MBV4910IGEM – International Genetically Engineered Machine

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Changes in the course due to coronavirus

Spring 2021 the exams of most courses at the MN Faculty will be conducted as digital home exams or oral exams, using the normal grading scale. The semester page for your course will be updated with any changes in the form of examination.

See more information about examination at the MN Faculty spring 2021.

Course content

This is a unique course in the department of biosciences. MBV4910iGEM is meant for students from all fields of study who are interested in participating in iGEM, an international competition in synthetic biology. The students will work as a team to:

  • design and plan a project suitable for the iGEM competition
  • execute a project using "biological parts"
  • engage with the public and with the media about their project
  • recruit sponsors for funding the project
  • collaborate with other teams from all over the world
  • document all aspects of their project in an online Wiki system provided by iGEM
  • participate in the final presentation of the project at the iGEM finals in Boston, USA

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

More information about the competition and about iGEM at UiO can be found under student life and at iGEM.org.


UiO iGEM on Facebook

UiO iGEM blog

Learning outcome

After completing the course the student should:

  • Have a broad understanding of the principles of synthetic biology
  • Be able to work in an interdisciplinary team to solve problems
  • Be able to communicate scientific results, written and orally, to a broad audience

Admission to the course

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

Registration to MBV4910iGEM is a two-step process. In a first step, interested students must contact Professor Dirk Linke (dirk.linke@ibv.uio.no), 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 to register your interest to dirk.linke@ibv.uio.no 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 students, which are expected to find necessary information to execute the project on the internet and in the scientific literature. The students have to attend regular meetings (at least every 2 weeks, starting in February), and have to be willing to work on their project also during the summer break. 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 in 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.

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) Apr. 21, 2021 2:22:49 PM

Facts about this course


Covers two semesters, starting every spring.

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

The course is last held autumn 2020

Teaching language