This course is discontinued

GEO9430 – Snow, Snow Hydrology and Avalanches

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content


  • Accumulation of snow, field methods and snow mapping
  • Energy budget at the snow surface, energy budget models
  • Models of meltwater generation and runoff
  • Physical snow properties and snow metamorphism
  • Snow avalanches

Learning outcome

The objective is to give the students insight in hydrological and geotechnical problems related to snow.


The students will

  • understand the processes related to buildt-up and decay of snowcover
  • understand the processes controling snowpack stability
  • understand principles of the associated observation techniques
  • obtain insight into hydrological and geotechnical problems related to snow
  • understand principles of assessment techniques


The students will be able to

  • conduct snow surveys for hydrological as well as for geotechnical questions
  • apply standard modelling tools to assess snowmelt
  • apply standard methods to assess avalanche risk
  • perform an obligatory project within the course topic, present the results and discuss critical issues


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.


Recommended previous knowledge

Bachelor courses in physical geography; glaciology/geomorphology, geophysics.

HMS0504 – Field Safety OR MNHMS0015FS – Introduction to Field Safety (discontinued)


Lectures and seminars. 3 days field trip.

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 Students who fail to meet, are considered to have withdrawn from the course unless they have previously given notice to the Studies administration, email address:

General information about excursions at the Department 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.


Paper report on assigned project, field report and final exam. A pass/fail scale is applied to the reports. Admission to the final exam depends on the evaluation of the reports. The form of final exam depends on the number of students. If there are less than ca 10 students, the final exam will be oral. If there are more than ca 10 students, the final exam can be written. Written exam questions will only be available in English. The pass/fail scale is applied as an independent scale with only two possible results.

Language of examination

In this course any written exam questions or assignment questions may be available in English only.

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.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language