Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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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
  • oral presentation


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 courses GEO3131 and GEO4131 has a joint admission, with a joint capacity of 25 students. 

If there are more then 25 applicants for GEO4131/3131, applicants will be ranked after the following categories:

  1. Masterstudents in Geosciences admitted to one of the following programme options: 
  2. Bachelorstudents in one of the following programmes:
  3. Exchange students and other bachelor students at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
  4. Single course students

Applicants will be ranked by the number of ECTS-credits within each category: all applicants within category 1 is ranked before applicants in category 2. If there are space limitations in the course, available places will be given to students selected randomly among those with the same amount of ECTS credits.

Overlapping courses


The course includes lectures and compulsory practical exercises, approx. 6 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 Students who fail to meet, are considered to have withdrawn from the course unless they have previously given notice of their absence to the Student administration (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.

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.


  • Compulsory 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 written exam (three hours) counts for ca 50%. If there are few registered students, the exam can be given as an oral examination.
  • 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 have 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.

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

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