Department of Biological Sciences (BIO)

About BIO300

Biological Data Analysis and Research Design (BIO300) is flagship course at BIO; an award-winning, mandatory, introductory, graduate-level experience with between 40-60 new Master-level students each autumn.

BIO300 students in action
Christian Irgens

Developing a Researcher Toolkit

The students arriving at BIO to take a Master degree come from diverse backgrounds with varied skills and experiences. BIO300 was originally developed to meet a necessary demand for rigour and standardisation, and combines field and lab work in concrete small research projects. Working on a concrete project may be a novel experience for some students. In BIO300 the goal is to use the project to teach students the whole range of necessary research skills: to give them a "Researcher Toolkit". In two years, on completion of their master’s degree, they will become BIO-trained scientists.


The BIO300 “toolkit” has multiple dimensions. Students take a research project from design, through the practical, to reporting and presenting. The operational Research Toolkit includes library skills, critical reading, ethical considerations, planning and carrying out sampling, data analysis and statistical analysis (using the free software R), scientific report writing, presentation and communication techniques, and effective teamwork.



Multi-faceted learning experiences

Teaching techniques range from training in species identification using collected material to in-class exercises to vociferous but structured debates, with some themes going over several lecture hours.  Invited speakers bring the outside world into the classroom. A small team of PhD students acts as teaching assistants and serve as guides on the field collections. The students’ own work is presented in open lectures and the final reports are delivered to Bergen Municipality.

Sample guest lectures:
(2012): Gard Steiro, then News Editor for Bergens Tidende, the second largest newspaper in Norway and the largest in Bergen. "When do Science become News?"

(2012): Dr. Peter Watts, American scientist turned writer, “Trojan Horses, Chernoff Faces and Science Fiction: Stealth Delivery Platforms for hard science?


BIO300 is also a prize winning course:

  • BIO's Best teacher award (2011 & 2012)
  • Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research's Education Quality Prize (2009) NOKUT
  • UiB's Prize for Academic Quality (2009) Ugle / best course



BIO300 has been a pioneer course in stressing the importance of effective science communication. Science communication occurs not only between scientists, but between scientists and people and stake-holders beyond the academic world. 

The students engage in small research projects developed in cooperation with Bergen Municipality, that address issues of water quality. A number of partners from Bergen community have been involved in the course, and the results are used in the development and conservation of the areas in focus. Learn more.


Course info for BIO300 Biological Data Analysis and Research Design (in Norwegian)

Information about taking a master degree at UiB


(more info in Norwegian)


Diversity and Teamwork

BIO300 takes its role seriously when preparing new Master students for a place among practicing scientists in society.

It is a kind of multi-dimensional “kick-off” course that is compulsory for all the students enrolled in BIO’s masters’ programmes.

The course embodies diversity:

  • diverse in terms of the students;
  • diverse in terms of the tool-box of scientific skills it imparts;
  • and diverse in terms of the activities in which the students engage.

In addition, participation forms a common baptism for BIO masters students – helping them to bond at the beginning of their two-year journey. At the base of this process is Science.

The course is a hands-on way to help students develop a common base of research skills and experiences. It gives the students practical training in

  1. planning and carrying out field work,
  2. different tools for statistical analyses,
  3. techniques for data interpretation,
  4. effective writing and reporting skills, and
  5. experience in presenting and communicating scientific results.

In addition, students learn teamwork; an essential “soft-skill” for working life. Teamwork is a critical skill to develop as a scientist: most research is done collaboratively. Researchers learn from one another, as these students will in groups with people of different backgrounds and skills.

In BIO300 up to 60 students from over 15 countries are divided into groups of about 5 students. Care is taken to ensure that each group reflects the diversity of the student in the course. Learn more.


Social dialogue

What is unique about BIO300, is that the student projects make a concrete contribution to UiB's outreach to Bergen Community. Every year the project results are used as part of Bergen Municipality's Water Assessment Programme.  Learn more about BIO300 Partners.


Science communicators

BIO300 has been a pioneer course in stressing to students the importance of effective science communication. Learn more.