Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course gives an introduction to symmetry of periodical structures. Important inorganic structure types are presented and categorized according to sterical bonding principles. Structural topology and bond-valence concepts are used to understand and predict crystal structures. Visualization of structural relations is based on crystal structure databases and structure-drawing programs.

Learning outcome

On successful completion of this course you are able to:

  • Understand the space-group information in the International Tables for Crystallography; symmetry operations, symbols and matrix notations.
  • Perform unit-cell transformations and use data tools to find similarity between structures.
  • Notate connectivity patterns of atoms and their coordination polyhedra with chemical, mathematical and graphical formulas.
  • Use valence rules to predict bonding in crystal structures of elements, binaries, and pseudobinaries such as clusters.
  • Identify densest packed structures, atomic or molecular, and analyze them as polytypes. Find patterns in interstice filling in densest packed binary compounds. Understand steric consequences of hydrogen bonding between molecules.
  • Understand the origins of the concept of ionic radii, its pitfalls and use as a prediction tool.
  • Use bond valence as a tool to interpret and predict crystal structures.
  • Analyze the rich compositional and structural variety of perovskites and silicates, in terms of nomenclature and crystal-chemical formulas.
  • Write a short treatise or present a lecture on a topic related to crystallography and conduct discussion of the matter with a knowledgeable audience.


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

KJM1120 - Inorganic chemistry and MAT1001 - Mathematics for applications I

Overlapping courses


The course comprises 36 hours of lectures and 12 hours of seminars. In addition you are supposed to familiarize yourself with a topic you choose together with your teacher. Below you see suggestions for relevant topics:

  1. Translational and rotational symmetry, what ar these, and how are they combined in crystal structures.
  2. Matrix calculations, additions, inversions and multiplication. The properties of matrices.
  3. Other topic chosen in agreement with your teacher.

Based on what you learn, you will make a written or oral presentation that will be discussed with yout teacher and fellow students. The form of the presentation will be decided at the beginning of the semester. The presentation has to be approved before you can attend the exam.

The first lecture is mandatory. If you are unable to attend, the Expedition Office has to be informed in advance (phone 22 85 54 46). If you fail to register as an active student for the course in either of these ways, you will loose the access to the course for the given semester.


Oral exam counts 100 % of final grade. In addition, you have to familiarize yourself with a topic you choose in agreement with your teacher and make an oral or written presentation of the topic. You will discuss the presentation with your supervisor, and it has to be approved before you can attend the exam.

Grading scale

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

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

This course offers new examination in the beginning of the subsequent term for candidates who fail an ordinary examination. Deferred examinations for students who due to illness or other valid reason of absence were unable to sit for their final exams will be arranged at the same time. (These valid reasons has to be documented within given deadlines.). We do not offer new examination for students who withdraw from the exam.

For general information about new and deferred examination, see
the faculty's pages about retaking exams

More information about examination at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences can be found here

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.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2014

Every third semester. The course may be cancelled if less than five students apply.

This course will get a New course code, KJM-MENA, starting from the fall of 2014. The contents wil be the same.


Autumn 2014

Every third semester.

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)