Student Pages
Postgraduate course

The geochemical toolbox

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterSpring
  • Course codeGEOV342
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Resources

Main content

Teaching semester


Objectives and Content

This course aims to give a theoretical and practical introduction to the geochemical toolbox of geochronology, radiogenic and stable isotope geochemistry. It discusses how these tools can be used to address research questions related to time, sources and processes, and provides hands-on knowledge about the most important analytical techniques in geochemistry.

The course consists of three parts: theoretical concepts, analytical methods and data reduction, and application of the geochemical toolbox. The first part discusses important concepts in geochronology and isotope geochemistry and how the toolbox can be used to increase our understanding of geological time, sources of elements and processes affecting the distribution of elements in Earth's reservoirs. The second part covers the generation and processing of geochemical data and involves a student-based laboratory research project and a chosen area of interest (geochronology, traditional stable isotope geochemistry, non-traditional stable isotope geochemistry, radiogenic isotope geochemistry). The third part of the course involves a student-based literature study that discusses the application of the geochemical toolbox to a self-chosen reserach topic in geochronology or isotope geochemistry.

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 the principles of geochronology, radiogenic isotope geochemistry and stable isotope geochemistry
  • can formulate and evaluate the geological problems that can be addressed with geochronology, radiogenic isotope geochemistry and stable isotope geochemistry
  • can explain the principles of mass spectometry, electromagnetic spectroscopy and chromatography
  • can review the quality of geochemical data and assess errors associated with instrumental methods


The students

  • can use basic laboratory equipment including a pipette and analytical balance
  • can perform sample preparation, analytical measurements and data reduction in geochronology, radiogenic isotope geochemistry of (or) stable isotope geochemistry
  • can discuss and review literature on geochronology and isotope geochemistry
  • can keep an organized record of their analytical work in a lab book

General competence

The student

  • can work in the laboratory in compliance with GEO/UiB health and safety regulations
  • can work both independently and in cooperation with others in the laboratory
  • can use a precise scientific language in written and oral presentations
  • can peer review scientific work from colleagues

Required Previous Knowledge

GEOV109 (Introduction to geochemistry) or similar

Recommended Previous Knowledge

GEOV101, GEOV103, GEOV107

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

5 ECTS overlap with GEOV347

Access to the Course

Access to the course requires admission to a master's programme at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching is organized as follows:

Part 1: theoretical concepts: 7 weeks with lectures (4 hours/week), (self-study) exercises and homework.

Part 2: analytical methods and data reduction: 4 weeks with lectures (6 hours/week for the forst two weeks), laboratory research procjekt (4 hours/week), report writing.

Part 3: application of the geochemical toolbox: 3 weeks with literature study and presentation.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Obligatory participation in the laboratory research project and presentation of literature study. Obligatory handing in of report on laboratory research project and literature study essay. Compulsory activities and assignments are valid for 3 subsequent semesters, including the one in which the were approved.

Forms of Assessment

The forms of assessment are: portfolio assessment that includes peer evaluation of fellow students in laboratory research project, report on laboratory research project inkluding evaluation of the lab book, essay and presentation of literature study.

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

Assessment is offered only in the actual semester in which teaching is given.

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.


Student Adviser, Department of Earth Science, E-mail: studiekonsulent@geo.uib.no