Course content

The course provides an overview of the Earth's tectonic evolution in the context of plate tectonics. The first part of the course consists of lectures giving a systematic description of geological processes and the Wilson cycle, which include the formation of continental rifts and margins, oceanic spreading, transform faults, subduction, and island arcs, as well as continental collision and formation of mountain belts. The tectonic processes typical of the various stages of the Wilson cycle, and their significance for basin formation, deformation, metamorphism, and generation of magma, will be in focus in this part of the course. The second part of the course concentrates on large-scale plate motions, palaeogeography, and the link between plate tectonics and the Earth's interior. The course includes one week of obligatory field teaching where many of the phenomena discussed in the lectures are presented.

Learning outcome

After completing the course, you are able to

  • present geophysical and geological evidence for the processes operating in modern tectonic systems
  • analyse, assess and reconstruct the components of ancient tectonic systems
  • quantify and critically evaluate the nature of regional deformation from a variety of tectonic systems
  • communicate a coherent synthesis of a range of competing processes that may operate in a chosen tectonic setting

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

This is a course at an advanced level and it is recommended that students have knowledge equivalent to a bachelor's degree in the Earth - or other topics in physics/mathematics.

Overlapping courses


4 hours of lectures and seminars/exercises per week throughout the semester with seminar presentations by the students.

Up to 7 days of mandatory field excursion, upon which a field report shall be submitted that must be approved in order to sit for the exam.  

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.

To attend the field trip/excursion it is required that the following course is passed:

You will need to provide documentation that you have passed HMS0504 when you attend the field trip / excursion.

General information about excursions at the Department of Geosciences

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

Cost of taking the course

Participation in the excursion is mandatory. The excursion has a fee of NOK 150 per night.


  • A field report must be approved before the final exam. 
  • Obligatory term paper and presentation count 35% towards the final grade.
  • A final written exam counts 65% towards the final grade.
  • Both the obligatory term paper, presentation, and final written exam must be passed separately in order to pass the course.

The final exam may be held as an oral examination in years with few registered students.

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:

Examination support material

Any printed materials and an approved calculator.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in 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) July 2, 2022 4:15:26 PM

Facts about this course

Teaching language