GEO4161 – Contaminants in the Geoenvironment

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Contaminants in soils and groundwater pose a threat to our society and the limited land and water resources. The course will give an introduction to the various types of contaminants, both organic and inorganic. The properties of these compounds that determine their distribution among the soil phases (soil-water-air) will be presented. An overview of the biogeochemical processes in soil and groundwater will form the basis for developing your own simplified model tool that can be used to predict contaminant transport and natural attenuation processes.

Learning outcome

After completing the course, you will be able to

  • explain the differences in the behaviour of various environmental contaminants
  • discuss the potential threat of contaminants to soil and groundwater
  • apply the theories presented in the course to predict contaminant transport and risk
  • analyse a real contamination case and evaluate potential solutions
  • present your findings in the form of a short paper
  • in addition, the seminars will allow reflecting on the use of various chemical compounds in our society and their risks to the environment

Admission to the course

Students admitted at UiO must apply for courses in Studentweb. Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

Nordic citizens and applicants residing in the Nordic countries may apply to take this course as a single course student.

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

Formal prerequisite knowledge

The student must hold a Bachelor degree in geoscience, chemistry, physics or biology.

Overlapping courses


The course will have lectures once a week (2 hours) and a weekly seminar (2 hours). Presentations and discussions on scientific papers will be part of the course.

Mandatory exercises will be given and must be 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 Students who fail to meet are considered to have withdrawn from the course unless they have previously given notice to the Student administration (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.


  • Mandatory exercises must be approved before you can submit the final home exam.
  • Final written home examination in form of a paper counts 100% towards the final grade. 

When writing your exercises make sure to familiarize yourself with the rules for use of sources and citations. Breach of these rules may lead to suspicion of attempted cheating.

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 the following course:

Language of examination

In this course, any written exam questions or assignment questions will 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.

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) May 20, 2022 6:16:51 AM

Facts about this course


Autumn 2021

The course is not taught autumn 2022.

Teaching language