Regulation no. 214-2011 | University of Iceland Skip to main content

Regulation no. 214-2011

Regulation on the University of Iceland Master's and doctoral programmes in environment and natural resources, no. 214/2011


with subsequent amendments

Authorised translation

CHAPTER I.  General provisions.

Article 1.  Scope.

This Regulation applies to the Master's and doctoral programmes in environment and natural resources at the University of Iceland. These programmes are interdisciplinary and organised jointly between all schools and faculties at the University.

The Regulation on these programmes constitutes special regulation in relation to the provisions of Article 69 of the Regulation for the University of Iceland no. 569/2009, and the regulations of individual schools and faculties on postgraduate study. However, the central Regulation for the University of Iceland and the regulations of schools and faculties shall apply, where appropriate, where this Regulation does not provide for individual instances, concerning for example length of study, number of credits, the structure of studies, tutors, supervisors or opponents. The provisions of faculty regulations and the course catalogue regarding funding, available teaching staff and other such matters shall apply to all registered students.

The University of Iceland Graduate School shall oversee and follow up established standards and requirements for the quality of postgraduate studies at the University of Iceland, cf. Article 66 of Regulation no. 569/2009. Any information requested by the Graduate School must be supplied.

Article 2.  Objective.

The Master's and doctoral programmes in environment and natural resources are interdisciplinary programmes which aim to provide academic training in various fields relating to environmental issues and the use of natural resources.

These programmes must meet the needs of society concerning research, teaching, service and policy-making with regards to environmental issues and the sustainable use of natural resources, as well as increasing knowledge in these fields.

Article 3.  About the programmes.

These programmes are the responsibility of schools and faculties, organised and conducted under their authority. Schools and faculties shall adhere to this Regulation as well as to an agreement on the programmes, cf. sentence 3.

On the initiative of the school deans, an agreement shall be made on the implementation and development of the programmes. This must stipulate provisions for funding and other financial matters.

The School of Engineering and Natural Sciences shall be responsible for the administration of the programmes, as well as communication of information to students, announcements, preparation of the course catalogue and other such matters. An agreement shall further provide for the role of the School of Engineering and Natural Sciences.

[The board of study shall review and process applications on behalf of those schools and faculties involved with the programmes, cf. Article 4. A student shall enrol in an interdisciplinary study programme in environment and natural resources, and then choose a specialisation as appropriate. The faculty from which a student graduates (home faculty) is determined by where the student's final thesis is completed. Programmes, specialisations and component courses are overseen by the board of study. Other courses are the responsibility of the relevant faculties. Additionally, the regulations of that faculty at which the final research project (thesis) is completed shall apply, since the student will graduate from this faculty.]1

1Amended by Article 1 of Regulation no. 606/2014.

Article 4.  Board of study and advisory team.

The rector shall appoint a board of study for environment and natural resources, for a three-year term. Seven members are appointed to the board, five in accordance with nominations from the school governing boards, the regular coordinator for the programmes (appointed by the rector) and one additional member nominated by the rector. This final member shall chair the board of study. Alternates shall be nominated for each member; these individuals must not be from the same faculty as the main members. Both women and men shall sit on the board of study, and care shall be taken to ensure that representation of either sex is not lower than 40%, cf. Article 15 of the Act on Equal Status and Equal Rights of Women and Men no. 10/2008.

The board of study shall be academically responsible for the programmes, under the authority of the schools and faculties. The board of study shall handle all central matters relating to the programmes, as well as organising and overseeing them.

The board of study shall ensure the quality of the programmes, for example by reviewing and accepting applications, approving study plans and changes made to them, appointing members to Master's degree committees and doctoral studies committees and appointing external examiners for examinations at the Master's level. Furthermore, the board of study, as appropriate, shall take the initiative in creating cooperative agreements with universities outside of Iceland for Master's and doctoral studies in environment and natural resources. Such agreements must be approved by the rector and the relevant school deans.

In the case of a tie vote on the board, the chair shall cast the deciding vote. The board of study is authorised to appoint an advisory team to assist it, in accordance with nominations from faculties and collaborating partners.

CHAPTER II.  Provisions for the Master's in Environment and Natural Resources.

Article 5.  Application deadline.

