Master's Programme in Paleobiology - PANGEA

120 credits

Programme syllabus, TPA2M

Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 6 November 2023
Registration number
TEKNAT 2023/166
Responsible faculty
Faculty of Science and Technology
Responsible department
Department of Earth Sciences

Decisions and guidelines

According to the decision by the Vice Chancellor 2020-05-05, Uppsala University will from Autumn term 2020 offer a Master's Programme in Paleobiology - PANGEA (UFV 2020/852).

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university. Also required is 90 credits in earth science or 90 credits in biology.

Language requirements

Proficiency in English. For more information about English language requirements, see the PANGEA website.


The Master's programme in Paleobiology - PANGEA at Uppsala University will provide the student with knowledge, skills and competence required for qualified professional activities in a diversified Earth Science labour market. After completing the programme, the student should be able to independently analyse problems, make syntheses and carry out evaluations within the area of ​​specialization and have a good understanding of applications in nearby Earth Sciences fields. The education should also provide a good basis for doctoral studies, within or outside the country.

Throughout the education, systematic and progressive skills training is given in oral and written communication. After completing the programme, the student can apply for a Master's degree.

Learning outcomes

According to the Higher Education Act, the following applies for second-cycle studies:

Second-cycle studies shall be based fundamentally on the knowledge acquired by students during first-cycle courses and study programmes, or its equivalent.

Second-cycle studies shall involve the acquisition of specialist knowledge, aptitudes and accomplishments in relation to first-cycle courses and study programmes, and in addition to the requirements for first-cycle courses and study programmes shall:

  • further develop the ability of students to integrate and make autonomous use of their knowledge,
  • develop the student´s ability to deal with complex phenomena, issues and situations, and
  • develop the student´s potential for professional activities that demand considerable autonomy, or for research and development work. Ordinance (2006:173).

Objectives for a Degree of Master (120 credits) according to the Higher Education Ordinance, System of Qualifications:

Knowledge and understanding

For a Degree of Master (120 credits) students must

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding in their main field of study, including both broad knowledge in the field and substantially deeper knowledge of certain parts of the field, together with deeper insight into current research and development work; and
  • demonstrate deeper methodological knowledge in their main field of study.

For the Master's Degree in Paleobiology - PANGEA this concludes:

  • show significant knowledge of how the biosphere and the various geosystems interact or individually affect the planet Earth in time and space
  • show an interdisciplinary approach to geoscientific issues by applying or linking knowledge in adjacent subject areas such as Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics/Statistics
  • be able to independently apply knowledge in research, development and investigation work.

Skills and abilities

For a Degree of Master (120 credits) students must

  • demonstrate an ability to critically and systematically integrate knowledge and to analyse, assess and deal with complex phenomena, issues and situations, even when limited information is available;
  • demonstrate an ability to critically, independently and creatively identify and formulate issues and to plan and, using appropriate methods, carry out advanced tasks within specified time limits, so as to contribute to the development of knowledge and to evaluate this work;
  • demonstrate an ability to clearly present and discuss their conclusions and the knowledge and arguments behind them, in dialogue with different groups, orally and in writing, in national and international contexts; and
  • demonstrate the skill required to participate in research and development work or to work independently in other advanced contexts.

For the Master's Degree in Paleobiology - PANGEA this concludes:

  • have the ability to work, plan and manage work in project form / group work
  • be able to independently be responsible for and, on a scientific basis, conduct investigations of complicated geoscientific problems
  • be able to critically review, analyse and evaluate models and results in the specialist field of study
  • have advanced skills for computer-based tasks, practical handling and interpretation of analysis data and field studies

Judgement and approach

For a Degree of Master (120 credits) students must

  • demonstrate an ability to make assessments in their main field of study, taking into account relevant scientific, social and ethical aspects, and demonstrate an awareness of ethical aspects of research and development work;
  • demonstrate insight into the potential and limitations of science, its role in society and people's responsibility for how it is used; and
  • demonstrate an ability to identify their need of further knowledge and to take responsibility for developing their knowledge.

For the Master's Degree in Paleobiology - PANGEA this concludes:

  • be able to apply their knowledge independently in the perspective of sustainable development

Layout of the programme

The programme has only one track in which Uppsala University is the teaching university. The course content is balanced to be suitable both for a possible doctoral programme and for professional activities within companies and authorities.

The first semester of this specialisation is given at Université de Lille, and the second and third semester are given by Uppsala University according to current outline. The fourth semester contains an independent degree project and can be conducted at either Uppsala University or Université de Lille, at one of the partner universities, at company/public sector (


The Master's programme is based on the experiences and knowledge that the students bring from their Bachelor's studies. The students are expected to participate and contribute actively in classes and take great responsibility for both their own and their fellow students' learning. The teachers of the programme are responsible for creating good conditions for active individual and shared learning. The teaching is designed and developed continuously through a respectful dialogue between teachers and students, where everyone contributes to the renewal and mutual learning.

Field studies are an important part of the education. The field work can be physically demanding and sometimes includes several days in a row in another location.


The degrees will, after completed and approved studies, be issued individually by Uppsala University and Université de Lille. Upon request, the Vice Chancellor issues diplomas for the Master of Science (120 credits) with Earth Science as the main field of study.

A Degree of Master is a so called general degree, which means that the student achieve the degree in its main subject according to the criteria below, regardless of the courses being part of the programme or not, therefore there is a possibility also to include single subject courses in the degree.

Regulations according to Higher Education Ordinance

A Degree of Master (120 credits) is obtained after the student has completed course requirements of 120 higher education credits with a certain area of specialisation determined by each higher education institution itself, including at least 60 higher education credits with in-depth studies in the main field of study. In addition, the student must hold a Degree of Bachelor, a Degree of Bachelor of Arts in…, a professional degree worth at least 180 higher education credits or an equivalent foreign qualification.

For a Degree of Master (120 credits) students must have completed an independent project (degree project) worth at least 30 higher education credits in their main field of study.

Local regulations

A degree of Master (120 credits) may, except for courses on advanced level, contain one or several courses on basic level comprising not more than 30 higher education credits. The course or the courses are meant to provide such additional competence as is needed for in-depth studies in the main field of study and cannot be included in the student's basic degree.

For a Degree of Master (120 credits) students must have completed an independent project (degree project) worth at least 30 higher education credits.

Other directives

Application for the programme is done online at via Université de Lille.