The 2018 Summer School "Climate Change in the Arctic" will take place at the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University/ University Paris-Saclay, July 1 through 27, 2018.

The Arctic is the region of the world where the effects of climate change are most visible today. The impact of this process is leading to environmental, economic and social upheavals representing major challenges for which we urgently need integrated approaches associating natural sciences, social sciences and humanities.


The University of Versailles Saint-Quentin ( UVSQ), a founding member of the excellence consortium University Paris-Saclay, is the only French and European university to offer a Master program in interdisciplinary Arctic studies labelled University of Paris-Saclay Master entirely taught in English by a team of internationally-recognized professors and researchers specialised in this field, including experts in environmental science and climatology, sustainability studies (economics and political science, as well as international relations), anthropology and cultural studies, making UVSQ an ideal place in France and Europe for interdisciplinary Arctic studies.


Building on previous experience of the university of Paris-Saclay, the summer school will be held at the Versailles Saint Quentin Observatory (OVSQ) in Guyancourt, near Paris, at or very close to the research centres and laboratories involved: LSCE (Laboratory of Climate and Environment Science), LATMOS (Laboratory of Atmosphere and Milieux Studies as well as Spatial Observation), both affiliated with the French National Research Centre (CNRS) and the Institute Pierre-Simon Laplace (the climatology excellence cluster of the Paris region), CEARC (Culture, Environment, Arctic, Representations and Climate) and DYPAC (Heritage and Cultural Dynamics).


The inaugural lecture will be given by Dr. Jean Jouzel, Research Director Emeritus at the CNRS, former Vice-President of the IPCC (Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change) and co-laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 together with the American Vice-President Al Gore, CNRS gold medalist and co-author of nearly 45 articles published in Nature and Science (member of the LSCE laboratory). Other lecturers include Dr. Kathy Law, one of the leaders of the research program "Chantier arctique" of the French government, CNRS research director and member of LATMOS, as well as the director of the OVSQ, Dr. Chantal Claud, Research Director at CNRS, LATMOS Laboratory Director Dr. Philippe Keckhut, as well as specialists in Greenlandic and Siberian studies in anthropology and the two directors of the Arctic Studies master programme Dr. Alain Sarkissian, Researcher at LATMOS and Prof. Jan Borm, Vice-President in charge of International Relations at UVSQ and specialist in Arctic cultural studies (DYPAC).

Discover research on climate change and the Arctic in France:

Polar research in the Arctic and Antarctic is a specialty with a long tradition in France. France operates or co-operates several research stations in Antarctica and a station in the Arctic (in Svalbard). As a permanent observer on the Arctic Council, France operates major research activities in the circumpolar Arctic.

At UVSQ-Paris-Saclay, the 'Arctic Studies' program is backed by laboratories of excellence such as the LSCE and the LATMOS, which make UVSQ 4th best university worldwide in Atmosphere science and Meteorology (CRWU ranking), 40th in Earth Sciences (ARWU or Shanghai Ranking) and part of the 101-150th Group in Environmental Science and Engineering (ARWU).


Research on Climate is a major focus of the excellence cluster University Paris-Saclay, the France’s principal research hub in science and technology that UVSQ is a founding member of. The University of Paris-Saclay is hosting currently the Working Group 1 of IPCC, co-chaired by the Paris-Saclay Scientist Dr. Valérie Masson-Delmotte (LSCE).


Students will have many opportunities to meet the members of these laboratories and units as part of the Summer School and exchange with them about potential Phd projects.

The excursion to the polar space Paul-Emile Victor of Prémanon, in the French Jura Mountains, close to the Swiss border, will allow the students to benefit from a concrete experience of the phenomena related to the Arctic as well as an excellent example of an institution dedicated to the science education.

The program will be complemented by an introduction to French language and culture and cultural visits to Paris, Versailles and elsewhere in the Paris region.


The summer school 2018 will offer you high-level courses, taught in English, meetings with leading researchers in the field and an introduction to research through a supervised project experiencing the research methodologies presented during the summer school.


You will have a unique opportunity to discover the world of research in interdisciplinary Arctic studies in France’s leading research cluster, potentially your first step towards the preparation of a PhD in France in environmental sciences, social sciences and humanities related to climate change and the polar research, while discovering the country, culture and language in very pleasant conditions.




You will arrive on Sunday 1st July 2018 at Paris Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport where a shuttle bus will be waiting for you to go to Versailles.



You will be staying in single rooms at the Vauban University Residence on the university Campus in Guyancourt, right next to where the Summer School will take place. Participants will have access to all university services offered (building for student life, cultural events, sports facilities,).

