Principles of Palaeobiology

15 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 1PA041

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)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 30 August 2018
Responsible department
Department of Earth Sciences

Entry requirements

120 credits with 90 credits in earth science or biology. Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

Learning outcomes

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

  • discuss the principles of the nature of the fossil record, fossil preservation including exceptional preservation, phylogeny, evolution and classification from a palaeontological perspective
  • identify the major invertebrate fossil groups
  • reconstruct the environment and ecology of selected invertebrate groups both in the laboratory and the field
  • describe and evaluate the ecology of a field collection of fossils including the use of appropriate photographic, preparatory and microscopy techniques
  • assess selected controversies in palaeobiology by reference to the scientific literature


Nature of the fossil record. Principles of palaeobiology and evolution. Classification and phylogeny. Evolution and the fossil record. Palaeoecology. Current topics in palaeobiology. Practical work with fossils.


Lectures, seminars, practicals and field course.


Written examination (7.5 credits). Practicals and field course (2.5 credits), active participation in seminars (2.5 credits), written essay (2.5 credits).

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.

Other directives

The field course will cause costs for travel and accommodation for the student.