BIO4600 – Science Writing
Schedule, syllabus and examination date
Changes in the course due to coronavirus Spring 2020
Teaching and examinations will take place digitally. This may result in changes to your schedule, mandatory activities, exam form and grading scale. See updated information on the semester page and in Canvas.
Writing is an essential part of scientific work. Scientists are required to write dissertations, reports, essays, articles and grant applications. In addition, the communication of scientific ideas to a non-scientific audience is an important skill often neglected by scientists. Much scientific writing is verbose and incorrect, and we, as scientists, often take it for granted that difficult ideas must be expressed in obscure and complicated language. However, the best scientists are able to express complicated ideas in crystal-clear language. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the principles of good writing in general, with a focus on science writing. While the course will be taught in English, and the texts and exercises will be in English, the emphasis will be on good writing habits, which apply to any language. The course is not a course on technical writing, but rather will aim to develop good writing, editing, and journalistic skills. The course will be in the form of 3-hour workshops. The following topics will be covered: Drafts, revisions, the structure of specific types of writing (scientific articles, essays, summaries) and writing for non-scientist readers. The course will discuss general points of style, sentence construction, voice and tense.
By means of workshops, writing exercises, and mutual feedback, you will practice different types of science writing. You will learn to edit and shorten long texts without losing content, to write a brief article on any given scientific topic, to write scientific pieces for a non-scientific readership, and to express scientific ideas clearly and concisely.
Admission to the course
Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.
If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.
PhD-students must register for BIO9600 – Science Writing Please contact the student administration office.
The courses BIO4600 and BIO9600 have joint admission. There is in total12 seats at these subjects. Applicants are ranked by the following criteria:
1. PhD students and master students at the MN faculty who have the course as part of the approved curriculum.
2. Other PhD students and visiting PhD students.
3. Students with admission to single courses on master’s level and exchange students
4. 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
- 5 credits overlap with BIO9600 – Science Writing.
The subject will be given as mandatory workshops. Each week the students will mark and discuss the work of two or three other students, so at the end of the course each student will have substantial feedback from their peers for his/her work. The short exercises will be done during the course, and the final assignment of 1500 words after the completion of the course.
First lecture is mandatory. If you can not attend the first lecture, please send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org, before the first lecture.
The assessment will be based on the completion of 3 short pieces (500 words) during the course, and one longer, final, assignment (1500 words). Students will be expected to complete all writing assignments on time, and attendance every day will be required.
Withdrawal from an examination
It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.
It will also be counted as one of the three attempts to sit the exam for this course, if you sit the exam for one of the following courses: emne: BIO9600.
Examination support material
All examination support material is allowed.
Language of examination
The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.
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.
Resit an examination
This course offers both postponed and resit of examination. Read more: