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Course content

This course gives a broad introduction to physical/dynamic oceanography. The focus will be on the physical structure and circulation of the oceans, their thermodynamic and dynamic budgets, and the underlying physical processes that influence these.

Learning outcome

When you have taken this course, you will be able to

  • discuss how the ocean circulation affects Earth's climate
  • describe the momentum and energy exchange with the atmosphere, including physical processes that impact such exchanges
  • describe the physical properties of seawater
  • discuss key thermodynamic and dynamic conservations laws, including useful simplified balances
  • discuss forcing and key controlling mechanisms that govern the ocean circulation
  • describe ocean waves, including high-frequency surface gravity waves and low-frequency waves impacted by Earth's rotation
  • describe ocean observations techniques and principles behind numerical ocean modelling
  • conduct oceanographic measurements and analyse and present these in written form

Admission to the course

Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Special admission requirements

In addition to fulfilling the Higher Education Entrance Qualification, applicants have to meet the following special admission requirements:

  • Mathematics R1 (or Mathematics S1 and S2) + R2

And in addition one of these:

  • Physics (1+2)

  • Chemistry (1+2)

  • Biology (1+2)

  • Information technology (1+2)

  • Geosciences (1+2)

  • Technology and theories of research (1+2)

The special admission requirements may also be covered by equivalent studies from Norwegian upper secondary school or by other equivalent studies (in Norwegian).

Formal prerequisite knowledge

The course includes a compulsory field course and excursions. A health and safety course for safety in the field must be passed before you can go on these:

Overlapping courses


Teaching consists of lectures and colloquia equivalent to 4 hours per week. There are 3 compulsory assignments which must be approved before taking the final examination.

There is a compulsory 1-day field trip in the Oslofjord. A field report has to be written and approved before 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 Students who fail to meet are considered to have withdrawn from the course unless they have previously given notice to the Student administration (

We reserve the right to change the teaching form and examination of the course in semesters where 5 or fewer students have been admitted.

General information about excursions at the Department of Geosciences

As the teaching involves laboratory and/or fieldwork, you should consider taking out a separate travel and personal risk insurance. Read about your insurance cover as a student.


  • 3 compulsory assignments and a field report must be approved before the student can sit the final examination.

  • A written mid-term exam counts 30% towards the final grade.

  • A final written examination counts 70% towards the final grade.

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.

It will also be counted as 1 of the 3 attempts to sit the exam for this course if you sit the exam for one of the following courses:

Examination support material

Approved calculator

Language of examination

Courses taught in English will only offer the exam paper in English. You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

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.

Special examination arrangements, use of sources, explanations and appeals

See more about examinations at UiO

Last updated from FS (Common Student System) Aug. 12, 2022 9:15:05 AM

Facts about this course

Teaching language
Norwegian (English on request)