GEOG3528 - Earth Surface Evolution: observational evidence and numerical modelling


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Assignment and written examination
Grade: Letters

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Assignment 4/10
Off campus exam 6/10 4 hours
Written exam 6/10 4 hours D

Course content

This course looks at the Earth's inner and outer forces and how they affect and develop the Earth's surface through time based on the interpretation of empirical field data and indirect geophysical observations combined with process understanding through numerical modelling. The mutually beneficial relationship between field-based investigations, numerical data analysis and modelling in current research topics in physical geography will be demonstrated in lectures and by means of practical exercises. Examples of systems and processes covered include global perspectives on the mantle dynamics, plate tectonics, mountain building, global hydrological and erosion cycles, evolution of the climate system and biosphere, and surface energy budget.

Learning outcome

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


By the end of the course, students will:

  • demonstrate competence in describing and applying a wide variety of data to diverse research problems in physical geography and parallel disciplines;
  • be able to visualize geophysical data and apply various statistical and analytical treatments to quantify errors, enable comparison with other datasets, and interpret results;
  • be able to use these data to formulate scientific hypotheses and test them with data analysis and simple numerical models;
  • have an understanding of basic empirical modelling principles and model limitations.


By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • analyze and interpret empirical data relevant to local, regional, and global scale issues in physical geography;
  • visualize and perform basic analyses on observational data using MatLab;
  • apply simple models to explore underlying principles and processes in Earth systems.

General competence:

By the end of the course, students will;

  • have advanced knowledge on observational techniques and empirically-based models related to the processes affecting Earth’s surface and be able to communicate on this topic to both specialists and the general public;
  • improved ability to read and write scientific articles, and extract the essence of scientific findings and methods;
  • demonstrate independent, critical thinking and apply their knowledge to current research problems in physical geography and parallel disciplines.

Learning methods and activities

Lectures up to 22 hours. Practical exercises: computer labs x 6 (12 hours). 

The compulsory assignments and the exam must be completed in English. Exceptions must be clarified with the lecturer responsible for the course.

Compulsory assignments

  • Mandatory attendance of minimum 4 of 6 exercises and submission of solutions for all 6 labs.

Further on evaluation

The examination consists of two parts, a 4 hour written examination (worth 60% of the final grade) and  assignments (worth 40% of the final grade). All parts of the exam have to be submitted and graded E or better in order to pass the course.

It is possible to retake parts of the exam. The written examination is offered both semesters. The assignments can only be taken in the semester the course is taught. Candidates wishing to retake the assignment part of the exam must register for classes and examination.

Please note that mandatory activities and lectures may start prior to the registration deadline.

Specific conditions

Compulsory activities from previous semester may be approved by the department.

Required previous knowledge

Bachelor's degree, preferably within the discipline of geography. Other relevant qualification can be accepted upon approval by the Department of Geography.

More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Second degree level


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  AUTUMN 2021

Language of instruction: English

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Geography
Contact information
Course coordinator:

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Geography


Examination arrangement: Assignment and written examination

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Autumn ORD Assignment 4/10 INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
Autumn ORD Off campus exam 6/10





Room Building Number of candidates
Spring ORD Written exam 6/10 D 2022-06-08 09:00 INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
Spring ORD Assignment 4/10 INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

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