Student Pages
Postgraduate course

Ocean Science

Main content

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Teaching semester


This course has a limited capacity, enrolment is based on application. The application deadline is Wednesday in week 33 for the autumn semester. Please see this page for more information. You will receive confirmation of whether you received a seat in Studentweb no later than Monday the week after the deadline.

It is compulsory to attend the first lecture/orientation meeting, or you risk losing your seat. If you are unable to attend the first lecture, you must contact the Study Section (<email>studie.bio@uib.no</email>). The time of the first lecture/orientation meeting can be found in the schedule on the course website or on Mitt UiB.

Place of Instruction

Bergen and a research cruise to the surrounding fjords and the North Sea.

Objectives and Content

This is a broad course in modern marine research, with emphasis on fisheries and marine biological methods. The course is comprised of theoretical and practical modules covering habitats and organisms, nearshore ecology, research vessel experience, field observations methods, and interpretation of models and analysis of field data.

The course consists of four modules:

  • Module 1 - Marine Benthic Fauna (practical)
  • Module 2 - Biological Oceanography (theoretical)
  • Module 3 - Marine Ecological Field Methods (practical)
  • Module 4 - Fisheries Ecology (theoretical)

The theoretical components offer an introduction to biological oceanography, the basis for marine productivity, and presentation of selected marine ecosystems and models.

The practical course components, consisting of coastal field studies and a research vessel cruise in the North Sea or the west coast fjords will give an introduction to planning and design of research projects, and offer insight into life history and ecology of the most important species in these habitats. Sampling and recording and handling marine field data, as well as data analysis and modelling, will give training in the central research methods for observation and assessing abundance of marine species.

Field work/experiments will cover various techniques, using practical examples to evaluate the purpose, strengths and weaknesses of each approach. This will include common approaches for collecting data for marine research, such as surveys, acoustics, times series, ROVs, and their applications in process studies and resource mapping.

Learning Outcomes

On completion students shall have achieved the following learning outcomes:

  • Understand modelling tools to study the driving forces of marine productivity
  • Understand how physical and chemical processes and structure influence the biological interactions and distribution of marine organisms
  • Have knowledge of selected habitats and nursery areas/recrutimen areas of marine organisms and have an overview of the major inshore and open ocean organisms and their ecology
  • Be able to use appropriate tools, including taxonomic keys, to identify common marine animals in Norwegian waters
  • Have a basic understanding of biosystematic methodology
  • Be able to plan and execute field work to answer research questions
  • Have basic knowledge of the most common methods for collection of field data for modern marine research
  • Be able to explain and evaluate the principles of different sampling approaches, and their strengths and weaknesses
  • Be able to process, catalog, illustrate graphically, analyse statistically collected field samples and interpret result
  • Be able to communicate scientific results from field studies by presenting orally and by writing a scientific paper
  • Have knowledge of the basic effects of fisheries and harvesting/exploitation of marine biological resources
  • Understand and consider the uncertainties in marine data collection and modelling and what that means for management advice
  • Have learned to work as part of a team onboard a research ship, following safe practices in field work

Required Previous Knowledge

Bachelor's degree in Biology

Recommended Previous Knowledge

Bachelor's in Biology with basic courses in mathematics and statistics and use of spreadsheets (e.g. Excel) and statistics programs (e.g. R). The obligatory courses BIO300A Academic Writing (5 ECTS) and BIO300B Biostatistics (5 ECTS) are taught in parallel with BIO325 Ocean Science. Knowledge in oceanography and marine community ecology (e.g. BIO212) is an advantage.

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

Full overlap with BIO309B (5 sp), BIO310 (5 sp), BIO240 (10 sp).

Access to the Course

The course is only open to students on the master's programme in biology, specializations Marine Biology and Fisheries Biology and Management.

Teaching and learning methods

The scope of the work is equivalent to 540 hours of student work.

The course consists of four modules:

  • Module 1 - Marine Benthic Fauna (practical)
  • Module 2 - Biological Oceanography (theoretical)
  • Module 3 - Marine Ecological Field Methods (practical)
  • Module 4 - Fisheries Ecology (theoretical)

Theoretical modules: lectures and group activities occur from week 33 through week 47.

Practical modules:

  • Module 1: Two-week field course at the marine biological station in Espegrend in August, with some research vessel time.
  • Module 3: Field course on a research vessel in September/October - one week on process studies in a fjord and one week on a research survey in the North Sea. Teaching onboard the research vessel and assigned coursework before and after.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

  • Submission of coursework assignments.
  • Participation on research cruises and field work.
  • Participation in lectures, lab courses.

Student deductible for participation in field and research cruise activities:

Students enrolled in courses that include field and cruise activities necessitating overnight accommodation, are required to cover their own expenses for food and drinks during the stay. Due to rules and requirements related to food handling and hygiene, the University of Bergen is required to purchase food from/at the various accommodation locations, and we can therefore not allow students to bring their own food. The Department of Biological Sciences is therefore responsible for ordering food for all students. Students are required to pay a deductible of NOK 100,-/day for these food expenses. Total student deductible will be max NOK 1 500.

The Department of Biological Sciences covers expenses related to transportation and accommodation, and any food expenses surpassing the student deductible of NOK 100,-/day. Students using their own car must provide information to the Department of Biological Sciences at studie.bio@uib.no no later than 10 days before departure about the driver and the name of any possible passangers. The Department does not cover expenses related to private transport.

Forms of Assessment

Portfolio assessment, covering four modules (max. achievable points: 400):

  • Module 1 - Marine Benthic Fauna (practical): practical exam (max. 100 points)
  • Module 2 - Biological Oceanography (theoretical): multiple choice test (max. 100 points)
  • Module 3 - Marine Ecological Field Methods (practical): term paper/field report, participation in research cruise, data labs (max. 100 points)
  • Module 4 - Fisheries Ecology (theoretical): oral exam (max. 100 points)

When all modules are completed, the overall grade for the course will be set based on the percentage of 400 points the student has earned.

Examination Support Material


Grading Scale

Grading scale A-F, where grade A is the highest passing grade, and grade F is a fail.

Assessment Semester

The portfolio assessment is only carried out in semesters with teaching.

Reading List

The literature list will be available by June 1st for the autumn semester and December 1st for the spring semester.

Course Evaluation

Students will evaluate the course in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the Department. You can find course evaluations in the Quality assurance reports.

Programme Committee

The Programme Board is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the course.

Course Administrator

The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences by the Department of Biological Sciences has the administrative responsibility for the course.


Contact the Study Section at the Department of Biological Sciences studie.bio@uib.no

Exam information