Syllabus for Fundamental and Molecular Systematics

Allmän och molekylär systematik


  • 10 credits
  • Course code: 1BG393
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Biology A1N
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
  • Established: 2012-03-08
  • Established by:
  • Revised: 2022-10-14
  • Revised by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Applies from: Autumn 2023
  • Entry requirements:

    A Bachelor's degree including (1) 60 credits in biology and 30 credits in chemistry or 30 credits earth science, or (2) 90 credits in biology. In both cases, participation in Alphataxonomical Principles, 5 hp. Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

  • Responsible department: Biology Education Centre

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, the student should be able to

  • discuss and apply principles of delimitation and identification of species and other taxa
  • account for the central concepts of the field and principles of phylogenetic analysis, especially based on the parsimony criterion
  • discuss and apply methods to generate relevant molecular data, mainly sequence data
  • choose and apply existing software in the included course parts, from generating relevant molecular data to phylogenetic analysis
  • critically analyse, evaluate, compile, and present the results of phylogenetic analyses.


The course deals with central concepts of general and molecular systematics, technologies for collection of molecular data and basic methods for phylogenetic analysis. Systematic issues and methods to address these; phylogenetic trees, the homology concept, classification. Phylogenetics; characters and character coding, sequence alignment, the parsimony criterion and other optimality criteria, tree search, sampling error and support, practical phylogenetic analysis. Delimitation and identification of taxa; species concepts, criteria and methods to delimit species in practice, identification of species with DNA sequences. Molecular data; types of molecular data for phylogenetic analysis and identification, extraction, amplification and sequencing of DNA.


The course consists of lectures, seminars and laboratory sessions.


Parts of the course: Theory 5 credits; Laboratory sessions 5 credits

The theory part is examined through written examination, written report, and seminars. The laboratory part has compulsory

attendance with oral and written presentations.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the disability coordinator of the university.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: Autumn 2023

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

  • Baum, David A.; Smith, Stacey D. Tree thinking : an introduction to phylogenetic biology

    Greenwood Village, Colo.: Roberts, c2013

    Find in the library

Last modified: 2022-04-26