More than 116 universities, colleges and research institutions are today members of University of the Arctic, including all of the Norwegian institutions for higher education in the north of Norway.

BCS2A core activity from the very start was to build competence on northern issues, on the diversity, differences and similarities found in the north among regions and peoples, and with a special focus on indigenous peoples and cultures, land and environment and contemporary issues. That is why a special program was designed - Circumpolar Studies, aiming at being taught at the member institutions and also delivered online by the UArctic Office of Undergraduate Studies.

Seven core courses were developed through cooperation among scholars in Russia, Canada, Alaska and the Nordic countries, covering the above mentioned study areas. Member institutions were also invited to establish advanced emphasis courses taught in English for facilitating student exchange and contributing to the program development. And establishment of national funding of a scholarship program, north2north, made student exchange easier to carry through.

This has proven to be a success. The courses have recruited students all over the circumpolar north, and the applicants for scholarships have by far outnumbered the availability. The challenge is to have all the member states of the Arctic Council establish and fund the scholarship program, which is essential for its further success.

The BCS degree program at Bodø University College (BUC) is recruiting students from universities in Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, and Syktyvkar. From January 2008 on it has also recruited students from St. Petersburg. In the autumn of 2008 about 170 students were in the program, of which 120 were Russian students. There are also students from Germany, the UK, Holland and the US, besides of Nordic students doing the program.

BCS studentsThe first class of graduates got their BCS diplomas from BUC at the UArctic Council meeting in Bodo in 2006, the second class, at the UArctic Council meeting in Arkhangelsk in 2007. In May 2008, the third class of graduates got their diplomas at a graduation ceremony at Murmansk Humanities Institute, organised in cooperation with BUC. The Norwegian General Consul Rune Aasheim attended the ceremony and was one of the speakers. By now 70 students have graduated. A great number of these graduates are asking for access to a relevant master program taught in English. A joint master in Northern Governance with the University of Saskatchewan and the Pomor University has been initiated and partly planned, but has not yet been implemented due to lack of funding.

Bodø University College (BUC) adopted the circumpolar course program and added advanced emphasis courses on the Nordic democracies and High North issues as the major of a Bachelor of Circumpolar Studies degree program (BCS). Credits from other UArctic partner institutions are accepted for the elective part of the program. Through clo