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Course content

This course will focus on the mechanics of earth materials (e.g. rock, soil, snow and ice), in particular, how earth materials deform,yield, flow and fail under applied loads or external forcing (both natural and man-induced). Failure criteria, frictional sliding, time dependent strength and (in)stability will be considered. The concepts discussed will be applied to geohazard problems e.g. landslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and glacier dynamics.

Learning outcome

After completing this course, students are expected to have competence in:

  • describing the strength and stability of geomaterials
  • stress and strain
  • rheological laws of geomaterials
  • yield and failure criteria in different materials
  • frictional sliding
  • slope instability
  • flow laws and micromechanisms of plastic deformation


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.

The course admits a maximum of 15 students. If the number of applicants exceeds the course capacity, applicants will be ranked in the following order:

1. Students in the master’s programme in Geosciences, programme option Environmental geology and geohazards

2. Students in the master’s programme in Geosciences, other programme options

3. Master’s level exchange students and other master’s level students at the MN Faculty

4. New single course students on master’s level

Admission will be decided by drawing lots for applicants who are ranked equally.

Overlapping courses


The course includes lectures and compulsory laboratory work, approx. 4 hours per week. Attendance to 4-6 laboratory exercises has to be approved before you can sit for the final exam. 2-4 laboratory reports and presentations counts towards the final grade.

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 Students who fail to meet, are considered to have withdrawn from the course unless they have previously given notice to the Study administration, email address:

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.


  • Compulsary attendance to 4-6 laboratory exercises, attandance must be approved before you can sit for the final exam. 
  • Assignments and presentations of 2-4 laboratory reports counts for ca 50 %. 
  • The final exam (three hours) counts for ca 50 %, this can be oral or written depending on the number of students.
  • All parts of the exam must be passed to get a final grade.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

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.

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 autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language