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Course content

The Earth's environment is tightly linked to the global cycles of carbon and other key elements like nitrogen, phosphorus and iron. These elements affect the climate system, biological production, diversity and ecosystem services, and the chemical composition of the environment. The course will focus on links between biological, geological and chemical processes, on the interactions between climate and the environment, and on how human activities affect these processes. Many of the UN's sustainability goals are closely linked to changes in ecosystem services, which is the overarching topic of the course. The main focus of the course is on terrestrial systems, including soil, vegetation and fresh water, and interactions with the atmosphere.

Learning outcome

After completing the course, you will:

  • Have knowledge on the Earth's development and the most important biogeochemical reactions in air and on land.
  • Have knowledge about the biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur.
  • Be able to explain which biogeochemical processes govern these global cycles.
  • Be able to explain how these cycles are interconnected.
  • Be able to explain why and how the biogeochemical system is changing, as well as understand the uncertainties associated with such changes.
  • Be able to explain how the climate affects and is affected by key biogeochemical processes.
  • Have insights into the analysis of air samples, be able to use of air sample data.
  • Have basic skills in the use of computer programs for biogeochemical modeling of soil and water systems.
  • Be able to perform simple mass balance calculations.

Admission to the course

Students admitted at UiO must apply for courses in Studentweb. Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

Nordic citizens and applicants residing in the Nordic countries may apply to take this course as a single course student.

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

The courses KJM3070 – Biogeochemistry and KJM4070 have joint admission. Students are ranked by the following-criteria:

1. Bachelor s program students at the Department of Chemistry and master program students at the MN-Faculty who have the course approved in their study plan.

2. Other program students.

3. Single course students and exchange students

Formal prerequisite knowledge

The following course must be passed before the first field work:

The following courses must be passed before the first laboratory exercise:

Basic knowledge in biology and ecology.

Overlapping courses


The course duration is one semester. The teaching consists of:

  • Lectures
  • Colloquia
  • Mandatory environmental data workshop
  • Mandatory lab / fieldwork / excursion
  • Mandatory reports from practical modules
  • Mandatory lecture of 45 minutes in which the student shall explain how knowledge in chemistry is necessary for understanding a freely chosen environmental problem 

Lectures, computer labs, and workshops in the course are held jointly for the courses: GEO3070 – Biogeochemistry, KJM3070 – Biogeochemistry, KJM4070 – Biogeochemistry, BIOS3070 – Biogeochemistry, and BIOS4070 – Biogeochemistry.

All mandatory exercises must be approved before you can sit the final exam.

Approved mandatory activities are valid for 3 years.

You must be able to show documentation that you have passed the HSE courses on the first fieldwork/labexercise.

It is mandatory to attend the first lecture (including students on the waiting list). If you are unable to attend the first lecture, you must notify the Department of Chemistry before the start of the lecture, otherwise your course registration will be cancelled.

Since the teaching involves laboratory and/or field work, you should consider taking out your own travel and personal injury insurance. Read about how you are insured as a student.

If mandatory activities have already been completed and approved, you are not entitled to repeat these activities. If you have been admitted to the course, but have not completed or received approval for the mandatory activities, you are entitled to participate in these activities if there is enough capacity.


  • Written exam which counts 100 % towards the final grade.

This course has mandatory activities that must be approved before you can sit the final exam.

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: GEO3070 – Biogeochemistry, KJM3070 – Biogeochemistry, BIOS3070 – Biogeochemistry and BIOS4070 – Biogeochemistry

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in Norwegian. You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

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.

Resit an examination

This course offers both postponed and resit of examination. Read more:

Special examination arrangements, use of sources, explanations and appeals

See more about examinations at UiO

Last updated from FS (Common Student System) Aug. 19, 2022 2:33:08 AM

Facts about this course

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