BIOS3000 – Design and analysis of biological studies

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Teaching and exams spring 2022

At the MN Faculty teaching is in-person this spring, but there may still be cases of online or hybrid teaching.

Please see the semester page, Canvas or your regular channel of information for changes in teaching and form of examination.

Course content

This course is a thorough introduction to design of biological studies and statistical analysis in biology. The focus is on the use of statistical models for analyzing biological patterns and processes. Students are taught fundamental skills in modern biological research through project work, exercises and computer exercises. The statistical environment R is used throughout the course.

Learning outcome

After completing this course, you are expected to:

  • Understand the difference between observational studies and experiments, and be able to assess the results from different types of studies in a biological context
  • Understand the importance of the terms pseudoreplication, confounding effects, experimental control, randomization, sampling skewness, stratified sampling and blocking in analysis of biological studies
  • Be able to carry out Monte Carlo simulations to assess different study design and statistical models
  • Be able to fit biologically relevant models based on the normal, binomial, and Poisson distributions (GLM), and calculate linear contrasts and predictions with confidence intervals, as well as evaluate how well these models fit the data (goodness of fit).
  • Know how to fit hierarchical models with normally distributed response variables and interpret these
  • Know how to assess the sources of bias in models fitted to biological data, including the effects of sampling skewness, measurement error in the predictive variables (attenuation) and loss of study units during the course of the study.
  • Be able to present the scientific results of biological studies in written English, as well as gain experience in working with fellow students and academic staff on research projects

Admission to the course

Priority will be given to students in the bachelor program in Biosciences.

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) + R2

And in addition one of these:

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

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

Formal prerequisite knowledge

STK1000 – Introduction to Applied Statistics or equivalent.

A background in elementary programming equivalent to the content of BIOS1100 – Introduction to computational models for Biosciences is strongly recommended.

Other recommended background courses are BIOS1110 – Celle- og molekylærbiologi (Cell and Molecular Biology), BIOS1120 – Fysiologi (Physiology), BIOS1140 – Evolusjon og genetikk (Evolution and Genetics) and BIOS2100 – General Ecology.

Overlapping courses


The course consists of:

  • Lectures

  • Problem-solving with guidance

  • Mandatory hand-ins

  • A mandatory group project with a written report. 

The curriculum is in English and all reports must be written in English. Attendance to the first lecture is mandatory. If you are unable to attend the first lecture you will lose your seat on the course if you do not inform the student administration prior to the first lecture.

Approved mandatory course work is valid for 3 years.

Access to teaching 

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


Final written exam which counts 100% towards the final grade.

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

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: BIOS4000 – Design and analysis of biological studies, BIO2150 – Biostatistics and Study Design (discontinued), BIO2130 – Bio statistics (discontinued), BIO2110 – Experimental ecology (discontinued)

Examination support material

Examination support material will be allowed. Information will be provided.

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.

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 19, 2022 5:15:58 AM

Facts about this course

Teaching language