Exchange stay attracts Arctic Civil Engineering students

Friday 04 Jun 21

Contact

Pernille Erland Jensen
Associate Professor
DTU Civil Engineering
+45 93 51 09 69

BEng programme in Arctic Civil Engineering

The BEng programme in Arctic Civil Engineering is offered by DTU in collaboration with the Government of Greenland. The study programme provides students with engineering competences in building, construction, energy, environment, and infrastructure adapted to Arctic conditions. The study programme takes place partly on DTU’s campus in Greenland, Arctic DTU Sisimiut, which is run in collaboration with Tech College Greenland (KTI), and partly in Denmark on DTU’s campuses in Ballerup and Lyngby.

Read more about the study programme

Admission requirements

You can apply for admission to the BEng programme in Arctic Civil Engineering if you have a General Upper Secondary School Leaving Certificate or have completed a relevant vocational education programme or if you have two years of vocational experience and have completed the 1-year Qualifying Education programme. DTU offers the Qualifying Education programme, which you can take in Sisimiut, Ballerup, Lyngby, and Næstved. Here you can also take supplementary courses if you lack specific qualifying subjects. The next application deadline for quota 1 is 5 July at 12 noon (Danish time).

Read more about the Qualifying Education programme

While many students have had to drop their plans for an exchange stay during the coronavirus pandemic, BEng student Poul-Erik Siegstad is on an exchange stay on Svalbard.

Poul-Erik Siegstad (32) is studying for a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) in Arctic Civil Engineering at DTU. He is on his 6th semester, where he has chosen to go on an exchange stay at the world’s northernmost university—UNIS on Svalbard—a Norwegian Arctic archipelago located midway between the mainland of Norway and the North Pole.

As many as 90 per cent of the students enrolled in the Arctic Civil Engineering study programme choose to go on an exchange stay abroad, for example in Norway or Canada. This was also a clear wish for Poul-Erik—born and raised in Greenland—and he is pleased that it was possible for him to come to UNIS on Svalbard despite the coronavirus situation. Here Poul-Erik studies ‘frozen ground engineering’, among other subjects.

"I want to examine building customs in the Arctic neighbouring countries to gather experience and knowledge that I can use in Greenland."
Engineering student Poul-Erik Siegstad

“I want to examine building customs in the Arctic neighbouring countries to gather experience and knowledge that I can use in Greenland. That’s why I chose an exchange stay on Svalbard. I thought it would be interesting to see how they build on permafrost. For example, I’ve seen how they make foundations in a completely different way here than what I’ve seen in Greenland, including with pile foundations,” he says, and adds that, next semester, he hopes to get an internship with an engineering firm on Iceland.

Originally trained carpenter

For Poul-Erik, it is important to gain experience from other Arctic countries, because he already has in-depth knowledge about construction in Greenland. He was originally trained as a carpenter and worked for seven years with various carpentry contractors in Ilulissat, Sisimiut, and Qaqortoq before choosing to enrol in a higher education study programme.

In fact, he has always wanted to become an engineer, but he did not think that it was possible without a General Upper Secondary School Leaving Certificate. At some point, however, he examined what the admission requirements were for studying to become an engineer.

“It turned out that I could take the Qualifying Education programme in Sisimiut. I was really happy about that,” says Poul-Erik, who took the 1-year Qualifying Education programme in 2017, and directly afterwards started on the Arctic Civil Engineering programme. On the Qualifying Education programme, students take the subjects of physics, chemistry, mathematics, and English at the levels that qualify them for admission to the BEng programmes.

The network follows suit

The BEng programme in Arctic Civil Engineering takes a total of four years. The first year and a half takes place at DTU’s campus in Sisimiut, after which the next part of the study programme is done at DTU in Denmark. Poul-Erik finds that it is a huge advantage that the study programme starts in Greenland.

“I would say to everyone in Greenland who’re considering becoming an engineer: Take this study programme! You start in the familiar surroundings of Greenland, where you get to know new people, and you then all go together to the next part of the study programme in Denmark,” says Poul-Erik.

An internship is a mandatory part of the Arctic Civil Engineering programme, and many students get a place with an engineering firm or a public authority in Greenland. It is also possible to take the final semester in Greenland.

Good job opportunities

Poul-Erik is aiming for a job as an engineer in Greenland when he has completed his study programme in a year’s time. And here there are good job opportunities. According to Pernille Erland Jensen, Head of Studies for Arctic Civil Engineering, there is a shortage of engineers in Greenland, while the building sector is booming. She experiences that many of the graduates have a job on hand already before they have completed their study programme.

DTU’s study programmes with an Arctic profile

  • Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) in Arctic Civil Engineering
  • Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) in Fisheries Technology
  • The Arctic Semester Nordic Master in Cold Climate Engineering
  • Arctic Mineral Resources

Find out more about study programmes with an Arctic profile

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