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Postgraduate course

Physical Oceanography in Fjords

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterSpring
  • Course codeGEOF337
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Resources

Main content

ECTS Credits


Level of Study




Teaching semester

Spring, the course will only be taught if enough students enrol.
Enrolment to this course is based on application. Application deadline is Thursday in week 2 for the spring semester.
Please, see this page for more information: https://www.uib.no/en/matnat/53431/admission-courses-limited-capacity

Mandatory attendance at first lecture.

Place of Instruction


Objectives and Content


The course aims to provide the students with practical and theoretical knowledge and understanding of the circulation, energetics, exchange processes and response to external forcing in fjords. The fieldwork from a dedicated cruise aims to provide training on the use of relevant oceanographic instrumentation, on data analysis and reporting, and help to put the theory in context.


The course describes the basic features of circulation, water masses, mixing processes and energetics in fjords. A theoretical introduction to rotating hydraulics in homogenous and layered flows will be supplemented by fieldwork in a fjord and key scientific literature on selected aspects of fjord physics. Energy budgets for estuarine circulation, water exchange with adjacent coastal waters, renewal of deep water masses, tidal interaction with fjord constrictions, vertical diffusion driven by internal waves, and the hydrography of selected important fjords will be discussed.

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 thorough knowledge of the main features of the fjord stratification and circulation
  • has good understanding of the response to external forcing and the processes contributing to vertical mixing in fjord basins
  • has knowledge of the observational methods related to describe the physical oceanography in fjords


The student

  • can use simple physical concepts to explain the circulation and mixing in a fjord
  • can analyze and present data from observations to describe the physical oceanography in a fjord

General competence

The student

  • can relate wind and tidal forcing to vertical mixing and circulation in ocean
  • can generalize and relate the knowledge and skill gained to applications such as harvesting energy from tides and currents, environmental effects of fish farms, and dispersal and mixing of pollutants
  • can prepare a scientific report and presentation

Required Previous Knowledge

Bachelor's degree in Climate, Atmosphere and Ocean Physics (named Bachelor's degree in Meteorology and Oceanography until Fall 2017), or equivalent.

Recommended Previous Knowledge

GEOF310 Turbulence in the Atmospheric and Ocean Boundary Layer, GEOF232 Practical Meteorology and Oceanography, and GEOF346 Tidal dynamics and sea level variations or GEOF331 Tidal dynamics or equivalent

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

GEOF332: 5 ECTS.

Access to the Course

Access to the course requires admission to a master's programme or to a PhD-education at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Teaching and learning methods

2 lectures; 2+1 hours per week
Group work 1 hour per week
Field work, 5-8 days
Literature assignment: each student presents one paper
Field work assignment: each student presents results from the cruise, and contributes to the cruise report

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Regular attendance to the lectures. Participation in the fieldwork, submitting and presenting a report. Presentation of one assigned scientific paper.

(Valid for four semesters: The semester mandatory activities have been approved and the three following semesters.)

Forms of Assessment

Oral examination

Examination Support Material


Grading Scale

The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.

Assessment Semester

Examination both spring semester and autumn semester. In semesters without teaching the examination will be arranged at the beginning of the semester.

Reading List

The reading list will be available within June 1st for the autumn semester and January 1st for the spring semester.

Course Evaluation

The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department.

Programme Committee

The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.


Geophysical Institute


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Exam information