Polar Palaeoclimate

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

This course aims to critically evaluate current research-based knowledge about climate change in the polar regions during the geological past and the present day. The content of the course addresses interdisciplinary research topics, covering a range of methods and approaches to explore how palaeoclimate proxy records such as ice cores, glacial geomorphology, ocean chemistry and lake sediments can be interpreted to better understand the drivers of past climate change in the polar regions.


The course explores formal and informal modes of scientific communication (research seminars, reading and group discussions of current literature, peer review) to enable students to develop skills and competence in discussing and presenting research topics.


This course involves participating in a research seminar series. Each week, a seminar is given by an invited researcher in the field of polar palaeoclimate and students will join the audience. Before each seminar, students will lead a group discussion (`Journal Club¿) of a paper chosen by the invited researcher to formulate a list of possible questions to ask in the seminar.

Learning Outcomes


  • Describe major topics of debate and current understanding in polar palaeoclimate research with a focus on the North Atlantic region.
  • Apply knowledge about methods used in polar palaeoclimate research to inform discussions of the research topics presented.



  • Engage with informal modes of scientific communication, through leading a group discussion and active participation as a member of the audience.
  • Demonstrate formal academic communication by producing a summary of the research seminar and associated paper.


General competence

  • Critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of specific research projects by summarising and discussing published literature and live seminar presentations.

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
GEOV106 or GEOV110
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Access to the Course
Access to the course requires admission to a Master's or PhD programme of study at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
Teaching and learning methods
Seminar discussions and webinars, 2 hours a week for 12 weeks.
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Participation in 75% of the course.
Forms of Assessment

Course portfolio:

The assessment for the course is in two parts; (1) actively participating in the Journal Club and leading one discussion to produce a list of possible questions for the speaker, and (2) submitting a short written (2 page) or recorded video (5 minute) summary of one research seminar and the associated paper.

Both parts of assessment must be passed to get final grade in the course.

Grading Scale
Assessment Semester
Reading List
The reading list will be available in June for the autumn semester.
Course Evaluation
Students will evaluate the teaching in line with UiB and the Institute's quality assurance system.
Course Coordinator
Ann Rowan