GEO5900 – Chemical Processes in Soil and Ground Water

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Changes in the course due to coronavirus

As a general rule, exams at the MN Faculty will during the autumn of 2021 be conducted without physical attendance. For reasons relating to the course content, some courses will have on-campus written examination if the current infection rate makes this possible.

The semester page for your course will be updated with any changes in the form of examination. See also more information about examination at the MN Faculty in 2021.

Course content

The main geochemical reactions controlling the chemical composition of soil and groundwater are treated in detail, including how these can be quantified and used in interpreting different processes affecting the water quality. Equilibria and kinetics in water-mineral-gas systems are covered, with special emphasis on CO2 - carbonate reactions, mineral weathering, redox-reactions, ion exchange, sorption, and pollution of organic chemicals. An understanding of these processes and a corresponding quantification is required to predict the effect of contaminant spill and human influence. Lectures and home works are accompanied by training in computer modelling of geochemical reactions and transport of solutes in groundwater.

Learning outcome

The purpose of this course is to give advanced MSc students an understanding of the main chemical interaction processes among natural waters and the solid constituents of soils and aquifers, and not least how these processes can be quantified and simulated.

Knowledge aims: After finishing the course, the student should

  • be able to identify and define the major processes and reactions taking place in the soil- and groundwater systems
  • be able to describe and quantify these processes separately and in concert

Level of skills: On completion, the student should be able to

  • evaluate the main processes giving rise to the chemical composition of the soil- and groundwater systems
  • calculate equilibrium concentrations of major species in pore water in contact with minerals and solid surfaces
  • perform computer simulations of equilibrium and kinetic reactions of a wide range of water-rock systems.
  • perform simple computer simulations of reactive transport

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

Basic training in chemistry: 

Knowledge in physical chemistry / chemical thermodynamics in addition to general knowledge in chemistry, physics and geosciences.


Intensive class over three weeks in the spring semester. There is an introductory part separated from the core instruction period. There are regular class-room teaching and computer exercises, mandatory homework problems to be handed in and an individual modelling project report to be submitted.

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.


  • The homework problems and modelling report must be approved prior to the final exam.
  • The individual project report counts 50% towards the final grade.
  • The final exam counts 50% towards the final grade.
  • The final exam is oral or written depending on the number of students registered in the course.
  • Both the individual project report and the final exam must be passed separately in order to pass the course.

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 one of the following courses:

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

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) Sep. 25, 2021 9:15:11 PM

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