Master Level Field Course in Physical Geography

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

This course aims to give the student knowledge and skills to independently perform a field investigation in physical geography/quaternary geology, make a quaternary geological map and write a summarizing professional report based on the results from the investigation. To prepare the students ahead of the field course, the students will either alone or as part of a small group, work out a thematic report based on literature studies. The different thematic reports will be presented by the students on a seminar a few days prior to the field course.

During the field course the students will be given an introduction to relevant field methods and mapping techniques in physical geography/quaternary geology. The first and last parts of the field course consist of an excursion to selected localities in Nordfjord, Gudbrandsdalen and Østerdalen. On some of the localities the students will either alone or in small groups perform minor field investigations and reports which may complement the thematic group reports.

Under supervision, the students will work in small groups to carry out a field-based research project focussed on quaternary geological mapping in a selected area. Quaternary deposits will be described and their formation will be discussed and interpreted. Based on the field project (3 full days) a report is to be submitted at the end of the field course.

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 central glaciological terms and definitions.
  • can explain how the temperature regime (polar/temperate) in the glacier may have an impact on erosional and depositional landforms.
  • can explain how small-scale landforms are formed by either erosion or accumulation.
  • can explain how glacial erosional landforms have been formed.
  • can explain how depositional glacial landforms are formed and classified.
  • can explain how glaciofluvial deposits and landforms can be used to reconstruct continental ice sheets.
  • can explain how past river floods may be reconstructed.
  • has knowledge about the quaternary geology and the various localities we visit during the field course.


The student

  • can do independent field observations and use a field notebook.
  • can recognize geological processes and describe and interpret landforms formed by glacial geological erosion and accumulation in the field.
  • can recognize areas influenced by either polar or temperate glaciers.
  • can recognize glaciofluvial deposits and landforms and know how they can be used to reconstruct continental ice sheets.
  • can reconstruct past river floods.
  • can analyse and plot quantitative data using methods appropriate for the field investigation.
  • can make a quaternary geological map for the field area based on a given standard.

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 terms used in physical geography/geology.
  • can interpret and produce graphs and figures.
  • can argue for interpretations and make adequate analysis by putting own work into a wider context by finding and properly referring to relevant literature.
  • can acknowledge, evaluate and communicate man´s role and influence on the geosystem.

Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
GEO212, GEO291 or similar background.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
  • GEOL109 (10 ECTS)
  • GEOL225 (10 ECTS)
  • GEOV225 (10 ECTS)
  • Access to the Course
    The course is open for geography students in the Master's Programme in Geography with specialization in Physical Geography (MASV-GEOG) and Master's Programme in Physical Geography (MASV-PHYG). If there is capacity, there are a limited number of places for exchange students with relevant background. In case applications from qualified exchange students are accepted the course will be taught in English. Exchange students may apply to Department of Geography via e-mail ( Application deadline will normally be around 25th January each year (to be announced).
    Teaching and learning methods
  • Seminars
  • 10 (11) days excursion/field course
  • Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
  • Seminars
  • Group thematic report
  • Oral presentation of group thematic report
  • Individual oral test based on the thematic reports/reading list.
  • Participation on excursion/field course.
  • Compulsory assignments can only be taken once, and are valid from the semester they have been taken and accepted.

    Forms of Assessment

    Group field report from the field investigation.

    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
    Pass / fail
    Assessment Semester

    Assessment in teaching semester.

    Retake exam:

    Group field report from the field investigation: Assessment in teaching semester only. This assessment form requires that students participate in field courses and report writing.

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