GEO9915 – Ecological Climatology

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Course content

The course provides an overview of the relationships between climate and ecology, with a focus on climate-related feedbacks within boreal, alpine and arctic terrestrial ecosystems. Through the program, students will understand the connections and interactions between land and atmosphere, with an emphasis on terrestrial vegetation ecology and dynamic vegetation modelling. The main focus will be on processes at northern latitudes.

Learning outcome

After taking this course, you will be able to

  • understand ecosystem processes, global biogeography and climate system, and interactions and feedbacks in the climate system involving terrestrial vegetation
  • understand the drivers and roles of fluxes of energy, water and chemical components between plants, soil and atmosphere
  • understand functional plant types, the carbon cycle, albedo and vegetation dynamics
  • perform dynamic vegetation modelling, including parameterization of processes in vegetation modules
  • perform ecological distribution modelling, including assessment of response curves by statistical modelling
  • have experience with presentations of lab work and an assigned theme

Admission to the course

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.

The courses GEO5915 and GEO9915 have a joint admission with a joint capacity of 20 students, and PhD candidates will be given priority in admission to the course. Applicants will be ranked in the following order: 

  1. PhD candidates
  2. Master's students in Geosciences and Computational Science, programme option: CS:Geoscience.
  3. Master's students in Biosciences
  4. Exchange students on MSc level

Applicants will be ranked within each category: all applicants within category 1 are ranked before applicants in category 2. If there are space limitations in the course, available places will be given to students selected randomly.

Formal prerequisite knowledge

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:

Master’s or bachelor’s degree within one of the following topics:

  • Meteorology/hydrology/geography/geology (Geosciences)
  • Ecology/evolution (Biosciences)

It will be an advantage with a good understanding of numerical and statistical methods and experience with climate modelling or bioinformatics.

Overlapping courses


There are two compulsory weeks with teaching activities: one week early in the semester at UiO with lectures and computer laboratory exercises, and one week in the middle of the semester as a field trip to a selected location in Norway. During these two weeks, the students will orally present results of exercises and scientific papers.

In addition, the teaching will include the following:

  • Prior to the first week, teaching-material will be made available and preparations are required as self-study.

  • Between the two weeks, students will work on individual assigned topics, leading to the submission of an obligatory report before the second week. In addition, students will work on the material being prepared for the second week.

  • After the second week, students will work in groups on assigned topics, leading to the submission of an obligatory group report before the final examination.

Active participation in lectures and class is required.

There is a compulsory field trip (1 week) in the course.

General information about excursions at the Department of Geosciences

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

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.

Cost of taking the course

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


Before being admitted to the final oral examination at the end of the semester, the following must be fulfilled and approved:

  • active participation in lectures and class
  • one oral presentation of the results of exercises
  • one oral presentation of scientific papers
  • one written individual obligatory report on an assigned topic
  • contribution to one written group obligatory report on an assigned topic

The final oral examination counts 100% towards the final grade.

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

For oral presentations, you can bring a presentation on a memory stick or use your own PC.

For the homework assignment, all utilities are 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.

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) Nov. 26, 2022 10:24:09 AM

Facts about this course


Every other spring starting 2022.

Teaching language