Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

Through practical experiments and computing exercises, the course provides thorough introduction into the essential statistical concepts and gives basic skills in the methodological foundations of modern biological research. The statistical programming environment R is used throughout the course.

Learning outcome

After completing the course we expect your competence to include the following:

  • Be well aquainted with the concepts and be able to explain probability and probability distributions, significance tests and statistical inference, and interpretation of estimates.
  • Have practical skills in statistical modeling, model selection, and hypothesis testing.
  • Know how to plan and perform biological experiments and observational studies in a wide range of field
    and laboratory settings, knowing the statistical basis for the methods, and be well aquainted with the concepts randomization, blocking, confounding, pseudoreplication, multivariate statistical methods, and sampling methods in different disciplines of biology.
  • Know the basic principles of transformations, bootstrapping, likelihood-estimation, Monte Carlo methods, permutation, survival analysis, time series analysis, and Bayesian statistics.
  • Be able to present written scientific results testing biological hypotheses, identifying background conditions using simulated or real datasets.
  • Be able to interpret and evaluate the results and theories in biological journals.
  • Master the statistical programming environment R.
  • Know the basic principles for deterministic– and stochastic models.


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.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

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).

Following courses must be taken in the same semester or earlier than BIO2150:

For students attending BIO2150 autumn 2014 or later, applies that BIO2150 can't be included in a degree before HMS0503 and HMS0504 are passed.

Recommended previous knowledge

Based on knowledge from BIO1000 – Elementary Biology (discontinued), BIO1200 – Biodiversity (discontinued), BIO2100 – General Ecology (continued), MAT1001 – Mathematics 1 (discontinued) and KJM1001 – Introduction to chemistry (continued). Some prior background in statistics (e.g. STK1000 – Introduction to Applied Statistics or similar) is an advantage but not necessary.


The course comprises lectures, compulsory tutorials, compulsory laboratory exercises with hand-in reports, two mandatory practice exercises and one compulsory hand-in report on biostatistics.

The first lecture is compulsory. This subject uses Canvas.

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.


The course has two written exams. Both exams are mandatory and have to be taken in the same semester:

A written 3 Hour long Mid-term exam with multiple choice questions, no permitted materials (35% of the final mark).

A written 4 Hour long End-of-term exam (65% of the final mark), where each student may bring up to ten sheets of paper (A4) with handwritten or printed text, formulas, equations, figures, tables etc., on both sides + calculator.

All mandatory coursework must be completed and approved within given deadlines before the student can attend the end of term exam.

The final grade is based on the total score and a general impression after the final examination.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

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.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

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

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Periodic evaluation Autumn 2013.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language