Field Course in Physical Geography

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

This course aims to give the student knowledge and skills about commonly used methods and techniques in physical geography. Under supervision, the students will work alone or in small groups to carry out a field-based research project dealing with climate and environmental reconstruction in a defined field area, in either Norway or abroad. The field area may vary from year to year. To prepare the students ahead of the fieldwork, the students will either alone or as part of a small group work out a thematic report based on literature studies relevant for the field area.

As part of the research project, the students will develop their own research questions and related objectives. They will also learn how to deal with hypotheses and how to write an academic report in physical geography, including proper referencing.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course, the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student

  • can explain the major agents and related processes which are linked to terrestrial climate and environmental changes in their field area.
  • has knowledge about relevant field methods and techniques used in their field area.
  • has knowledge about relevant quantitative analysis methods.
  • has knowledge about the principles behind a quaternary geological map and how to make one.


The student

  • can based on literature studies and field observations design their own research project in the field area.
  • can formulate working hypotheses as part of solving the research questions of interest in the field area.
  • can use relevant field methods and techniques in their field area.
  • can collect relevant data to reconstruct climate and environmental changes in their field area.
  • can describe features of interest in an unbiased way before interpreting their cause.
  • can make a quaternary geological map for the field area.
  • can analyse quantitative data using methods appropriate for the field investigation.

General competence

The student

  • can perform a field project in accordance with the guidelines for proper behaviour and safety at the University of Bergen.
  • can write a field report either alone or in a small group by use of a professional language and disciplinary terms, make adequate analysis, produce good illustrations, and put own work into a wider context by finding and properly referring to relevant literature.
  • can communicate orally and write an academic text on issues regarding the research field of interest and relate it to the scientific literature.
  • can develop working hypotheses as part of solving the research questions of interest.
  • can exchange opinions with others having a background in the field, and provide constructive comments to their work.

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge

GEO110, GEO111, GEO113, GEO124, GEO125 og GEO131, or similar background.

GEO204 and GEO212 same term (or previously).

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
GEO241 (10 ECTS), GEO271 (10 ECTS)
Access to the Course

The course is open for geography students with at least 60 ECTS in geography, including basic knowledge in physical geography and cartography. We require that students must do GEO291 in combination with GEO212. We have a limited number of places for exchange students with relevant background. Exchange students may apply to Department of Geography via e-mail:

Application deadline: 15 January.

Teaching and learning methods
  • 5-8 seminars á 2 hours pr. week
  • 6-8 days excursion/field course dependent on travel distance.
  • Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
  • Participation on excursion/field course.
  • Seminars.
  • Accepted thematic report and related oral presentation.
  • Compulsory requirements are only valid the semester they have been approved.

    Forms of Assessment

    Group field report and individual oral exam. The oral exam may adjust the grade.

    The exam will be given in the language in which the course is taught.

    The exam can be submitted in English, Norwegian, Swedish or Danish

    Grading Scale
    Assessment Semester

    Assessment in teaching semester

    Retake exam:

    Group field report: 

    Assessment in teaching semester only. This assessment form requires that students participate in field course and report writing.

    Adjusting individual oral exam: 

    A new sexam will be arranged for students with valid absence. Students with valid absence as defined in the UiB regulations § 5-5 can apply for new oral exam.

    Course Evaluation
    All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.