Laboratory Methods in the Geosciences

Course content

At the heart of laboratory approaches in both geography and geology lie some key geochemical, biological and physical methods. This course will introduce you to fundamental practical laboratory methods and the theory behind the study of soil, sediment and water in the geosciences. The introduced methods allow for a systems understanding of geochemical, physical and biological processes, including the carbon cycle, nutrient availability and microbial processes.


BSc Programme in Geology-Geoscience
BSc programme in Geography and Geoinformatics

Learning outcome


Hands-on experience in the lab will train practical skills in how to test a scientific hypothesis in lab, how to collect field samples and analytical data, and how to account for representativeness and reproducibility. Fundamental lab safety will be trained in theory and practice. Key methods covered in the course include:


  • Fundamental laboratory safety in soil science, geochemistry and geobiology
  • Introduction of basic calculations needed in daily work in a geoscience laboratory, i.e., density, molar weight, molarity, ppm/ppb conversions, % solutions, dilution ratio/dilution factor, linear regression, as well as basic statistical analysis.
  • Introduction to sampling of soil, sediment, and water.
  • Demonstration and training of specific analytical approaches include, i.e., soil bulk density and soil pore distribution, spectrophotometry analyses, i.e., of ionic species in porewater, titration, pH meter, grain size determination, cation exchange capacity, iron oxide extraction, sample filtration and dissolved ion analysis, C/N content, DOC/DON, microbial biomass (chloroform fumigation extraction), microbial cell plating and counts, non-destructive XRF analysis of sediment and powders at an introductory level.



  • The student can demonstrate understanding and application of standard laboratory safety in the execution of geochemical, physical and biological methods.
  • The student is able to perform standard calculations required to execute laboratory protocols in biogeochemistry, as well as assess and analyse produced data. 
  • The student can demonstrate ability and manual skills in practical laboratory skills, i.e., preparing solutions, sample collection in the field and lab, pipetting, titration, pH measurements.
  • The student successfully bridges theory and practice in their analysis of produced laboratory results.



  • Analyses and assessment of analytical results of laboratory analysis of soil, sediment and water.
  • Learn to work independently in a geoscience laboratory.

Practical laboratory work, some fieldwork, lectures, theoretical and quantitative exercises.
Please see Absalon for details of the teaching plan.

Please see Absalon.

To follow the teaching, a knowledge level corresponding to the compulsory courses of the BSc geography & geoinformatics or of the BSc in geology-geoscience educations is recommended.

This course is reserved for the students in the BSc Programme Geography and BSc Programme ind Geology-Geoscience.

Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, During course
Type of assessment details
The written assignment is a portfolio of lab reports and exercises, with ongoing preparation and feedback throughout the course. It is prepared during the course and must be handed in prior to the exam week.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.

(Re-)submission of (revised) written assignment. The written assignment must be handed in prior to the re-examination week. 

Criteria for exam assessment

Please see learning outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 152
  • Theory exercises
  • 12
  • Laboratory
  • 42
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level

1 block

Block 2
The number of places might be reduced if you register in the late-registration period (BSc and MSc) or as a credit or single subject student.
Study Board of Geosciences and Management
Contracting department
  • Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Camilla Ruø Rasmussen   (3-657474426b6970306d7730666d)
Saved on the 27-02-2024

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students