Student Pages
Postgraduate course

Quaternary geochronology

Main content

Level of Study

Bachelor and master level

Teaching semester

Autumn.The course runs only if enough students enrol.

Objectives and Content

The course aims to give an introduction to the principles and methods for age determination of events during the Quaternary period. This includes a critical evaluation of context and geological archives commonly used for reconstruction. The course shall convey understanding of the theoretical basis for radioactivity, radioisotopic methods and effects, as well as other chemical and biological methods.

The course addresses dating methods and techniques, such as radiocarbon and uranium-series dating, cosmogenic nuclides, luminescence, amino acid chronology, tephrochronology and dendrochronology. The course emphasises practical applications of the different dating methods and critical evaluation of dating results.

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 can

  • explain principal terms, definitions and theories (e.g. geologic time, radioactivity, precision and accuracy, uncertainty)
  • explain principles and theoretical foundation for the different dating methods
  • evaluate reliability of data obtained using numeric and relative methods, as well as correlation methods
  • evaluate dating results critically with respect to geochronologic and geologic context
  • demonstrate which method that gives results in need of correction and/or calibration

The student can

  • select appropriate dating methods for a given material and/or a given scientific question
  • perform simple calculations and calculations for dating of geological material, for instance by means of spreadsheets and web-based resources
  • summarize observations/data/results/principles graphically
  • recognise and discuss different geological processes that have implications for the application of individual dating methods and interpretation of results

General competence
The student can

  • use a precise geological language to describe and discuss geological processes, archives, material and dating methods
  • utilize scientific method and integrate, analyse, interpret and critically evaluate datasets for testing of hypotheses
  • use geoscientific knowledge in scientific questions linked to use of method and results
  • use libraries and scientific databases to retrieve relevant information, as well as cite sources correctly

Required Previous Knowledge

Basic knowledge in geology, paleontology, sedimentology, marine geology, quarternary geology and geochemistry

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and exercises.

Lecture and/or exercise, 4 hours per week for 15 weeks

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Exercises. Approved compulsory assignments are valid for 2 semesters after course completion.

Forms of Assessment

The forms of assessment are:
Portfolio evaluation, 40 % of total grade.
Oral examination, 60 % of total grade.

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

Autumn. Assessment is only provided in semesters with teaching.

Reading List

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

Course Coordinator

The course coordinator and administrative contact person can be found on Mitt UiB, or you may contact studierettleiar@geo.uib.no

Course Administrator

The Faculty for Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Department of Earth Science has the administrative responsibility for the course and program


The student coordinator can be contacted here:

Exam information

  • Type of assessment: Portifolio assessment

    4 hours
    Withdrawal deadline
    • Exam part: Oral examination

      4 hours
      Submission deadline
      05.12.2022, 09:00
      Examination system
      Digital exam