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Course content

The student will acquire a thorough familiarity with the physical and chemical basis of mass spectrometry, and with analytic use of mass spectrometry in organic chemistry and biochemistry.

Learning outcome

On succesful completion of this course:

  • you will have a deep knowledge about he principles behind the most common mass analysators: magnetic (double focusing), quadrupol, ion trap, ion cyclotron resonance (ICR and FT-ICR), time-of-flight analysator (TOF), and the combinations GC/MS and LC/MS.
  • you will know the principles of the main ionisation methods: electron ionisation (EI), chemical ionisation (CI), field ionisation (FI), photo ionisation (PI), fast atom bombardement (FAB), secundary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS), field desorption (FD), plasma desorption (PD), laser desorption (LD and MALDI), and electrospray ionisation (ESI).
  • you will have detailed knowledge about the physico-chemical principles of mass spectrometry: kinetics and energy in monomolecular reactions, energy distribution, reaction mechanisms, ion structure, metastable ions, collision activation, tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS), isotope effects – also ion/molecule reactions, proton affinity, acidity and basicity in the gas phase.
  • you will be able to interpret mass spectra and know the principles of fragmentation. Examples are selected both from simple organic compounds and from more complicated biological compounds (peptides, proteins).
  • you can structure knowledge about and give a seminar on a given topic

Other topics are analysis of mixtures, quantitative analysis, data processing, and library searching.


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

KJM1110 – Organic chemistry I (continued) or equivalent courses.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with KJM5240 – Mass spectrometry


The course consists of 30 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars. Students are required to familiarize themselves with and give a seminar on a given topic. The seminar has to be approved for the student to be allowed to take the exam.

The first lecture is mandatory. If you are unable to attend, the Expedition Office has to be informed in advance (phone 22 85 54 46, or e-mail, or else you will lose your place in the course.


Oral examination counts 100 % of the final grade. A seminar on a given topic has to be approved before the students are allowed to take the exam.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Calculator that fulfills the requirements specified by The Department of Mathematics (only in Norwegian).

Grading scale

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

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

This course offers both postponed and resit of examination. Read more:

Withdrawal from an examination

A term paper or equivalent that is passed may not be resubmitted in revised form.

If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every spring

The course may be cancelled if less than five students register.


Every spring

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)