GEO4120 – Near-Surface Geophysics

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course gives an introduction to geophysical methods for mapping and monitoring the physical properties of the ground at shallow depths, with specific focus on environmental, geohazard, water resources and engineering applications. Emphasis is given to seismic, ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and electrical methods, while other methods will be briefly presented (laser scanning and electromagnetism). Short field demos may be given if time allows, in addition to software-based assignments.

Learning outcome

When you have completed this course:

  • you are familiar with the most common geophysical methods applied in environmental, geohazard, water resources and engineering studies.
  • you understand which physical parameters are measured in each method and how they may relate to soil and ground properties of interest in each domain of application.
  • you understand the principles of the key acquisition, processing and interpretation methods, especially for seismic refraction, GPR and resistivity.
  • you are able to perform elementary processing steps of each method mentioned above, through using standard software, and interpret the final results, keeping in mind possible geophysical limitations.


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.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Introductory course in mathematics and physics.


Lectures, assignments and possible half day field demo. Written assignments must be approved before you can take the final exam.

We reserve the right to cancel teaching in this course in semesters when less than 3 students are admitted.

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 Students who fail to meet, are considered to have withdrawn from the course unless they have previously given notice to the Student administration (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 Dept. of Geosciences.

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


Assignments and written final exam (3 hours).

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 scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. 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.


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

This course was periodic evaluated in spring 2012 (PDF).


This course changed name autumn 2016 from GEO4120 - Environmental Geophysics to GEO4120 - Near-Surface Geophysics.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language