Day 11: the academia waltz*

I made my second visit to Reykjavík University, where I’ll be enrolling in graduate studies in just a few weeks.

Reykjavik University at sunset

The University is the largest private college in Iceland, with about 3,500 students and about 500 faculty and staff.  It began its existence almost thirty years ago as part of the Commercial College of Iceland, and later split off to become the Reykjavík School of Business.  It assumed its present name fifteen years ago, in between adding an information technology school and a school of law.  The Technical University of Iceland became part of Reykjavík University ten years ago; it features student-designed engineering projects like autonomous submersible drone design.

Submarine testing tank
You thought “submarine races” was just a euphemism, didn’t you?

The campus is located in the south of the city, adjacent to the domestic airport and to the Nauthólsvík beach, where hot groundwater that warms the city is allowed to drain into Fossvogur bay and then to the sea.


There’s a single large main building, built in 2010, that contains most of the classrooms and labs.  Built around a central rotunda called Sol, the building stretches out into various wings named after the planets: Venus, Mars, Uranus.  I expect to spend more time crisscrossing the solar system than any astronaut.

Sol, at the third floor of the main building
Sol, at the third floor of the main building

I spent a couple of hours chatting with Almar, the graduate program administrator, discussing my proposed class schedule.  I’ll be working toward a master’s degree in sustainable energy science – an interdisciplinary program blending studies in energy technology with classes in business and economics, and energy law and policy.

The first semester is largely devoted to mandatory courses like Intro to Energy Economics and Environmental Impact Assessment, but I’ll have an opportunity to add in some electives as well.  I’m considering Introduction to Surface Exploration for Geothermal Resources and International and European Energy Law. Next year I’ll be looking at courses on energy policy and climate change, well design and geothermal drilling technology, and more advanced work on energy economics.  There’s also an internship program, an interdisciplinary project, and, of course a thesis to be written and defended.

So there will be a lot to do over the next year and a half, aside from visiting the volcanoes and the fjords.  But I’m sure there will be time for that, too.

* credit (and apologies, as necessary) to Berke Breathed.

3 thoughts on “Day 11: the academia waltz*

  1. A “domestic airport”? Does that really mean there is a separate airport handling only “domestic” flights in Iceland? Isn’t that like Des Moines, Iowa having a “domestic airport” to handle flights within the city? I think the fumes from the volcanoes must be getting to you.


  2. The Reykjavik airport handles primarily flights within Iceland, to places like Akureyri and Egilsstaðir that are far enough away (and sometimes inaccessible by road) that air travel is often preferable. It also is home to some air tour companies and handles emergency air flights.

    The international airport at Keflavik is about 30 miles away.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s