In the small village of Ísafjörður in the rural area of the Westfjords in Iceland, is a small but ambitiuos University centre. The University Centre of the Westfjords is a non-profit organisation established in March 2005. It has 40 founding members, including all of the country's institutions of higher education. The Centre began operations in Vestrahús in Ísafjörður in January 2006. The same building houses offices of the Marine Research Institute, the Icelandic Fisheries Laboratories, and the Icelandic Snow Avalanche Research Centre, among others. The Westfjords Regional Development Centre is also located there, and all of the organizations represented in the building share common reception facilities.
The University Centre acts as a contact between Westfjords residents and institutions of higher education. The most important aspect of this work is the University Centre's function as the West Fjord's distance-learning institute. Seven universities in Iceland offer distance learning courses and distance learning instruction takes place at the Centre, variously through the Internet or with the help of remote conference technology.
The Centre also assists university students and teachers from outside the area in establishing contacts in the Westfjords. The Centre provides information on the region as an interesting option and area for research and assists students and scholars in their work on research projects in the Westfjords. The University Centre makes its facilities available to all university-level students who are studying or carrying out research in the Westfjords.
Preparatory program for university entrance
The School of Science and Engineering at Reykjavík University offers a preparatory program for students who do not yet qualify for university entrance. The goal of the program is primarily to prepare students for further studies within the School of Science and Engineering. However, the program offers good general preparation for all kinds of university-level studies, and students who complete the preparatory program have a good chance of being accepted to other university programs in Iceland. A special support system is planned for those whose mother tongue is not Icelandic but who have a good command of the language.
The University Centre of the Westfjords offers exciting continuing education opportunities in the field of environmental and resource management, in connection with its cross-disciplinary program in Coastal and Marine Management.
The master's courses will be open for external participants, who must, however, fulfill the program's admission requirements and be approved by the master's program committee. The courses are particularly useful for those working professionally in research, planning, resource management, environmental assessment, and related areas.
Coastal and Marine Management Masters Program
The University Centre of the Westfjords offers a Masters program in environmental and resource management. Coastal and Marine Management is a demanding and ambitious master's program in environmental and resource management. The program is cross-disciplinary and prepares students for diverse and exciting positions in both the public and private sectors. It is offered in cooperation with the University of Akureyri, one of Iceland´s state-run universities, which has specialized in fisheries science and related matters for many years. Among the fields which the master's program in Coastal and Marine Management prepares students to work in are resource and land use planning, environmental impact assessment, consulting work, teaching and research. The program is internationally oriented and taught in English, and both students and instructors come from a diverse range of countries. The master's program in Coastal and Marine Management brings together people of different backgrounds who share their experience, knowledge, and ideas in a small-scale, creative and fertile intellectual environment, with the goal of finding ways of using natural resources in a sustainable way. The University Centre of the Westfjords welcome new faces to join our exciting group of natural resource management specialists. The application deadline for the autumn semester 2009 for Non EU/EEA citizens is February 15th and for EU/EEA Citizens is April 15th. Residents in Iceland can apply for the spring semester 2009, the deadline is December 15th.
For more information about the University Centre of the Westfjords of Iceland, please visit the Centre´s website.