Study plan for MASV-PHYG Physical Geography, Master's, 2 years, fall 2020

Name of qualification

Master of Philosophy in Physical Geography

ECTS Credits

120 ECTS

Language of Instruction


Objectives and content

The objective of the programme is to provide the student with theoretical, methodological and practical skills enabling them to qualify for a Master's degree in Physical Geography. The topics for master projects includes glaciers, natural hazards, sea level, hydrology, ground water, periglacial features, caves and geomorphological development related to past and present climate and environmental changes.

The aim is to provide the student with analytical skills, critical thinking, relevant field- and laboratory methods as well as academic writing to work with and present both written and orally contemporary scientific problems in physical geography.

Required Learning Outcomes

A student who has completed the programme should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student...

  • has advanced knowledge in physical geography and specialized insight in the research topic of the master¿s project such as glaciers, natural hazards, sea level, groundwater, periglacial features, caves and landscape development linked to past and present climate and environmental changes.
  • has thorough knowledge about the theories and methods to investigate the most important exogenous agents and related processes linked to terrestrial climatic, geomorphological and environmental changes in the study area for the master's project.
  • can apply knowledge to new areas within physical geography.
  • can analyse academic problems on the basis of the history, relevant theories of science, and societal relevance of physical geography.


The student...

  • can choose and delimit a researchable theme for a Master's thesis and develop a research problem which can be carried out within the time limits and resources available for the study.
  • can select and evaluate relevant methods for collection of empirical data, and give an epistemological account of the methodological choices.
  • can delimit, plan and carry out collection of empirical data through field work.
  • can search systematically in libraries, scientific and other data bases and interpret and evaluate data and literature critically.
  • can discuss and analyse different sources of information critically, evaluate empirical data and present geographical arguments and analyses.
  • can write a research report, individually and in a team, within given time and resource limits, apply physical geographical terminology and good academic writing, with exact, updated and systematic use of references, with due credit to secondary sources.

General competence

The student...

  • can perform a field project in accordance with the guidelines for proper behaviour and safety at the University of Bergen.
  • can apply his/her knowledge and skills in new areas in order to carry out advanced assignments and projects.
  • can communicate extensive independent work and masters language and terminology of physical geography.
  • can exchange opinions with others having a background in the field, and provide constructive comments to their work.
  • can communicate about academic issues, analyses and conclusions in physical geography, both with specialists and the general public.

Admission Requirements

In order to apply for the Master's Programme in Physical Geography you need a bachelor's degree of 3-4 years' duration, or an equivalent educational background.

  • The degree must include at least 1,5 years (80-90 ECTS) of full-time studies in geography, including 1 year (60 ECTS) in physical geography or related disciplines (e.g. quaternary geology, cartography, GIS, climatology, hydrology).
  • Background focused on processes in landscapes influenced by glaciation is a requirement (30 ECTS).

You also need to document:

Applicants with an interest in past climatic, geomorphological and environmental reconstructions (e.g. related to glaciers, hydrology, sea level, wind) from glacierized regions of the last ice age and present interglacial (the Holocene) will be prioritized.

Recommended previous knowledge

Applicants with only basic knowledge in physical geography may take the following bachelor level courses in physical geography at Department of Geography, or similar, to qualify for admission to the Master's Programme in Physical Geography:

  • GEO204 Quantitative methods (5 ECTS)
  • GEO212 Terrestrial Climate and Environmental Changes (15 ECTS)
  • GEO291 Field Course in Physical Geography (10 ECTS)

Study period abroad

We encourage students to take parts of their curriculum as exchange student at one of our Erasmus partner universities or to take courses at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS). For master students it is possible to do an exchange semester in the second semester. Application deadline for Erasmus Exchange is 1 September in the first semester. Application deadline for UNIS is 15 October.

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, seminars, labs and field courses

Grading scale


Administrative responsibility

Department of Geography