spring 2017
BIO-3529 Academic skills - 5 ECTS

Sist endret: 04.05.2017

Type of course

Multi-disciplinary course. This is a master course designed for students of the Department of arctic and marine biology and the Norwegian College of Fishery Science.

Admission requirements

The course may be taken as a single course by students who meet the admission requirements for a MA program. The course is designed for first year MA-students, but may also be taken the second year. The maximum limit of participants is 25.

Course content

Writing a MA thesis benefits from the acquisition of competencies outside of the specific study, e.g. being aware of current academic norms, mastering the academic writing style, knowing how to retrieve, evaluate, and treat sources, and having some familiarity with the publication process.

This course gives MA students an opportunity to enhance their own academic skills relevant for their level of study. Combining discipline-specific writing and the above-mentioned themes, the participants learn how to best approach the MA writing process.

The course is organized around four main sections.

  • How to approach the work on the MA-thesis, with seminars on the purpose and format of scientific papers, academic integrity - including using sources according to best practice, and the benefits in using the University Library in the process.
  • More hands-on aspects of the writing process, i.e. literature search, the reference management tool EndNote, and scientific English.
  • Digging into the MA thesis, with examinations of the structure and content of the Methods and Results/Discussion sections - obligatory parts of a scientific work at this level.
  • Presenting and sharing research with others, with seminars on research data and open access publishing, and oral presentation techniques.

Objectives of the course


  • Know and explain the purpose of academic work
  • Know and explain current academic norms
  • Know and explain the main components of a MA thesis
  • Be familiar with the basic components of a scientific English writing style
  • Know and explain the purpose and advantages of open science


  • Be able to structure a MA thesis
  • Be able to structure and document research data in line with good academic practice
  • Be able to cite academic work in line with existing norms and conventions
  • Be able to select relevant scientific databases for literature searches, including OA publishers
  • Be able to use EndNote for citing and organizing references

General competence:

  • Know how to carry out academic work with academic integrity
  • Know how to plan, evaluate and edit scientific text
  • Communicate research in a written and oral format
  • Provide and receive constructive evaluation to/from peer
    Know how to manage your research data according to best practice
  • Know how to use the University Library

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

The course has a seminar format, organized as interactive sessions combining theory and lessons with discussion and practice. Some hours are entirely devoted to group work.


Oral exam: Make a 10-minute presentation on your master-project. Use how to make scientific presentations - format as far as possible (found on Fronter).Grade: Pass/Fail.

Coursework requirements:
1) Obligatory attendance on 80% of lectures
2) Obligatory attendance in group-work assignments
3) Post-work assignment: Give the presentation to your research-group/the institute/at a workshop or conference.

Re-sit: No.


Recommended reading/syllabus

  • Om emnet
  • Studiested: Tromsø |
  • Studiepoeng: 5
  • Emnekode: BIO-3529