GEO9450 – Cryospheric processes in the Nordic region

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course will give a theoretical and practical introduction into central aspects of selected cryospherice processes, such as numerical modelling of permafrost, snow and glacier processes, with emphasize on applications in the Nordic region (incl. Svalbard). You will learn about the physical basics of atmosphere-ground interaction with respect to the energy transfer into ice/snow and/or ground. In addition also the coupling of cryospheric models with climate models will be treated, along with feedback mechanisms into the climate system.

The specific topics may change with external funding, but the course contents are defined within the above framework. The course normally ends with combined field activities and workshop. 

Learning outcome

Students will learn about the physical processes at the frontier of modern permafrost, snow and glacier/ice research. Learning activities will focus on understanding the cryospheric processes such as glacier and ice sheet mass balance, permafrost and snow physics, depending on course focus. Generic learning outcomes are related to:

  • get an understanding of methods and results of recent scientific publications in cryospheric sciences, and to be able to discuss the methods and results
  • get experience with presentations of scientific reports in the subject area, and to be able to summarize actual research in review essays


PhD candidates from the University of Oslo should apply for classes and register for examinations through Studentweb.

If a course has limited intake capacity, priority will be given to PhD candidates who follow an individual education plan where this particular course is included. Some national researchers’ schools may have specific rules for ranking applicants for courses with limited intake capacity.

PhD candidates who have been admitted to another higher education institution must apply for a position as a visiting student within a given deadline.

This course is offered on an irregular basis, and is related to special often external funded activities or exchange programmes at the Department of Geosciences. Some study places is reserved for students on these activities or exchange programmes. The number of study places will vary. Admission takes place after individual application to the Study administration at Department of Geosciences, contact us for more information at email


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Background in Geosciences and/or Cryospheric Sciences.

The course includes a compulsory field course and excursions. A health and safety course for safety in the field must be passed before you can go on these.

Overlapping courses

5 credits overlap with GEO5450 – Cryospheric Processes in the Nordic Region


This intensive course consists of compulsory lectures, computer lab work and field activities, over a block period of 7-10 days. A presentation of a given subject in class is required. Two reports must be delivered, one individual detailed field report from the field activities and one final project report based on group work. The final project report is normally based on data gathered during field visits or generated during the computer labs and this has to be approved in order to pass the course.

There are compulsory field activities in the course. The detailed field report has to be delivered from the field activities, and this has to be approved before handing in the final project report.

General information about excursions at the Dept. of Geosciences.

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.


  • Attandance on the course/field visits, presentation of a given subject during the field course and a detailed field report (individual work) has to be approved before handing in the final project report. 
  • A final project report (group work) counts for 100%.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination

You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. 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.

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: GEO5450 – Cryospheric Processes in the Nordic Region

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






Spring 2018

This course is offered on an irregular basis.


Spring 2018

Teaching language