Field Course in Quarternary Geology and Palaeoclimate

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content


The course aims to provide the student the knowledge and skills to complete a Quaternary geologic field survey, prepare a Quaternary geological map and write a final report and notebook from field investigations.


Different topics from the curriculum literature to the subject form the basis for an individual thematic report presented by the students at a seminar before departure for the field course. During the field course, an introduction to Quaternary geological field methods and mapping techniques will be presented. The first and last part of the field course consists of excursion to selected Quaternary geological sites in Nordfjord, Gudbrandsdalen and Østerdalen. At several locations, students conduct investigations either individually or in small groups.

Students write individual diary reports from the excursion days documenting key sites. During the survey part, students are divided into small groups that prepare Quaternary geological maps of a selected area. Quaternary geological deposits are described and their genesis is discussed and interpreted. The mapping part (3 days) forms the basis for a group report submitted at the end of the field course. The individual theme report and presentation, the group field report with map, and the individual field notebook form the basis for whether the student passes the subject or not.

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 key glacial geological terms and definitions
  • can explain how the temperature regime (polar/temperate) in a glacier affects erosion and deposition
  • can explain how small-scale erosion and deposition forms are created
  • can explain how glacial landscapes are formed
  • can explain the genesis and classification of glacially deposited landforms
  • can explain how melt water deposits can be used to reconstruct ice sheets
  • can explain how to reconstruct floods in the past
  • has acquired knowledge about the Quaternary geology and single localities in areas that are visited during the field course


The student can:

  • make independent field observations
  • know geological processes and glacial geological erosion and accumulation forms
  • recognise areas affected by polar and temperate glaciers and ice sheets
  • describe and interpret glacial erosion and deposition forms in the field
  • write individual field diary
  • prepare and report field data in writing and oral, and display data graphically
  • justify interpretations
  • prepare a Quaternary geological map according to a set standard
  • interpret graphs and figures
  • conduct searches for relevant literature as well as refer to literature and set up reference/literature list

General competence 

The student can

  • use a precise geological language for describing and discussing geological processes and events
  • recognize, evaluate and communicate humanity's role in, our independence of, and impact on the geosystem
  • demonstrate ability to function individually and ethically together with fellow students
  • conduct fieldwork during the excursion in accordance with GEO/UiB's HSE guidelines

ECTS Credits

10 credits

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Spring semester

The course has limited capacity. Priority will be given to UiB-registered Bachelor students. Master and exchange students can be admitted to the course if spaces are available and they have an appropriate background in glacial geology. More info:

Place of Instruction

Bergen, Nordfjord, Gudbrandsdalen and Østerdalen
Required Previous Knowledge
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
10 sp overlap with GEOL109, GEOL225 and GEO341
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 teaching will be in the form of a seminars and teaching in the field.
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
The individual theme report and presentation, the group field report with map, and the individual field notebook form the basis for whether the student passes the subject or not.
Forms of Assessment
The form of assessment is Portfolio evaluation;
  • Individual thematic report and oral presentation prior to the field course
  • A written group report and field map
  • Individual field notebook reporting on key field sites
Grading Scale
Pass / Fail  
Assessment Semester
Spring. Assessment is only provided in semesters with teaching.
Reading List
The reading list will be available by July 1st for the autumn semester and December 1st for the spring semester.
Course Evaluation
The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department.
Programme Committee
The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.
Course Coordinator
The course coordinator and administrative contact person can be found on Mitt UiB, or you may contact
Course Administrator
The Faculty for Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Department of Earth Science has the administrative responsibility for the course and program.