GEO9330 – Advanced hydrological modelling

Course content

This is a PhD course for students who have either already followed the introductory modeling course GEO4320 – Hydrological Modelling or have good experience in using hydrological models. The course is divided into two parts. Part I deals with advanced surface water modeling and part II deals with groundwater and transport process (contamination) modeling.

Learning outcome

Knowledge aims

In the first part students will learn:

  • the calculation methods of runoff generation, flow routing, regional parameterization, uncertainty assessment,
  • to use hydrological models in climate change and land-use change studies,
  • the difference of catchment scale, macroscale and global hydrological models,
  • how to build your own simple model, write the programme code and calibrate the parameters of your own model
  • how to use the physically-based distributed model (Ecomag) to solve problems of impact of climate change and landuse change.

    In the second part students will learn:
  • the basic equations of groundwater flow and transport process (contamination), Darcy’s Law, Laplace’s Equation, etc
  • the methods of solving groundwater flow and transport process equations analytically and numerically.
  • how to use MODFLOW (A Three-Dimensional Finite-Difference Ground-Water Flow Model) model to solve groundwater and contamination problems, etc.

Level of skills

After the course you will be able:

  • to know the issues and methods in calibration and validation of different types of models (lumped vs distributed, physically-based vs conceptual, catchment scale vs macroscale and globalscale),
  • to know the methods of regional parameterization,
  • to know the issues to be studied in using hydrological models in climate change study and coupling the hydrological model with climate model,
  • to use Ecomag (a physically-based distributed model), and/or the WASMODEL (a global water balance model), and MODFLOW (A Three-Dimensional Finite-Difference Ground-Water Flow Model) to solve surface water and groundwater problems.


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.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Recommended previous knowledge

Bachelor/master courses in basic mathematics, statistics and hydrology/meteorology/climatology/physical geography.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with GEO4330 – Advanced hydrological modelling (discontinued)


Lectures (20 hours), computer work (24 hours), presentations (6 hours)


The evaluation will be based on three assignment reports, five exercises, one seminar presentation on his/her on research

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

External auditor: Nils Otto Kitterød

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.

Facts about this course






This course will not be taught spring 2011. It is uncertain when it will be offered again.

Teaching language