Evolutionary Processes

15 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 1BG373

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, 6 February 2024
Responsible department
Biology Education Centre

Entry requirements

Completed courses of 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. Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

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 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
  • discuss the potential and limitations of biology and its role in society.

The course includes the module Generic competences. After completion of this module, the student should be able to:

  • account for ethical aspects of research and development, including questions of plagiarism and equal opportunities/equal treatment.


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, ecological trade-offs, population differentiation, the species concept and speciation processes. 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. Ethics, plagiarism and equal opportunities/equal treatment.


The teaching will be given in the form of lectures, seminars, calculation exercises, group work and independent exercises with planning of scientific studies and independent literature work. Within the course, the students carry out a literature project. Participation in seminars, exercises, and literature project are compulsory.


Modules: Theory 12 credits; Project work 2 credits; Generic competences 1 credit.

The theoretical course is examined through written examination and requires active participation in laboratory sessions, exercises and seminars. For the project work, an essay that is discussed at a seminar is required. Generic competences are examined through written tests. Anyone who has studied a course containing the module Generic competences will study Generic competences 2, which is examined through active participation in a seminar.

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.