BIO4240 - Evolution and Systematics of Organismal Groups: The Animal Kingdom

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course presents the recent knowledge across animal groups and their diversity, the evolution of animal traits across the different groups in relation to the recent understanding of the animal phylogeny, systematics and taxonomy. Moreover, the course covers modern research areas and the methods used in these subjects with a special emphasis on examples from current research including collection-based one at Department of Research and Collections of the Natural History Museum at UiO. Teaching on morphological diversity is also given at a 7-day field course at the University Biological Station in Drøbak.

Learning outcome

At the end of the course:

  • You will have gained knowledge about the different animal groups and their body plans.
  • You will have gotten insight into the evolution and classification of animals as well as modern research methods and important fields for research.
  • You will have learned to how to identify a board diversity of animals through the field course.
  • You will know how animals can be sampled in the field.
  • You will have learnt how to present scientific knowledge, to write scientific papers like species descriptions and research papers and to develop an identification key for an animal species.
  • You will have developed competence in critical analyses and scientific thinking through the different forms of discussions, which are part of the teaching outline.


Students admitted at UiO must apply for courses in Studentweb. Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

Nordic citizens and applicants residing in the Nordic countries may apply to take this course as a single course student.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures for international applicants.

Applicants are ranked by the following criteria:
1. Master students at the MN faculty who have the course as part of the approved curriculum.
2. Students with admission to single courses on master’s level and exchange students
3. Applicants are ranked by credits in each group; all applicants within 1st rank before applicants in 2nd etc. If admission is limited to a fixed number of participants, admission will be decided by drawing lots for students who are ranked equally


Recommended previous knowledge

BIO2120 og BIO4210


The teaching comprises lectures about the different animal groups, a seminar about recent research areas in the field and a field course. Students will give a presentation about a recent research topic in the seminar and additional short presentations at the beginning of each lecture summarizing the previous lecture. Compulsory attendance at seminars with active participation in discussion and field course is required. The course will take place at Lids hus, Natural History Museum, Tøyen. First lecture is mandatory.

The field course is in spring 2017 given at Drøbak. The field course has a fee of 150 NKR pr. Day.

As the teaching involves fieldwork, you should consider taking out a separate travel and personal risk insurance. Read about your insurance cover as a student.


One oral presentation during the seminar and brief written summaries after each lecture must be approved.

One written species description including an identification key weighted 40% and one essay (10 pages) is weighted 60%.

Language of examination

You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

This course offers both postponed and resit of examination. Read more:

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.


The course is only given if four or more students meet on the first lecture.

How to find us:
The lectures and seminars are given in the auditorium in Lids hus which is located in the Botanical Garden at Tøyen. Download map here.


Facts about this course






Next time spring 2017.


Next time spring 2017.

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)