page

Optional follow-on seminar offered during Fall quarter [ information to come ]


Some additional links:

Copenhagen Downtown Hostel
Danish Arctic Institute
Greenland Perspective
Ilulissat Hostel
Ilulissat Icefjord
Knud Rasmussen
Eqi Glacier tour
Pisiffik (major grocery store chain in Greenland; website in Greenlandic and Danish)
Diskoline ferry
Aasiaat Seaman’s Home
Aasiaat tourist office
Arctic Umiaq Line
Inuk Hostel
National Museum and Archive of Greenland
Inuit Circumpolar Council
University of Greenland
Greenland Institute of Natural Resources
Kataq Cultural Center
Greenland Parliament
Kangerlussuaq Internataionl Science Support
Greenlandic House in Copenhagen
Greenland Representation in Copenhagen
Danish Institute for Study Abroad
Middelgrunden Wind Farm Cooperative and Wikipedia page



UW Study Abroad has an online information requirement and is also available to answer your general questions.

One of the biggest constraints is that I will be leaving Seattle on May 12 to spend three months in Iceland before the Greenland/Denmark class. I will be available remotely (email, Skype) and John Christian (TA) will be available in person through Spring quarter and some time into summer for any necessary in-person matters. The instructors and UW Study Abroad will work with you to make sure you are prepared for the experience!

You need to attend a pre-departure meeting! Session 1 and Session 2 will cover course logistics and course structure, as well as provide a chance to meet other students and answer your questions. There will be Study Abroad specific information shared from 4:30-4:45pm during the April 23 session. This is the only time this information can be shared in person but I will post to website and you can correspond with Study Abroad as needed. Session 3 will provide more background on the places and introduction to course content, as well as offer more time for all of us to exchange and answer remaining questions. I will make this information available on the website.

Session 1: Monday April 23 from 4:30 – 6pm, Schmitz Hall 450

Session 2: Wednesday April 25 from 9 – 10am, Johnson Hall 377A (Quaternary Research Center Library)

Session 3: Wednesday May 2 from 4 – 5:30pm, Schmitz Hall 450

Please try to make it to at least one of these sessions, or the part of the session(s) that work with your schedule.

If you cannot make any sessions and have not yet let me know your schedule constraints, please reach out to arrange a separate time to meet.

If you have questions or concerns that you think relate only to you, please feel free to contact me outside of the sessions.

If you have time-sensitive questions that cannot wait until the first information sessions please let me know.

There will be time at the end of the meetings for you to ask specific / personal questions, and anything discussed that is broadly relevant will be included in a list of FAQ.

When you make your travel plans please fill in the details in this planning sheet