Study plan for MAMN-GFFYS Physical Oceanography, fall 2021

Name of qualification

The master's programme leads to the degree Master of Science in Meteorology and Oceanography. It is a two year programme (120 ECTS credits).

Language of Instruction




Objectives and content

The Master's programme in Meteorology and Oceanography with study specialization in Physical Oceanography gives the student a thorough understanding of the physics and especially the dynamics of the ocean; e.g. the tides, upwelling, mixing processes, and interactions with the atmosphere and the biosphere.

The Master's Programme in Meteorology and Oceanography with study specialization in Physical Oceanography provides a broad foundation and a good understanding of current issues in the field. The programme covers topics from local (fjord, coastal and shelf circulation) to global scale. The study also covers the use of statistical and numerical methods, oceanographic observations, and theoretical analysis

Required Learning Outcomes

On completion of the programme the candidate will have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:

The candidate

  • knows the main features of physical oceanography and related subjects such as climate and meteorology, and has a thorough knowledge of a specialized subject in physical oceanography
  • knows the most common instruments used in oceanographic field surveys, their limitations and how to carry out related data analysis
  • knows how to apply statistical time-space methods used in analyses of geophysical data
  • knows how to analyse and interpret geophysical problems and interaction between the various components in the climate system
  • knows how oceanography connects to relevant areas of mathematics, physics, computer science, geosciences, chemistry and meteorology.

The candidate

  • can use modern field instrumentation
  • can collect and analyse large data sets and discuss limitations
  • can use programming tools to process, analyse and visualize data
  • can apply developed skills in mathematics and statistics on oceanographic problems
  • can do numerical calculations using knowledge from hydrodynamics, classical mechanics, and thermodynamics
  • is able to plan and conduct an ocean research project with guidance from an academic supervisor, but with a large degree of independence and in accordance with good scientific practices
  • can interpret and discuss his/her own results in a scientifically sound and critical way and in light of data and theories in the field

General competence
The candidate

  • can disseminate results as an oral presentation
  • can summarize field and laboratory work in a written report
  • can search relevant scientific literature, and cite appropriately
  • can formulate, analyse, interpret and discuss his/her own results in a scientifically sound and critical way using data and theories from oceanography and related research fields
  • is able to write a scientific dissertation that adds new knowledge to a topic
  • is able to analyse scientific problems in general and participate in discussions about different ways of addressing and solving problems
  • demonstrates an understanding of and respect for scientific values such as transparency, precision and accountability
  • can analyse and reflect upon relevant ethical problems related to the research

Admission Requirements

The Master Programme in Meteorology and Oceanography with specialization in Physical Oceanography requires a bachelor degree with 110 ECTS specialization from the Bachelor degree in Climate, Atmosphere and Ocean Physics, the Bachelor degree in Meteorology and Oceanography, or equivalent.

Bachelor degrees from the UiB that qualify:

Bachelor degree in Climate, Atmosphere and Ocean Physics, Bachelor degree in Meteorology and Oceanography with the following courses or equivalent:

  • MAT112 Calculus II
  • MAT121 Linear Algebra
  • MAT131 Differential Equations
  • MAT212 Functions of Several Variables
  • GEOF105 Physics of the Atmosphere and Ocean
  • GEOF110 Atmosphere, Ocean and Climate Dynamics
  • GEOF210 Data Analysis in Meteorology and Oceanography
  • GEOF212 Physical Climatology
  • PHYS111 Mechanics 1
  • PHYS113 Mechanics 2 and Thermodynamics, STAT110 Basic Course in Statistics or KJEM110 Chemistry and Energy
  • GEOF213 Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Ocean

Other bachelor degrees that qualify:

Other bachelor¿s degrees might qualify if the bachelor¿s degree have a solid background in mathematics, physics and informatics, and in addition have courses equivalent to GEOF105 (Physics of the Atmosphere and Ocean), GEOF110 (Atmosphere, Ocean and Climate Dynamics), GEOF210 (Data Analysis in Meteorology and Oceanography), GEOF212 (Physical Climatology) and GEOF213 (Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Ocean), or equivalent.

You also need to document:

Recommended previous knowledge

You will need to have a completed BSc in meteorology and oceanography or in an equivalent field. You need competence in oceanography, including basic knowledge in climate and meteorology. You should have basic knowledge about theoretical and experimental oceanography as well as in computer programming and data analysis. Thorough background in mathematics (linear algebra, partial differential equations, function theory, Fourier analysis, statistics), as well as in physics (thermodynamics, hydrodynamics, and classical mechanics), are recommended.

Compulsory units

The master's programme consists of two components: Coursework of 60 credits and an individual research project (master's thesis) of 60 credits

The courses GEOF310, GEOF337, GEOF339 and GEOF346 are compulsory. In addition, there are 25 credits of elective courses, chosen in agreement with the supervisor. 
4. Semester: Master's thesis
3. Semester: Choice, Master's thesis
2. Semester: GEOF337, Choice, Master's thesis
1. Semester: GEOF310, GEOF346, GEOF339, Choice 

Master's thesis: GEOF399 Master's thesis in meteorology and oceanography with specialization of 60 credits the student may, in consultation with the supervisor choose to write a thesis of 30 credits and expanding the amount of coursework correspondingly. It is recommended that the Master's thesis is started in the second semester. The Master's thesis must be submitted within a deadline at the end of the fourth semester, 20 November or 1 June.

Recommended electives

The courses have to be chosen in agreement with the academic supervisor. The courses GEOF301, GEOF211, GEOF334, GEOF338, GEOF343, GEOF345, GEOF347 and VIT212 are among the most relevant.

Master thesis credits

The master's project is a scientific study of a problem defined in collaboration with your academic supervisor. The problem may be addressed by theoretical modelling in combination with analyses of observational data. The study must be finalized by writing a master's thesis and by giving an oral presentation. Both will be evaluated by a scientific panel.

Sequential Requirements, courses

The recommended sequence of the courses in the programme can be found under the heading "Compulsory units".

Study period abroad

You can plan study periods abroad in consultation with your supervisor as a part of the master agreement.

Teaching and learning methods

A combination of teaching and learning methods is used in the various courses, including lectures, field work, field cruise, seminar, exercises or experiment, working in groups, work with practical modelling tasks, and solving exercises, data exercises, discussions and thesis writing after the two weeks and presentation of poster and numerical modelling. You may find more information in the course description.

The Master`s thesis is an independently scientific work, under supervision of an academic supervisor.

Assessment methods

The most common assessment methods in the courses are attendance and approved report, presentation of material, and the presentation itself, written and oral exam. The assessment methods for each course are described in the course description.

The students also get formative assessment during courses and after presentation and submittetd reports/posters.

The final step in the programme is an oral examination. The examination is held when the master's thesis is submitted, evaluated and approved.


The study shall give you a solid base for acting in the oceanographic work community, as well in research as in industry and government. Furthermore, a MSc might also give competence to enroll in a pedagogical training to become a teacher at secondary school, please see http://www.uib.no/matnat/89294/hva-kreves-opptak-til-ppu-innen-de-ulike-realfagene, for more information. Please also see: http://www.uib.no/gfi/55664/godt-jobbmarked.

Administrative responsibility

Please contact the academic adviser for the program if you have any questions:
Phone: + 47 55 58 26 04