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Course content

The physical structure and circulations of the oceans, budgets for volume, salts and energy, and the physical processes influencing them.

Learning outcome

The students shall have knowledge about the physical properties of ocean waters, understand concepts like stability and potential density, and be able to describe the energy exchange with the atmosphere and the governing physical processes . They shall know how the standard instruments are functioning and understand the meaning of observations presented in a T-S diagram. The students shall have a good overview of the general oceanic circulation, understand the driving forces and mechanisms behind the different types of circulation, and know where in the world oceans bottom water is formed and where upwelling occurs.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

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


Formal prerequisite knowledge

In addition to fulfilling the Higher Education Entrance Qualification, applicants have to meet the following special admission requirements:

  • Mathematics R1 (or Mathematics S1 and S2) + R2

And in addition one of these:

  • Physics (1+2)
  • Chemistry (1+2)
  • Biology (1+2)
  • Information technology (1+2)
  • Geosciences (1+2)
  • Technology and theories of research (1+2)

The special admission requirements may also be covered by equivalent studies from Norwegian upper secondary school or by other equivalent studies (in Norwegian).

The following courses must be taken earlier than the first mandatory field trip/excursion in GEF2610:

For students who completed GEF2610 spring 2015 or later – you cannot have GEF2610 included in a degree before following HSE courses are passed:

For further information se website for transitional arrangements between old and new HSE courses.

Recommended previous knowledge

MAT1100 – Calculus or equivalent knowledge of mathematics, and GEF1000 – The Climate System (discontinued) (for students from the FAM bachelor programme), GEO1030 – Winds, currents and climate (discontinued) (for students from the GEO bachelor programme), or GEF1100 – The Climate System (discontinued)

Overlapping courses

8 credits overlap with GEF1600 – Physical oceanography (discontinued)

Students taking both GEF1600 and GEF2610 will only get 12 credits for these two courses.


Lectures and colloquia corresponding to 4 hours per week, and one day-long field course in Oslofjorden. 2 obligatory exercises, one obligatory field report, all of which must be approved.

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 Study administration, email address:

We reserve the right to cancel teaching in this course in semesters when less than 3 students are admitted.

To attend mandatory field trips/excursions it is required that the following courses must be taken earlier than the first compulsory field trips/excursions in GEF2610:

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

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.


2 obligatory exercises and one obligatory field report must be approved in order for the student to take the final exam.

Written mid-term exam, 1 hour (counts 25%). Final written exam, 3 hours (counts 75%). Final grade is based on the two exam parts.

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.

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.

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.

This course was periodic evaluated in spring 2013 (pdf, in Norwegian).

Facts about this course






Autumn 2018

This course continue as GEO2320 autumn 2019.


Autumn 2018

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)