Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content


Geohazards are events coupled to geological and/or geophysical processes, which can potentially cause damage to the environment and/or society. The course aims to give an introduction to different types of geohazards, their potential consequences and how disasters can be prevented. Main focus will be on Norwegian geohazards, but extreme events from other parts of the world will be discussed. The course will develop an understanding of the geological and physical processes driving geohazards and how society can be affected. An introduction will be given to geotechnical methods to handle geohazards, and the mitigation measures that can be implemented to prevent disastrous events. Special attention will be given to building up an understanding of the interplay between nature and society, and how this interplay controls the potential consequences of an event.


Main focus will be on processes causing landslides, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, as well as their possible consequences, in addition to methods for quantifying their hazard and risk. In addition, we will discuss potential interlinkages between different types of geohazards, disaster prevention and management and quantification and communication of uncertainties. The course will include three components; a theoretical, a practical and a field based part. The theoretical teaching activities will mostly be student active. An important part of the course will be a series of practical exercises allowing the student to work with different aspects of the syllabus. In order to understand relevant geohazards in Western Norway, an excursion will be arranged where different geohazards (e.g. landslides and floods) will be presented with different risk mitigation measures. The students will also have the possibility to identify potential and previous events in the field.

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 has

  • an overview of the physical and geological processes causing geohazards such as landslides, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions
  • knowledge of the creation of different landforms and deposits related to geohazards
  • knowledge to describe methods for quantifying hazard for the individual geohazards and factors controlling their uncertainty
  • knowledge of geotechnics and what mitigation measures can be used to reduce risk related to different geohazards
  • understanding of possible consequences of geohazards as well as risk and disaster management
  • knowledge of possible interactions between geohazards and their consequences.


The student is able to

  • perform simple quantitative analyses (e.g. calculate landslide runout, calculated expected earthquake ground shaking)
  • recognize deposits and landforms related to geohazards
  • present and analyze data in a Geographical Information System (GIS)
  • visualize observations/data/principles of geohazards graphically
  • recognize and discuss risk mitigation measures for catastrophic geohazard events
  • identify and categorize slide deposits in the field.

General competence

The student can

  • use precise terminology to describe and discuss geohazards and their consequences orally and in writing
  • recognize, assess and communicate the human role in, impact on and consequences of geohazards
  • work individually and in groups, and ethically correct, with peers
  • do field work during an excursion in agreement with the HSR-regulations at GEO/UiB

ECTS Credits

10 credits

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

Bergen. The course will be offered as a national course and will also be taugth at the Universities of Oslo and Troms√ł.
Required Previous Knowledge
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Access to the Course
Access to the course requires admission to a programme of study at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Teaching and learning methods
The course will be taught through a series of student active seminars and exercises, combined with self study and portfolio work. There will be an excursion as part of the course.
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Assessment will be granted when the following assignments have been approved:

  • Approved field diary
  • Completed and approved 10 quiz assignments in connection with teaching
  • Completed and approved three portfolio assignments: a poster, a group report and an individual written text
  • Completed and approved two GIS-assignments in connection to teaching
  • Handed in reflection note

Approved compulsory assignments are valid only in teaching semester.

Forms of Assessment
Portfolio assessment
Grading Scale
The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.
Assessment Semester
Assessment only in teaching semester
Reading List
Litteraturlista vil vere klar innan 01.07. for haustsemesteret og 01.01. for vårsemesteret.
Course Evaluation
The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department.
Examination Support Material
Programme Committee
The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.
Course Administrator
The Faculty for Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Department of Earth Science has the administrative responsibility for the course and program