BIO4240 – Evolution and Systematics of Organismal Groups: The Animal Kingdom

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

The animal kingdom provides by far the largest proportion to Earth's biodiversity and they have occupied all habitats on Earth including other organisms. In this subject we will present the recent knowledge across different animal groups concerning the evolution of their diversity and adaptive solutions to similar ecological challenges in different groups. The evolution of these traits will be set in relation to the recent understanding of the animal phylogeny, and taxonomy. In this subject special emphasis will be put on groups, which are requested by the participating students, as well as on collection-based work as it is conducted at a Natural History Museum. Hence, the subject will also comprise classes about career opportunities like as collection management or exhibition development.

Learning outcome

At the end of the subject:

  • You will have gained knowledge about different animal groups and their body plans.
  • You will have gotten insight into the evolution and classification of animals as well as modern research methods and important fields for research.
  • You will have learned to how to identify a board diversity of animals and to work with collection material.
  • You will know about both academic and non-academic career opportunities in this study area.
  • You will have learnt how to present scientific knowledge, to write scientific papers like species descriptions and research papers.
  • You will have developed competence in critical analyses and scientific thinking through the different forms of discussions, which are part of the teaching outline.


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.

Applicants are ranked by the following criteria:
1. Master students at the MN faculty who have the course as part of the approved curriculum.
2. Students with admission to single courses on master’s level and exchange students
3. 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


Recommended previous knowledge

BIO2120 og BIO4210


The teaching comprises classes about different animal groups, recent research areas in the field as well as collection management, exhibition development and working with databases. The classes will consist off a mix of lectures, practical tasks, visits of collections and exhibitions as well as seminars discussing research papers. The course will take place at Lids hus, Natural History Museum, Tøyen.

First lecture is mandatory.  If you can not attend the first lecture, please send a note to, before the first lecture.



One written species description is weighted 40% and one essay (10 pages) is weighted 60%.

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.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

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

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

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: BIOS4215 – Evolution and Systematics of Organismal Groups: The Animal Kingdom

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.


The course is only given if four or more students meet on the first lecture.

How to find us:
The lectures and seminars are given in the auditorium in Lids hus which is located in the Botanical Garden at Tøyen. Download map here.


Facts about this course






Every other spring starting 2018

The course will be replaced by BIOS4215 from spring 2020.


Every other spring starting 2018

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)