BIOS4910IGEM – International Genetically Engineered Machine

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Course content

This is a unique course in the Department of Biosciences. BIOS4910iGEM is meant for students from different disciplines who are interested in participating in iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine). iGEM is an international competition in synthetic biology. Student teams will innovate new science that could solve local and global challenges. Through supervised meetings, brain storming sessions, innovation design-thinking workshops and teamwork meetings you will design and plan a project suitable for the iGEM competition. Through supervision in the molecular lab you conduct a project using biological parts called BioBricks from the iGEM repository. The relevance and novelty of the project is tested through communication with the public, stakeholders and other iGEM teams from all over the world.

All aspects of the project must be documented in an online Wiki system provided by iGEM, and the team must present their project at the iGEM conference for a judging panel on an international stage.

More details about the iGEM competition, the principles of synthetic biology, and the achievements of previous iGEM teams can be found here:

Learning outcome

After completing the course you can:

  • Design and plan innovation projects
  • Explain the principles of basic and advanced methods of synthetic and molecular biology  and plan and conduct your own experiments
  • Apply project management in an interdisciplinary setting
  • Communicate scientific results, written and orally, to a broad audiences
  • Explain how you would implement your project in the real world.

Admission to the course

Master students from all directions of study at UiO can apply, as long as they are full-time students in at least one of the two semesters that overlap with the iGEM competition. Bachelor students at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences in their last year of study can also apply for admission to the course. Interested students who do not fulfill the above requirements are encouraged to contact the course responsible (see below).

Registration to BIOS4910iGEM is a two-step process. In a first step, interested students must contact Professor Dirk Linke ( and Athanasios Saragliadis (, and will be invited to the initial team meetings. In these meeting, the students learn more details about the iGEM competition, and at the same time start a discussion on the type of project they would like to pursue.

In a second step, after the supervisors appraise individual students motivation, and after a project outline has been decided, the students can officially sign up for the course with the study administration.

This course requires a minimum of 5 students to be part of the the team. However, team sizes of 7-10 students are more optimal.

Students are responsible themselves for acceptance of the course as part of their masters study program (different rules might apply in different departments or faculties). The course teachers are available to help in this process.

Please contact Dirk Linke ( and Athanasios Saragliadis ( to register your interest before February 1st. A short motivation letter should be included.

Formal prerequisite knowledge

A motivation letter must be submitted before February 1st.

All master students and bachelor students in the last semester of a bachelor program at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences can apply for the course.

Overlapping courses


The course will consist of a student-driven interdisciplinary project in synthetic biology. Supervisors will guide the student team, who are expected to find the necessary information to conduct the innovative project using biological parts called BioBricks from the iGEM repository. The team will attend regular meetings (at least every 2 weeks, starting in February), while the overall work plan is very flexible and can be adjusted to the needs of the team members. Please note that the main practical laboratory work and work with the wiki will have to be performed from May to October (including July).


There is no formal exam. "Successful" completion of the course exam will consist of two parts:

Part one is complete submission of the materials required for the iGEM competition, and each student must demonstrate his/her individual contribution to these materials and to the general team effort. Part two is the successful participation at the iGEM Jamboree. Teams are expected to achieve at least "bronze" standards based on the iGEM judging rules.

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: MBV4910IGEM – International Genetically Engineered Machine (continued).

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Resit an examination

Due to the special setup of the iGEM competition, there is no opportunity to resit parts of the course. If a student cannot participate in the iGEM Jamboree (e.g. for health reasons), he/she must contact the supervisors as soon as possible. Appropriate arrangements may be made.

The course is a pass/fail course, and is evaluated based on a long-term project effort. Withdrawing from the course is possible, but partial credit is not given if the course is not completed.

Special examination arrangements, use of sources, explanations and appeals

See more about examinations at UiO

Last updated from FS (Common Student System) Dec. 3, 2022 11:20:39 PM

Facts about this course


Covers two semesters (including July), starting every spring.

February to October or November (depending on the date for the iGEM Jamboree).

Teaching language