The Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies (PCAS) - Gateway Antarctica - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

The Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies (PCAS)

The Postgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies (PCAS) is a fourteen-week in-depth, multi-disciplinary programme that critically examines contemporary scientific, environmental, social and political debates focussed on Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Antarctic field training and the experience of living and working in a polar environment are integral components of the programme.

PCAS is aimed at

  • students who have qualified for an approved degree (or equivalent) and wish to broaden their understanding of Antarctic related matters,
  • professionals who are working or plan to work in positions or organisations where their contribution would be enhanced from the programme.

Jointly developed by the University of Canterbury and Antarctica New Zealand, this unique summer programme takes students to experience life in the Antarctic, at Scott Base (NZ's station on Ross Island) and at a field campsite on the McMurdo Ice Shelf.

New Zealand and international experts teach on the programme, through lectures, workshops and student-led mini symposia, complemented by fieldtrips to Antarctic venues in Christchurch. In preparation for the fieldtrip 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 can range from current issues in the natural sciences to social science topics, historical analyses or an engagement with Antarctic literature or arts.