Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
The Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies (PCAS) is a 14-week summer programme including a field trip to Antarctica.
As an in-depth, multidisciplinary programme, PCAS critically examines contemporary scientific, environmental, social and political debates focused on Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Antarctic field training and the experience of living and working in a polar environment are integral components.
PCAS is aimed at graduates who wish to broaden their understanding of Antarctic matters and professionals in organisations related to Antarctic study.
Students will experience life in Antarctica at Scott Base and at a field camp on the McMurdo Shelf.
New Zealand and international experts teach on the programme, through lectures, workshops and student-led mini symposia, complemented by excursions to Antarctic venues in Christchurch. In preparation for the expedition to Antarctica, a first-aid course is completed as well as a two-day excursion into the Canterbury High Country. About ten days are spent in Antarctica, undertaking a mix of analytical and interpretive field projects and environmental monitoring.
Each student undertakes a major research project on an area of interest. Topics range from current issues in the natural sciences to social science topics, historical analyses or an engagement with Antarctic literature or arts.
A reasonable level of fitness is required for the Antarctic field component. Participants are expected to be able to complete a four-hour hike over rough terrain. The programme is limited to a maximum of 16 participants, and entry into PCAS is subject to a successful application. Preference will be given to applicants who enrol into the Master of Antarctic Studies (MASt), a one-year degree that builds on PCAS (see below for details).
- For prerequisites, required courses and application forms see Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
Considering the limited spaces available on the PCAS programme each year, entry into the programme is competitive. If you are interested in the programme, you will need to complete the application form attached and submit it to Gateway Antarctica (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 1 August. You will also need to provide certified copies of your academic transcripts with your application. Two letters of reference have to be sent to us directly by your referees (see reference form attached). A decision on whether your application has been successful will be made in early September.
|Peter Beggs||CEO, Antarctica New Zealand|
|Professor Anne-Marie Brady||University of Canterbury|
|Dr Paul Broady||University of Canterbury|
|Kerry Chuck||United States Antarctic Program|
|Professor Bill Davison||University of Canterbury|
|Dr Maj de Poorter||University of Auckland|
|Dr Regina Eisert||Gateway Antarctica, University of Canterbury|
|Margaret Elliott||Artist, Wellington|
|Jack Fenaughty||Silvifish Resources Ltd|
|Jeanine Foster||GM Communications, Antarctica New Zealand|
|Dr Sally Gaw||University of Canterbury|
|Dr Neil Gilbert||Constantia Consulting|
|Professor Ian Hawes||University of Canterbury|
|Dr Alan Hemmings||University of Canterbury|
|Professor Christina Hulbe||University of Otago|
|Dr Kurt Joy||University of Canterbury|
|Dr Elizabeth Leane||University of Tasmania|
|Peter McCarthy||Antarctica New Zealand|
|Sarah Murray||Canterbury Museum|
|Jana Newman||Antarctica New Zealand|
|Hanne Nielsen||University of Tasmania|
|Dr Clive Phillips||Question 4 Ltd|
|Ceisha Poirot||Antarctica New Zealand|
|Dr Ursula Rack||University of Canterbury|
|Dr Wolfgang Rack||University of Canterbury|
|Nicola Reid||Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade (MFAT)|
|Michelle Rogan-Finnemore||Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs|
|Gabriela Roldan||International Antarctic Attraction|
|Professor Karen Scott||University of Canterbury|
|Dr Fiona Shanhun||Antarctica New Zealand|
|Dr Patrick Shepherd||University of Canterbury|
|Dr Gary Steel||Lincoln University|
|Nigel Watson||NZ Antarctic Heritage Trust|
|Kelsie Wilkinson||Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade (MFAT)|
|Professor Gary Wilson||New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute (NZARI)|
|Dr Peyman Zawar-Reza||University of Canterbury|
|August 1||Applications close|
|End of August||Candidates advised of selection|
|Early September||Students with international qualifications apply for admission|
|Mid-September||Deadline for acceptance and payment of $100 deposit|
|October||All students apply and enrol|
|Early November||Submit medical forms to Antarctica New Zealand|
|Mid-November||Course commences in Christchurch|
|Late November||Cass field trip, 2 nights|
|Late December||Antarctica field trip|
|Late January||Lectures and group work ends|
|Late February||Project work ends|
As part of the Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies students complete several reports, both individually and as a group.
By the end of the course it is expected students will have met the following objectives:
- Developed an overview of the role of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean in the understanding and resolution of global issues.
- Have knowledge of contemporary research activity in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean.
- Have an understanding of some of the major scientific, environmental, social, historical, legal and political issues in relation to the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean and the ways such issues are addressed.
- Have a practical appreciation of the challenges imposed by the Antarctic environment.
- Developed skills in group work, self-directed learning, research, seminar and professional presentations and critical analysis, reflection and debate.
Master of Antarctic Studies
The Master of Antarctic Studies (MASt) is a full-time, one-year programme which expands on and incorporates the Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies (above). This degree allows students to:
- take part in an Antarctic field expedition over the summer (as part of the Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies)
- undertake further postgraduate courses and develop a research dissertation related to the student's area of research expertise and interest
- complete a master's-level qualification within one year
For details see Master of Antarctic Studies
Doctor of Philosophy
A PhD is an advanced course of study and research which makes an original contribution to knowledge or understanding in the field of study.
Scholarships and funding
For general scholarships see the UC Scholarships database.
For funding specifically for Antarctic-related study, see the list below.
- Christchurch City Council Antarctic Scholarship
- MFAT Scholarship in Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies
- Antarctica New Zealand scholarships
- Enderby Trust scholarships
- Sir Peter Blake Trust