The application deadline for the Master's programme, for students wishing to enrol in the autumn semester, is 15 April for domestic students and 1 February for international students. If the board of study permits enrolment in the spring semester, the application deadline for this shall be 15 October.

Article 6.  Processing of applications.

Applications marked 'Environment and Natural Resources' must be submitted to the University of Iceland Student Registration using a special electronic form available on the University website. Information on documents which should be submitted with the application can be found on the programme's homepage.

When the Student Registration has recorded the relevant information, the board of study shall address applications, in consideration of their quality and admission requirements, cf. Article 7. The board of study shall process applications and assign tutors to students.

Having fully considered an application, the board of study shall inform the applicant of its decision. The decision of the board of study shall be recorded in the Student Registration's electronic system. Applications shall generally have been processed and answered in writing within six weeks following the application deadline. An application shall be rejected if it fails to meet quality requirements.

A student who has been accepted by the board of study into the Master's programme must contact Student Registration to complete enrolment and payment of the registration fee for the upcoming academic year. The central Regulation for the University of Iceland shall apply concerning enrolment and payment of the registration fee.

Article 7.  Admission requirements.

To enrol in the Master's programme in environment and natural resources, an applicant must have completed a BS or BA degree, or another university degree assessed as equivalent. Generally, an applicant should have completed a BS or BA with a first class grade (at least 7.25), or have otherwise demonstrated academic ability and/or competence in independent research. The board of study shall evaluate qualifications from universities other than the University of Iceland.

An applicant must also submit a personal statement, along with references from three specialists in the field of environment and natural resources. The personal statement must detail the reasoning behind the application and the applicant's goals and expectations in relation to the programme, as well as outlining previous experience or employment, particularly in research. The board of study shall evaluate applications on the basis of the applicant's previous studies and submitted information, and then either accept or reject them.

Article 8.  Number of credits and length of study.

The Master's programme in environment and natural resources is 120 credits. The length of the programme should be two years (four semesters). The maximum length of time permitted for completing a Master's degree is six semesters from the time of enrolment. The board of study is authorised, having consulted the relevant faculty, to grant an exemption from this time limit in exceptional circumstances. Upon graduation, students must demonstrate that they have been registered and paid the registration fee for the whole of their period of study, or in accordance with any further regulation which the University of Iceland may set.

Article 9.  The programme, organisation of study and student progression.

The programme shall involve training in scientific methods, as well as participation in courses at the postgraduate level. The main focus of the programme is a research or development project within the field of environment and natural resources, and a thesis based on this project. The size of the project shall be determined in the study plan; it may be either 30 or 60 credits. Other credits shall be earned through participation in courses, seminars or reading courses.

All students must have completed certain mandatory courses, i.e. a core curriculum, in order to graduate with an MS/MA in Environment and Natural Resources from the University of Iceland. Emphasis shall be placed on providing students with insight into the way in which studies in environment and natural resources apply to many different academic subjects. Those courses making up the core curriculum are specified in the course catalogue. Should a student, upon enrolling, have already completed studies comparable to a certain course in the core curriculum, the board of study may determine that an elective course be taken in its place.

By the end of the second semester, the student shall have chosen a supervisor for the research project. The student's tutor shall assist in this choice. At that time, a description of the research project and plan for its implementation must also be available. The board of study shall approve the description and plan.

Article 10.  Undergraduate courses as part of postgraduate study.

Courses taken as part of postgraduate studies shall, as a general rule, be specifically designated as postgraduate courses at the University of Iceland, or other recognised institutions. Students studying for a MA/MS in Environment and Natural Sciences may take undergraduate courses as part of their postgraduate studies, on the condition that these courses provide a necessary foundation for the interdisciplinary programme. Undergraduate courses should not make up more than 18 credits out of 120 if the final project is worth 30 credits, or 12 if the final project is worth 60 credits. Students should pass these courses with a minimum grade of 6.0.

Article 11.  Tutors and supervisors.

