Evolutionary Processes

15 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 1BG373

A revised version of the syllabus is available.
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)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 15 April 2010
Responsible department
Biology Education Centre

Entry requirements

150 credits including (1) 60 credits in biology and 30 credits in chemistry or 30 credits in earth science, or (2) 90 credits in biology.

Learning outcomes

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

  • apply central concepts and processes within evolutionary biology
  • explain and study evolutionary processes
  • work with mathematical models of evolutionary processes and explain their structure
  • critically review the underlying assumptions of models and predictions and plan scientific experiments to test these
  • summarise traditional models of evolutionary processes and relate these to modern studies of the same processes
  • evaluate, contrast and explain a position around controversial hypotheses and models of evolutionary processes.

For students who take the course as starting course in the Master's programme in Biology, an introduction to Master's studies is included. After passing this module, the student should be able to

  • show awareness of ethical aspects on research and development including plagiarism
  • demonstrate an understanding of the possibilities of biology, its limitations and its role in the society
  • take responsibility for ones need of knowledge


The course focuses on the following concept and processes: Phenotypic and genetic variation, genetic drift, selection, heredity, inbreeding, phenotype plasticity, genotype-environment interactions, maternal and paternal effects, evolutionary limitations, evolutionary and ecological trade-offs, population differentiation, the species concept and speciation processes, human evolution. Strong emphasis is placed at problem formulation, hypothesis testing and exercises around creative thinking. During exercises focus will also lie on critical evaluation of different approaches to test evolutionary problems, to work in groups during short periods to formulate and plan trials and to present the results of these discussions.


The teaching will be given in the form of lectures, seminars, calculation exercises, laboratory sessions, group work/independent exercises with planning of scientific studies and independent literature work. Within the course, the students carry out a literature project. Students who read the introduction to the Master's programme, which runs as a seminar series during the course period, will carry out a literature project. Participation in seminars, exercises, laboratory sessions and literature project are compulsory.


Modules: Theory 11 credits; Literature project 4 credits alternative literature project 2 credits and the 2 credits for the introduction to the Master's programme.

The theoretical course is examined through written examination and requires active participation in laboratory sessions, exercises and seminars. For the literature project, an essay that is discussed at a seminar is required. For the introduction to the Master's programme, active participation in seminars, written report and implemented study planning are required.