BIOS5412 – Toxicants in Ecosystems and Humans: Exposure and Accumulation

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Changes in the course due to coronavirus

Autumn 2020 we plan for teaching and examinations to be conducted as described in the course description and on semester pages. However, changes may occur due to the corona situation. You will receive notifications about any changes at the semester page and/or in Canvas.

Spring 2020: Teaching and examinations was digitilized. See changes and common guidelines for exams at the MN faculty spring 2020.

Course content

The course gives insight into how toxicants are distributed in the environment and accumulated by humans and other organisms. The course focuses on mechanisms and processes that are important to understand distribution and accumulation of toxicants and how these processes are affected by other stressors, physiological and ecological adaptations, life history traits and the phylogenetic history of the organism. The course encompasses both different ecosystems, including organisms and humans.

Learning outcome

The course will provide in-depth knowledge of how toxicants are distributed in the environment and different ecosystems, and how they accumulate in plants, animals, and humans.

After completing the course, you will have knowledge:

  • Concerning important drivers for distribution and accumulation of toxicants, including environmental, chemical, physical, physiological and ecological factors.
  • About different methods used to monitor the toxicant exposure in ecosystems and humans, as well as describing the extent of uptake and biomagnification.
  • About exposure- and accumulation-models, statistical tools within ecotoxicology, as well as an understanding of different accumulation metrics and how to calculate them.

Admission to the course

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.

PhD-candidates must register for BIOS9412 – Toxicants in Ecosystems and Humans: Exposure and Accumulation

The courses BIOS5412 and BIOS9412 have common admission. Applicants are ranked by the following criteria: 

  1. PhD candidates and master students at the MN faculty who have the course as part of the approved curriculum.
  2. Other PhD candidates, master students and visiting PhD candidates.
  3. Students with admission to single courses on master’s level and exchange students

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

Formal prerequisite knowledge

HMS0503 – Laboratory Safety

HMS0504 – Field Safety

BIO4500 – General Toxicology

BIOS1120 – Fysiologi

BIOS2100 – General Ecology

BIOS3000 – Design and analysis of biological studies

Overlapping courses


  • Lectures
  • Fieldwork (compulsory): 2 days
  • Computer-exercises (compulsory)
  • Lab-exercises (compulsory)
  • Discussion groups

Participation in Health and Safety courses are required prior to lab-exercises and fieldwork. Mandatory course work must be approved before the student can attend the exam. Approved mandatory assignments and activites are valid for 1 year.

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 documentation for absence is not provided to the student administration prior to the first lecture.

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

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, (4 hours) counts 100%.

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

Exam attempts

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: BIOS9412 - Toxicants in Ecosystems and Humans: Exposure and Accumulation

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

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

Students who can document a valid reason for absence from the regular examination are offered a postponed exam at the beginning of the next semester.

New examinations are offered at the beginning of the next semester for students who do not successfully complete the exam during the previous semester.

We do not offer a re-scheduled exam for students who withdraw during the exam.

Special examination arrangements, use of sources, explanations and appeals

See more about examinations at UiO

Last updated from FS (Common Student System) July 11, 2020 1:15:42 AM

Facts about this course

Teaching language
Norwegian (English on request)