At the end of the second semester, each Master's student shall be assigned a tutor from among the University of Iceland's regular academic staff. Students may consult their tutors on matters concerning their research projects, or anything else connected to their studies. The tutor, together with the student, shall submit a plan for the research project to be approved by the board of study. The tutor and the supervisor are generally the same person. Students may have external supervisors if these individuals meet the requirements stipulated in this Regulation. If a supervisor comes from outside the University, the tutor shall oversee the project and is responsible for ensuring that it conforms with the requirements of the faculty in question, whilst the supervisor shall provide the student with guidance in the research project.

Article 12.  Requirements of tutors and supervisors.

A tutor must be a full-time member of academic staff at the University of Iceland, based in that faculty from which the student will graduate on completing the programme. Supervisors not fitting this description must have completed at least a Master's degree in the relevant academic field. Care must be taken to ensure that students' projects fall under the specialisations of their supervisors.

Article 13.  Master's degree committees.

The board of study shall appoint two specialists to a Master's degree committee for each student in accordance with the nominations of that faculty from which the student will graduate on completing the programme. One of these shall be the student's tutor. A third member may be appointed to the committee, for example if the project concerns more than one faculty. The role of the committee is to ensure the academic quality of the research work in accordance with relevant regulation, and also that the student's progression is in line with the study plan. The Master's degree committee shall hold regular meetings with the student, and the student shall submit to the board of study an annual report and study plan using a form designed for this purpose.

The board of study may deviate from the provisions of paragraph 1 in exceptional circumstances.

Article 14.  External examiners.

The dean of the relevant school shall appoint an external examiner in accordance with the nomination of the board of study. The board of study shall consult, in this matter, that faculty from which the student will graduate. An external examiner and the Master's degree committee shall examine a Master's student and assess the final project. The external examiner must not be connected to the student's research project.

Article 15.  Assessment and Master's examinations.

When a thesis is submitted, a certified summary of the student’s academic record shall also be submitted for assessment. The provisions of the Regulation for the University of Iceland shall apply to grading.

The regulations of that faculty from which the student will graduate shall apply to the implementation of Master's examinations. An external examiner, together with the Master's degree committee, shall assess the student's performance.

Article 16.  Submission and format of Master's theses.

A Master's thesis must be submitted in accordance with the regulations of that faculty from which the student will graduate. With regards to the format of final projects and handling of sources, students must comply with the regulations of that faculty from which they will graduate. Clear indication must be given that the project has been completed as part of the environment and natural resources programme, as well as of which faculty the student will graduate from. The foreword must specify collaborating partners and any funds which have supported the project, if applicable. The thesis must be written in Icelandic or English, and shall be accompanied by abstracts in both languages.

In accordance with the law, the student must submit the thesis to the National and University Library. An electronic version must be saved in the Skemman database, managed by the library.

Article 17.  Relations with other universities.

Part of a Master's programme may be completed at another university or recognised research or scientific institute.

Article 18.  Academic titles.

A Master's degree awarded in accordance with this Regulation confers the right to the academic title Magister Artium (MA) or Magister Scientiarum (MS) in Environment and Natural Resources, depending on which faculty a student graduates from.

CHAPTER III.  Provisions for the Ph.D. in Environment and Natural Resources.

Article 19.  About the doctoral programme in environment and natural resources.

The objective of the doctoral programme in environment and natural resources is to provide doctoral students with scientific training and to prepare them for scientific work, such as university teaching or specialist positions at scientific research institutes.

The board of study must ascertain that the necessary facilities and specialist knowledge are available, in accordance with current criteria and requirements for the quality of doctoral studies at the University of Iceland. Furthermore, funding for the programme must be ensured. The Graduate School must be consulted regarding academic requirements, the implementation of the programme and other matters, cf. Article 66 of the Regulation for the University of Iceland no. 569/2009.

[The doctoral programme is conducted under the academic responsibility of the board of study for environment and natural resources, in collaboration with the doctoral studies committee (a standing committee) at the relevant faculty, from which the doctoral student will graduate on completing the programme. A doctoral student must complete certain courses in the field of environment and natural resources, as determined by the doctoral committee appointed in each case, cf. Article 23.]1

The regulations of the faculty concerned regarding doctoral studies shall apply in situations not provided for in this Regulation.

1Amended by Article 2 of Regulation no. 606/2014.

Article 20.  Application deadline.

