Course Information

Course content

The course is intended to provide glaciology graduate students with a comprehensive overview of the physics of glaciers and current research frontiers in glaciology. Key topics include, but are not limited to:

(Note that not all topics may be covered depending on instructor availability)

A focus will be on modeling, quantitative glaciology and remote sensing.
The course will not be given for official university credit, but in case credits are needed students can sign up for an ‘individual study’ course. Students can get a participation certificate upon request after successful completion of the course.

Course location and duration

The course will be held 7-17 June 2024 including 9 full days at the Wrangell Mountain Center in McCarthy, and 2 days of travel from Fairbanks (7 June) to McCarthy and back (17 June). The course program starts in the evening (20:00 am) of 7 June in McCarthy and ends in the morning of 17 June when we depart for Fairbanks. McCarthy is located a (very scenic) roughly 11-12 hour drive (including a number of shorter sight-seeing breaks) south of Fairbanks in the Wrangell Mountains, south central Alaska. See Practical information for details.

Course organization and program

Lectures will be given each morning. Material will be consolidated in computational exercises in the afternoon. In addition, each student will work on a glaciology computer (or field) project as a member of a small team (2-3 students) together with an instructor and will present the results during a ‘mini-conference’ at the end of the course. In addition, all students will present their own research on posters during a half-day poster session. One full-day and one half-day field excursion to the glaciers nearby will be organized. In general, the course will be organized in a workshop-type style providing ample opportunity for scientific discussions and interactions among the students and instructors, and to foster collaboration. Note that the course is not a field course. Except for the 1.5 day field excursions, the course is entirely theoretical (though some of the student projects may involve some minor field work).

In summary, the program will include

Principal organizer

Regine Hock (University of Alaska Fairbanks, UAF, Oslo Univ.) & Martin Truffer (UAF)


Andy Aschwanden (UAF), Ed Bueler (UAF), Mark Fahnestock, (UAF), Regine Hock (UAF/Oslo Univ.), Martin Truffer (UAF)
Guest lecturers: Mike Loso (National Park Service). In addition we typically have 2-3 guest instructors from outside Alaska.

All instructors are expected to be present during the entire length of the course to guarantee close interaction between students and instructors. Also, each instructors will design and supervise two student projects and prepare a summary of their lectures.
More information for instructors is summarized here

Course Admission / Eligibility

The summer school is open to 28 graduate students worldwide targeting primarily (but not exclusively) early stage PhD students. Students must be enrolled in a PhD (or MSc) program at the time of the course (In exceptional cases we will accept students who are not yet PhD students, but who can provide convincing evidence that they will be enrolled latest by the beginning of the same year´s following semester). PhD students will generally be given priority over MSc students (Typically there are not more than 1 or 2 MSc students per course). Preference is also given to PhD students in the early stage of their program. First-year postdocs/early-career scientists may also be considered in exceptional cases, if a strong point can be made why this course is needed. Due to our funding sources roughly half of the students will be recruited from US affiliations (no matter nationality).

Course prerequisites: Prior detailed knowledge/background in glaciology is not a prerequisite, but preference will be given to students with stronger math/numerical background. Some university level math and physics is highly recommended.

Accepted students will be listed on the participant webpage latest 3 weeks after the deadline.

Course Material

All lecturers are expected to compile a summary of lecture notes. These together with their presentations will be made available on the homepage after the course.


Course expenses (including accommodation, meals, transport Fairbanks - McCarthy, course material) are largely covered by external grants (thanks to sponsors). However, most likely we won't have enough funding to cover all costs and therefore typically need to collect a course fee which may be in the order of US $200-300 per person but depending on funding may also be much higher. Travel to and from Alaska (Fairbanks) is not covered. However, we have some limited funds to provide a few (full or partial) travel grants primarily for students affiliated with institutions (regardless citizenship) outside the US and Europe, especially in underpriviledged countries.

Code of Conduct

To provide a safe environment for all participants (students and instructors) involved in the organisation of, teaching at, and participating in the summer school in McCarhty must read and adhere to the summer school´s Code of Conduct.