The region southwest of Paris offers an exceptional setting to discover some of France’s major heritage sites: Versailles and its castle are easily accessible from the university, as well as other prestigious historical monuments of the region and Paris city center is only some 40 minutes away by suburb train.



Meals will be taken care of by the university throughout the summer school.



A transport card for Paris and its Region will be provided for the 4 weeks. Valid for the whole of the Paris region, it will guarantee you access to all the places you want to visit.


Back to China:

Your return to China will take place on July 27, 2018 from Paris Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle Airport. A shuttle will take you from the student residence hall to the airport.




Please find the complete schedule here.

Courses are dedicated to both the natural environment and human societies in the Far North, the common focus being ongoing changes (e.g. global warming and climate change, economic development, risk management and identity crises). The six modules cover the environment and climate, anthropology and culture, political science and economics and are offered alternately.


Environmental Science for the Arctic (12h): This unit presents fundamental aspects of environmental science in the Arctic, from atmospheric pollution and the ozone stratosphere to the climate. Three main themes will be looked at: pollution in the Arctic, Arctic climate, and the Arctic atmosphere. Several scientists involved in arctic environmental research will present an overview of their activities.

Arctic climate and meteorology (15h): This unit examines three central themes: cataclysms in the Arctic, the consequences of climate change in the Arctic and the role of Polar Regions in comparative planetology. Group work exploits weather archive data and the UVSQ’s own weather station.

Arctic anthropology (15h): This unit analyses classic and current anthropology and the remarkable contribution of indigenous peoples to Arctic exploration whose traditional knowledge and viewpoint are now taken into account in research projects. This circumpolar approach, based on case studies in Greenland, Canada, Alaska, Siberia and Fennoscandia covers impacts of climate change, pollution, and new maritime routes; traditional lifestyles and sustainable development; indigenous governance issues; education, identity, ritual and religious phenomena; cultural and linguistic transmission and revitalisation; adaptation to new digital items.

Arctic travel writing (9h): The unit offers a survey of the history of Arctic exploration narratives, narrative ethnography and travel accounts from the 16th to the 21st century. A number of historical sources, as well as contemporary texts will be discussed in detail.

Arctic governance (9h): Science-based policy approaches are introduced to the legal framework, driving forces of social, economic and environmental change, environmental services, and mixed anthropogenic stressors. Initiation to decision support procedures for sustainability, where economic viability, social justice and cultural integrity are placed alongside procedures for environmental impact assessment of ecosystem change and stability.

Risk management in the Arctic (9h): This course offers an integrated view on risks to which Arctic societies may be exposed. After an introduction to environmental risk assessment and management, it examines the types of risks and hazards, as well as associated vulnerabilities of societies and how their resistance and resilience can be strengthened. The course also looks at issues of risk governance.

Scientific Expedition (2days): An expedition in the French Jura will give the possibility to discover France’s only center specialized in the Arctic. This unique experience will allow participants to discover both this innovative space devoted to the dissemination of polar knowledge and another region of France outside the Paris region.

Initiation to French Language (21h): Through the introductory French language course, students will be able to engage in simple conversations such as: Introducing oneself and others, greeting people, numbers, time, finding their way…

The course will integrate contents on the French culture and tradition linked to the daily experience during the stay in France.




The program offers a variety of cultural activities allowing participants to become familiar with French culture, Paris and its region, including of course Versailles. In addition to an introduction to the French language and culture (24h and 6h respectively), cultural excursions in the southwest of Paris and Paris are organized during your stay:

- Visit of Versailles Palace, residence of the Kings of France for two centuries

- Cultural tour of Paris

- Fireworks on the occasion of the National Holiday on July 14 at Versailles Palace

- Accrobranching

- A visit of the “France Miniature” space

- Cultural evenings with students of UVSQ



Credits ECTS:

UVSQ grants academic credits for the Summer School. Students who have successfully submitted their individual project and followed all the courses will be awarded 6 ECTS.


Required level of higher education studies:

A minimum level of 4 years of higher education studies is required for applications as well as a solid command of in English.

Applicants should be preferably specialized in one of the following academic disciplines or domains: environmental science or climatology, sciences in general (physics, biology, geology etc.), social or human science (political sciences, law, international relations, sustainability studies, anthropology, history or cultural studies).





Climate Change in the Arctic

From July 1st to 27th , 2018 in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University/ University Paris-Saclay.

The total number of places is limited to 25.

The price does not include the trip from China to Paris.

Accommodation, meals and local transportation are all included.

The summer school will deliver 6 ECTS.

The summer school is reserved to Chinese master students.

To apply, please follow the application procedure on the main page.

Price: 25.000 CNY

The French Embassy reserves a limited number of grants to students with an exceptional academic background. Grants cover the tuition fees but do not cover the trip from China to Paris.