Student Pages
Postgraduate course

Field and Laboratory Methods in Physical Geography

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterAutumn
  • Course codeGEO313
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Resources

Main content

Level of Study


Teaching semester


Objectives and Content

Methods used in physical geography and quaternary geology are constantly changing, and new technology is providing better and more advanced tools for quantifying geomorphic processes and sediments on the Earth¿s surface. The objectives of this course are to give an introduction to different methods used for conducting research projects in physical geography, and to enable students to meet the practical challenges associated with field- and/or laboratory-based research.

The course aims to give the student an introduction on how to collect geological samples in the field (lake sediments, soil samples etc.), and how to use different geophysical methods to quantify the Earth¿s surface (ground penetrating radar, LIDAR, CHIRP etc.). As part of the course the students will collect data in the field and subsequently analyse the samples in the sediment laboratory using key methods (magnetic methods, geochemical methods, physical sediment parameters, etc.). By combining key methodologies, the students will be able to understand and quantify sediments deposited by different geomorphological agents. The students will also get an introduction to different methods on how to process and visualise geographical information collected during field work (ground penetrating radar, bathymetric data etc), be introduced to key statistical methods, and shown how to organise and visualise quantitative data.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course, the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student

  • has knowledge about the techniques which are relevant for performing a field-based research project based on given research questions.
  • has knowledge about the techniques used for analysing different sediment types in the laboratory based on given research questions.
  • knows how to retrieve and depict geophysical data collected in the field.
  • knows how to present and interpret geographical data that can be used in a research context.
  • knows how to organize and carry out their own field work based on given research questions.


The student

  • can plan and carry out field work.
  • can use different types of sampling equipment to retrieve lake sediment cores.
  • can summarise and interpret information obtained with various geophysical methods.
  • can interpret radiograms and graphs depicting different time series.
  • can present and discuss data collected using different techniques in the field.
  • can determine the genetic and process environment for different types of geological material deposited by various geomorphological agents.

General competence

The student

  • can assess which field techniques can be used to solve various geological research questions.
  • can plan and carry out field work in accordance with current health and safety guidelines.
  • can plan and carry out work in the laboratory in accordance with current health and safety guidelines
  • can demonstrate the ability to work individually and in groups in the field and in the laboratory.

Required Previous Knowledge

GEO110/GEO115, GEO215, GEO212 and GEO291, or similar background.

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

GEOV226 (10 ECTS)

Access to the Course

Open to students at the master's level that meet the pre-requisite requirement.

Teaching and learning methods

  • Seminars/three to four days
  • Field excursion/three days
  • Lab work/five days

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Participation in seminars, field exercises with written report, and laboratory work with journal.

Compulsory requirements can only be taken once and are valid from the semester they have been taken and accepted.

Forms of Assessment

Portfolio assessment of two reports. Both parts of the assessment must be passed in the same semester.

Grading Scale

Pass / fail

Assessment Semester


Course Evaluation

All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.