Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

Advanced seminar focusing on understanding current scientific debates in paleoceanography with emphasis on the last glacial cycle. The course will examine geological evidence for how the circulation and chemistry of the ocean varied in the past, what forced these changes, and what effect these changes have on such things as climate and greenhouse gasses. The tools for investigating ocean circulation changes such as proxies (e.g. 18O, 13C, Cd, Mg, Nd, Sr, Pa/Th, sortable silt, 14C, etc.) and computer models will be examined. Students will use primary literature to gain insight into how scientific advances are made and learn to objectively and critically interpret and evaluate results and debate their meaning.

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

  • summarize ocean circulation in earlier times and explain how it differed from the modern state
  • explain the proxies used to reconstruct ocean chemistry and circulation and the errors attached to each method

The student can

  • analyze and interpret data and draw logical inferences about past ocean changes
  • formulate and coherently present scientific arguments and concepts
  • critically assess scientific studies for robustness, logical and empirical consistency, clarity, and reflect on the significance of a result

General competence
The student can

  • work and discuss in groups to collectively interpret scientific data
  • present, discuss, and critically evaluate primary literature
  • formulate a scientific hypothesis and design an experiment to test the hypothesis

Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Access to the Course
Access to the course requires admission to a Master's Programme of study at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
Teaching and learning methods

Seminar format.

2 hours per week for 14 weeks

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Compulsory seminars where students must attend, present, discuss each week. In addition they must write a project proposal.
Forms of Assessment
Passed the compulsory activities
Grading Scale
Passed / failed.  
Assessment Semester
Assessment is offered only in the actual semester in which teaching is given.
Reading List
The reading list will be available within 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