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Course content

The course provides a thorough introduction of the range of behaviours found in animals, and of scientific methods used to study animal behaviour in the field and in the lab.

Animal behaviour integrates knowledge from a range of fields, including ecology, evolutionary biology, physiology, and psychology. The course is useful for anyone wishing to broaden their background within these fields, such as students in biology, medicine, psychology, and anthropology (please read "Admission to the course"). The subject is also popular for teaching in school.

Learning outcome

After completing the course, students should

  • Have knowledge of the main genetic, physiological, and developmental mechanisms underpinning individual behaviour.
  • Be able to describe the main historical developments leading to the current state of the field of animal behaviour, including the role of the nature-nurture debate.
  • Be able to describe central evolutionary theories used to explain animal behaviour.
  • Be able to describe and explain main concepts and theories, such as proximate and ultimate explanations, fitness, altruism, optimality, and game theory.
  • Have acquired skills in critical reading of scientific literature and be able to design experiments to study animal behaviour.
  • Have acquired skills to make an ethogram from observing animal behaviour.

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.

Special admission requirements

In addition to fulfilling the Higher Education Entrance Qualification, applicants have to meet the following special admission requirements:

  • Mathematics R1 (or Mathematics S1 and S2)

And in addition one of these:

  • Mathematics R2
  • Physics (1+2)
  • Chemistry (1+2)
  • Biology (1+2)
  • Information technology (1+2)
  • Geosciences (1+2)
  • Technology and theories of research (1+2)

Mathematics R2 was a requirement up until and including the study year 2021/2022, as part of a trial arrangement. From and including the study year 2022/2023, Mathematics R2 is no longer a requirement.

The special admission requirements may also be covered by equivalent studies from Norwegian upper secondary school or by other equivalent studies (in Norwegian).

It is an advantage to have a general biological background, including basic knowledge of ecology, evolution and physiology.

Overlapping courses


  • Lectures
  • Seminars  
  • Mandatory reports (hand-ins)

The course is based on lectures covering central topics, and seminars providing practical exercises and in-depth discussions. Three mandatory reports (hand-ins) need to be approved to take the exam.

Attendance is mandatory for the first lecture. This also applies for those on the waiting list. You will lose your seat on the course if notice is not given to the student administration prior to the first lecture.


Final written exam, counting 100% towards the final mark. 

Mandatory course work must be approved before the student can attend the exam. 

Approved mandatory course work is valid for 3 years.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English. You may submit your response 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.

Resit an examination

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

Special examination arrangements, use of sources, explanations and appeals

See more about examinations at UiO

Last updated from FS (Common Student System) May 21, 2022 8:17:09 AM

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