The application deadline for the doctoral programme is 15 April for domestic students and 1 February for international students. If the board of study permits enrolment in the spring semester, the application deadline for this shall be 15 October. Applications for admission to doctoral study may be accepted at other times in exceptional circumstances.

Article 21.  Admission requirements.

A student who has completed an MS or MA in Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Iceland with a first class grade, or an equivalent qualification from another university, may apply to enrol in the doctoral programme in environment and natural resources. If the preparation of a prospective doctoral student is not equivalent to the preparation afforded by a Master's degree in the field, requirements shall be made for further study as necessary. The prospective doctoral student shall generally meet these requirements by taking courses in the appropriate subjects. [The board of study for environment and natural resources, having consulted with the doctoral studies committee (a standing committee) at the faculty concerned, shall assess whether a doctoral candidate has met these requirements.]1 Students wishing to commence the doctoral programme directly after completing a Master's degree may apply before they obtain their degrees, if the faculty in question can confirm that they are likely to complete their programmes with a satisfactory level of performance before the doctoral programme begins. Nobody may commence doctoral studies before fully meeting the admission requirements.

1Amended by Article 3 of Regulation no. 606/2014.

Article 22.  Processing of applications.

The board of study shall address applications to the doctoral programme in consultation with the school or faculty concerned. If the board of study considers that an applicant is competent to pursue doctoral studies, the board shall take the initiative in making an individual contract on the implementation of the programme, with the involvement of the faculties concerned and, as appropriate, other universities. This contract must include provisions on the content and mode of study, the implementation of the research project and funding. Furthermore, it shall address the appointment of a supervisor and other matters in accordance with Articles 66 and 69 of the Regulation for the University of Iceland no. 569/2009.

Article 23.  Doctoral committee.

[The board of study shall appoint three to five specialists to a doctoral committee for each doctoral candidate, in consultation with that faculty from which the student will graduate on completing the programme. One of these specialists must work outside of the faculty in question, and one must be an academic member of staff in the field of environment and natural resources. A tutor and/or supervisor shall be appointed as appropriate.]1 The role of a doctoral committee is similar to the role of a Master’s degree committee. It shall summon the doctoral candidate to meet before it as necessary during the course of study and shall examine the candidate’s general academic knowledge and research methodology in the field concerned. Such an examination shall take place approximately midway through the course of study. Before the doctoral defence can be held, the doctoral committee, in collaboration with the doctoral studies committee at the faculty concerned, must deliver a reasoned verdict to the faculty as to whether the doctoral candidate should be given the opportunity to submit the thesis for defence.

1Amended by Article 4 of Regulation no. 606/2014.

Article 24.  Submission and format of doctoral theses.

The deadline for submission of the final project, the number of copies of the final project, resulting costs and submission to the National and University Library shall be provided for in the regulation of individual faculties on doctoral studies. Clear indication must be given that the final project was completed at the University of Iceland; the supervisors, school, faculty and, if applicable, research institute concerned shall also be named. The foreword must specify collaborating partners and any funds which have supported the project, if applicable. A thesis may be in a language other than Icelandic, and a faculty may permit a candidate to speak a language other than Icelandic during a doctoral defence. Every doctoral thesis must be accompanied by an abstract in Icelandic and English.

[Article 24 a.  Academic titles.

A doctoral degree awarded in accordance with this Regulation confers the right to the academic title Doctor of Philosophy, philosophiae doctor, (Ph.D.) in Environment and Natural Resources.]1

1Amended by Article 5 of Regulation no. 606/2014.

 CHAPTER IV.  Other provisions.

Article 25.  Entry into force etc.

This Regulation is established by the University Council in accordance with the authority of paragraph 3, Article 18 of the Act on Public Higher Education Institutions no. 85/2008. This Regulation has been approved by the relevant faculties and schools and by the Graduate School, cf. Articles 66 and 69 of the Regulation for the University of Iceland no. 569/2009. This Regulation enters into force immediately. At the same time, the Regulation on the University of Iceland's Master's programme in environment and natural resources no. 296/2005 is repealed.

This Regulation shall be published in Section B of the Law Gazette, in accordance with paragraph 1, Article 28 of Act no. 85/2008, as well as in the chapter on interdisciplinary study in the course catalogue, and on the home page of the coordinating faculty.

University of Iceland, 15 February 2011

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