spring 2020
HEL-8014 Animal Experimentation for Researchers - 6 ECTS

Last changed 22.09.2020

Application deadline

PhD students and students at the Medical Student Research Program at UiT - The Arctic University of Norway go directly to Studentweb to register for class and exam. Deadline for registration is 1 February.

Other applicants apply by 1 February 2020 in Søknadsweb. Application code 9303.

Type of course

PhD course.

Admission requirements

Enrolment to the PhD programme at UiT within biology/biomedicine/health science or enrolment in the "forskerlinjen i medisin" at Helsefak. PhD- and "forskerlinje"-students at the medical faculties at NTNU, UiB and UiO are given access according to a mutual agreement between these universities. Others interested in this course are referred to the course HEL-6320.

For more information regarding PhD courses at the Faculty of Health Sciences go to: http://uit.no/helsefak/forskning/phd/emner

Recommended prerequisites Minimum 3 years education on university or college level (bachelor degree or corresponding) within biomedicine or biology, course in statistics, course in experimental design.

Course content

The course in experimental animal science for researchers is required according to regulatory demands for personnel that will plan and/or conduct animal experiments in Norway. The course follows the requirements in the Norwegian Regulation on Animal Experiment, § 24 and Annex E, Points 1-11. The course also fulfil the requirements for Core Modules and Function Specific Modules for function A and B int the Education and Training Framework published by the European Commission (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/chemicals/lab_animals/pdf/guidance/education_training/en.pdf ).

The consists of theoretical and practical training. The theoretical course will contain of a general 2-days part (core modules) and a special part (3 days, species/function specific modules). In the special part the student can choose either between traditional laboratory animals or fieldwork/wildlife depending of his/hers interest of work.

Academic content theoretical training:

General part (Core Module)

  • Legislation
  • Alternatives to the use of animals in research and training
  • Planning and quality control of animal experiments
  • Pain and stress physiology in animals
  • Severity classification and effect of different procedures in animals
  • Administrative procedures: Application process, reporting and evaluation
  • Ethics, public attitudes
  • Predictive value of animal studies

Laboratory animal module (rodents, rabbits, pigs)

  • Experimental design and statistics
  • Laboratory animal biology (anatomy, physiology, genetics)
  • Housing and care of laboratory animals
  • Effect of environmental factors
  • Choice of animal model
  • Health monitoring, infections and laboratory animal quality
  • Health hazards in laboratory animal facilities
  • Anaesthesia and analgesia
  • General experimental techniques and surgery
  • In vivo imaging techniques
  • Guidelines for reporting animal experiments in scientific literature
  • Humane endpoints and euthanasia

Fieldwork/wildlife module (terrestial and marine wild mammals and birds)

  • Challenges of field experiments
  • Field work specific legislation and regulations
  • Implementation of the 3Rs in wildlife studies
  • Guidelines and internet resources for field experiments
  • Statistical design of field experiments
  • Application process and reporting
  • Pain and stress physiology of wildlife
  • Diseases and zoonoses of wildlife
  • Sedation, immobilization and anaesthesia
  • Species-specific capture, tagging and sampling techniques
  • Reporting field studies in the scientific literature
  • Communication to society and press media

Academic content practical training:

Routines (HES, disease prevention, protective gear). Handling, care, supervision and relevant experimental techniques in relevant species tailored to the student's skills and needs.

Objectives of the course

The main aim of the course is to ensure ethical and humane use of experimental animals and collection of informative, objective and reproducible research data from animal experiments.

After having completed the course, the candidate should:

  • have detailed knowledge of the legislation regulating the use of experimental animals in Norway and EU
  • have detailed knowledge of the official authorities and management system related to the use of animals in research in Norway
  • be able to write applications for animal experiments
  • be able to consider the use of and apply alternatives and supplements to animal experiments
  • develop an attitude towards the use of animals in research that reflects "The 3 Rs": Replace, Reduce, Refine
  • be able to apply the general principles for proper planning of animal experiments, including quality control, choice of animal model, experimental design and statistics
  • be able to evaluate the intrinsic and external factors influencing an experimental animal and how these may influence the outcome of the experiment, an be able to plan and execute an animal experiment in order to control and standardize these factors as much as possible
  • have knowledge about the principles behind anaesthesia, analgesia, humane endpoints and euthanasia
  • be able to describe health monitoring programs in animal facilities
  • be able to identify potential human health hazards related to animal experiments, and how to minimize these hazards and work safely in an animal facility
  • be able to critically evaluate and assess a scientific article on animal experiments with emphasis on how the animals are described and used and be able to report  animal experiments in scientific literature according to established international standards and guidelines
  • be able to perform humane handling, caring and supervision of research animals and master relevant general experimental techniques in relevant species

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

Learning methods include lectures (in class and e-lectures), group work, guided tours, and individual written assignments. The course consists of totally 80 hours, including 35 hours of lectures/tours/group work, 24 hours of self-tuition (individual assignment and exam) and 21 hours of practical training under supervision of a qualified person.

The theoretical training is given intensively during one week, followed by practical training. The theoretical training consists of a general part (2 days) and special part (3 days). The special part is either on traditional laboratory animals or on fieldwork/wildlife where the course participant can choose the module most relevant for his/hers field of work. The theoretical part is concluded with a written 2-hour exam on the last day of the course week. After completing the theoretical training the student must submit a written assignment (home exam) and complete a minimum of 3 days (21 hours) practical training under the guidance of a competent person (i.e. person with approved course in laboratory experiment category B or C).


The exam (2 hours) is multiple-choice consisting of 30 questions. No aids allowed. Assessment rating of the exam: Passed/not passed.

Home exam (individual assignment), 3 assignments/tasks (divided into 2-4 sub-tasks), written answer, all aids allowed. Assessment rating of home exam: Passed/not passed. The home exam must be submitted no later than 3 weeks after the theoretical course section has ended.

Completion of practical training with experimental animals of at least 21 hours under the supervision of a competent person must be documented. Assessment criteria: Approved/Not approved

All parts are weighted equally. An overall assessment "passed/not passed" is given when both the exams have been passed and the practical training has been completed and documented.

If the student fails one of the exams (i.e. the 2-hours exam or the home exam), he/she needs only re-examination of the failed item.

Work requirements: Attendance at the theoretical training and completion of practical training is mandatory. The student must allocate time for self-tuition during and after the theoretical course week.

The home exam must be submitted no later than 3 weeks after the theoretical course section has ended.

Documentation of the 21 hours practical training should be delivered as soon as possible and no later than 1st October the same year as the course was held. If the documentation is delivered later than this date, the examination results will not be registered and the course diploma will not be issued before the following spring semester.

Practical training: For laboratory animals, the Unit of Comparative Medicine offers organised and adjusted practical training a few weeks after the theoretical training and the written 2-hour exam has been completed. Fieldwork scientist and others that do not participate in the organized practical training need to document that relevant 21-hours practical training with relevant species and techniques have been completed under the supervision of a competent person. Documentation of the practical training should be delivered as soon as possible and no later than 1st October the same year as the course was held in order for the ECTS to be registered that year.

Re-examination: Re-examinations for students that do not pass either the 2-hour written exam or the home exam are given early in the following semester. Application deadline for continuation exam is August 15th.


  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 6
  • Course code: HEL-8014