Master's studies

Syllabus for Origin and Early Evolution of Life

Livets tidiga utveckling och uppblomstring

A revised version of the syllabus is available.

  • 15 credits
  • Course code: 1PA002
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Biology A1N, Earth Science A1N
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
  • Established: 2007-03-15
  • Established by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Applies from: week 13, 2008
  • Entry requirements: BSc 180 ECTS credits including minimum 90 ECTS credits in Earth Science alternatively Biology. Knowledge and skill corresponding to Principles of palaeobiology 10 ECTS is recommended but not required.
  • Responsible department: Department of Earth Sciences

Learning outcomes

After completion of the course the student should be able to have

  • understanding of key events in the evolution of life on Earth. In particular: the Precmbrian evolution of life the Phanerozoic diversification of multicellular life, and in depth understanding of the periods of diversification and mass extinctions in Earth's history

  • in depth understanding of the main groups of micro fossils and their phylogeny

  • in depth understanding of animal origin, diversification and phylogeny

  • practical skills in the field and lab using palaeobiological methods

  • competence in synthesizing appropriate information, evaluating ideas, and presenting facts and theories from scientific articles

  • capacity to present ideas, problems and results clearly and succinctly

  • added foundations for further studies in palaeobiology

  • basic vocational skills in palaeobiology


Origin and divergence of prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Palaeobiology and ecology of major clades of unicellular biota (bacteria and protoctista) and their evolution through time. Application in stratigraphy, biotic radiations and extinctions. origin and diversification of the Metazoa. The Phanerozoic evolution of the invertebrates and the plants.


Lectures, seminars, practicals and field course. The participation in seminars, practicals and field course is compulsory.


Examination during or at the end of the course. In addition the compulsory parts must be approved. Possible course grades are U ("fail"), 3, 4 or 5. A student who fails the exam can try again within one month. The field course is equivalent to 2.5 credits and the theoretical part 12.5 credits.

Reading list

The reading list is missing. For further information, please contact the responsible department.