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BIO-3004 Ecosystem-based management - 10 stp

The course is administrated by

Institutt for arktisk og marin biologi

Type of course

The course can be taken as an optional course by students enrolled in master programs in biology, resource management or social sciences. The course is available as a singular course.

Course contents

Students will learn the rapidly emerging research field associated with sustainability science and ecosystem management. The ecosystem approach embraces broader interdisciplinary approaches to understand the interactions between natural and social systems, and how those interactions affect sustainability. Students will learn the conceptual and analytic foundations for analyzing terrestrial and aquatic socio-ecological systems.

The following topics are covered in this course:

Application deadline

Concerns only admission to singular courses: Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester. Exchange students and Fulbright students: 1 October for the spring semester and 15 April for the autumn semester.

Admission requirements

Local admission, application code 9371 - Master's level singular course.

Admission requires a Bachelor`s degree (180 ECTS) or equivalent qualification, with a major in biology of minimum 80 ECTS.

Objective of the course

Students will learn:

 Students will have the ability to:

General competence:

Language of instruction

The language of instruction is English and all of the syllabus material is in English. Assignments and the examination questions will be given in English, but may be answered either in English or a Scandinavian language.

Teaching methods

To teach students concepts and analytic approaches in sustainability science and ecosystem-based management, a variety of teaching and assessment techniques will be used. 

The course is structured around 6 topics, each taught in 2 weeks modules.  

Lectures (14 hrs) introduces the students to the concepts and issues relevant for each of the 6 modules. Thereafter the students will have seminars where articles are presented and discussed (28 hrs). In the seminars, students will learn to critically analyze both seminal and recent articles in sustainability science/ ecosystem-based management research. The topics of the seminars will be related to a final workshop/panels. There will be 1 student workshop and 5 workshop/panels with invited experts that will train students to synthesize research and evaluate questions relevant for policy makers and managers (18-22 hours). The preparations for seminars and the supervised preparations and the participation in workshop/panel are an essential teaching method in this course. Total workload for the student, including the participation in classes, is estimated to 300 hours. 

The seminars and the workshops will communicate and bridge different disciplines and teach students to communicate research papers to a broader audience. Oral feed-back on the presentation in class will be provided. Teaching will also be supported by online tools available in Canvas. 

Finally, the written and oral exam will be also designed for learning. The essay will train students to synthesize what they have learnt in the course. The oral exam questions, including the presentation of a selected paper, will be available 24 hrs in advance to encourage learning rather than memorization and regurgitation on the exam. 


The exam consist of:

Written assignment: In the written assignment students will write a paper. The topics for the paper will be presented 21 days before delivery of the assignment and should be 2500-4000 words, not including references.

Oral exam: The oral exam includes the presentation of one paper, as well as questions from the different topics covered in the course. Students will be given questions 24 hr in advance to prepare for the oral exam.

The exam will be assessed with a graded scale of five marks from A to E for pass and F for fail.

Coursework requirements:

Seminar assignment: Students will be assigned the responsibility to co-lead the discussion of scientific papers in seminars. Six such assignments need to be approved before taking the exam. 

Seminars and workshops are in principle mandatory. Absence due to for example illness or overlap with other coursework must be communicated to the teachers in advance. 

If absent from one of the seminars, a written assignment must be delivered (1-2 pages).

Approved work requirements have a duration of 3 years, from the semester in which the work requirements were taken

Re-sit exam:

There will be a re-sit examination for students that did not pass the previous ordinary examination.  In case students already have delivered the written assignment, only the oral exam must be retaken.