GEOG3528 - Earth Surface Evolution: observational evidence and numerical modelling


This course is no longer taught and is only available for examination.

Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Assignment and Written examination
Grade: Letter grades

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Assignment 3/10
School exam on campus 7/10 4 hours E

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 data, numerical data analyses, and modelling in current research topics in Physical Geography are demonstrated in lectures and by means of practical exercises in computer labs. Examples of systems and processes covered include global perspectives on the mantle dynamics, plate tectonics, mountain building, global hydrological and erosion cycles, and long-term evolution of the climate system. The course offers a strong training in MatLab including analyses, visualizations, and animations of real-world observations from climate reanalysis and bathymetry datasets.

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;
  • have a comprehension of the interplays between internal and external Earth processes that have shaped continents, sea floor, and landscapes;
  • 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 visualization;
  • 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 and parallel disciplines;
  • visualize and perform analyses on observational data using MatLab;
  • apply simple models to explore underlying principles and processes in Earth systems;
  • write scientific reports and perform independent research on a pre-defined research topic.

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;
  • have an 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 20 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.

Teaching will only be given if a sufficient number of students register for the course and if the Department has sufficient teaching resources. See for the most up to date information on the courses not being offered.

Compulsory assignments

  • Attendance of minimum 4 of 6 practical exercises and submission of solutions for all 6 computer labs

Further on evaluation

The examination consists of two parts, a 4 hour written examination (worth 70% of the final grade) and one assignment (worth 30% of the final grade). All parts of the exam must 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.

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


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 School exam on campus 7/10 E 2023-11-24 09:00 INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
SL110 Sluppenvegen 14 5
Autumn ORD Assignment 3/10





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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