Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course will provide fundamental analytical descriptions of the physical processes acting in and on the solid parts of a planet. It will provide an understanding of planetary structure and formation as well as the constitutive properties that govern tectonic and planetary deformation, and the thermal evolution of the Earth.

Learning outcome

When you have completed this course, you will be able to:

  • describe planetary formation and the thermal evolution of the Earth and planets. 
  • derive the structure of the Earth and its gravitational and magnetic fields.
  • relate the rheology of the Earth’s materials to patterns of plate and mantle deformation, including convection.
  • conceptionally and analytically describe mantle plumes, plate tectonics, and subduction zones.


PhD candidates from the University of Oslo should apply for classes and register for examinations through Studentweb.

If a course has limited intake capacity, priority will be given to PhD candidates who follow an individual education plan where this particular course is included. Some national researchers’ schools may have specific rules for ranking applicants for courses with limited intake capacity.

PhD candidates who have been admitted to another higher education institution must apply for a position as a visiting student within a given deadline.


Recommended previous knowledge

It is recommended that students have knowledge equivalent of a bachelor in earth sciences or other physical / mathematical sciences. MAT1100 – Calculus, MAT1110 – Calculus and linear algebra, FYS-MEK1110 – Mechanics or comparable courses are an advantage. The course GEO4260 – Reservoir geophysics/GEO9260 – Reservoir geophysics is complementary and could be taken in parallel.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with GEO4630 – Geodynamics


Lectures and seminars including exercises, 6 hours per week over 12 weeks. Up to three mandatory exercises which must be approved before you can take the final examination.

Attendance at the first lecture is compulsory. Students who fail to meet, are considered to have withdrawn from the course unless they have previously given notice to the Study administration, email address:


  • Up to 4 mandatory exercises/presentations must be approved before sitting the final written examination of the course.
  • Final written exam (3 hours) counts for 100%.

Language of examination

In this course any written exam questions or assignment questions may be available in English only.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Students who can document a valid reason for absence from the regular examination are offered a postponed examination at the beginning of the next semester.

Re-scheduled examinations are not offered to students who withdraw during, or did not pass the original examination.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language