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Analyses of Environmental Changes, 15 Credits

Swedish name: Analys av miljöförändringar

This syllabus is valid: 2022-01-03 and until further notice

Course code: 5MI006

Credit points: 15

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Environmental Science: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
Earth Science/Physical Geography: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
Environmental Health: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: VG Pass with distinction, G Pass, U Fail

Responsible department: Department of Ecology and Environmental Science

Established by: Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 2021-06-24


The course is directed towards analyses of environmental changes and understanding their causes. By using different types of data, the aim is that the students should be able to determine when an environmental change has occurred, what was the cause of the change, and what the consequences of this change might be. We will discuss how the determination of background or reference conditions as well as natural variability relates to our understanding of environmental changes. During the course you will learn how to use different types of environmental data, e.g., monitoring data and environmental archives such as lake sediments and peat. We will also discuss different techniques for collecting and analyzing environmental samples in order to understand how sample heterogeneity and analytical uncertainty may affect how the data can be interpreted.
The course is divided into the following part, which run in parallel:
Part 1. Analyses of environmental change from different time perspectives, theoretical part, 7,5 credits
Here we discuss natural variability and environmental change from different time perspectives. During the theoretical part we also go through different analytical techniques and strategies to handle your data statistically.

Part 2. Analyses of environmental change from different time perspectives, projects and practical parts, 7,5 credits
As a part of the course you write one or several project reports. An important part of the work with these reports is to search for relevant scientific literature, and to link your work to the theoretical part of the course. All mandatory practical parts of the course, e.g., laboratory work and workshops, are also included in this part of the course.

Expected learning outcomes

After the course, for the grade Pass, the student should be able to:
1 show basic understanding on how sampling and analytical methods might affect the interpretation of environmental data,
2 handle and evaluate larger datasets, and understand how analytical uncertainty, natural variability and statistical significance affect a value or a trend,
3 make scientifically based contributions to seminar discussions that are a part of the course,
4 explain and discuss different types of environmental changes and their causes based on an evaluation of environmental data and the use of scientific methods
After the course, for the grade Pass with distinction, the student should be able to:
1 Demonstrate an analytical capacity within the framework of problems/themes covered in the course,
2 Critically evaluate data and synthesize new conclusions in relation to international primary references (e.g., peer-reviewed journals) within the subject field

Required Knowledge

120 ECTS-credits of which 60 ECTS-credits in Physical Geography; or 60 ECTS-credits in Biology: or 60 ECTS-credits in Environmental Science; or its equivalence.
English proficiency equivalent to English A from Swedish Upper secondary education. (IELTS (Academic) with minimum score 5.5 and no individual score below 5.0. TOEFL (Paper based with minimum score 530 and minimum TWE 4). TOEFL (Internet based with minimum score 72 and minimum Written 17)). Basic entrance requirements for higher studies in Swedish language proficiency is also required if the course is taught in Swedish.

Form of instruction

The course consists of lectures, laboratory exercises, workshops, seminar discussions and written assignments. Laboratory exercises, workshops, seminar discussions as well as written assignments are (if not specifically state in the schedule) all mandatory.

Examination modes

Both oral and written examinations will be used during the course. On the final exam as well as for the seminar discussions based on scientific articles the grades Not pass (U), Pass (G) and Pass with distinction (VG) will be used. For the project report only the grades Not Pass (U) and Pass (G) are used. For the entire course the students will be awarded one of the following grades, Not pass (U), Pass (G) and Pass with distinction (VG) will be used. For the grade Pass, the student must fulfill all expected study outcomes for the grade Pass. For the grade Pass with Distinction, the student must also fulfill all expected study outcome for the grade Pass with Distinction.A student that has passed an exam may not retake it in order to get a higher grade.
A student, who has passed two exams for a course or part of a course without an approved result, has the right to have another examiner appointed, unless special reasons speak against it (HF chapter 6, 11b §). Requests for a new examiner are submitted to the head of department of Ecology, Environment and Earth Sciences.

Deviations from the course syllabus examination form can be made for a student who has a decision on pedagogical support due to disability. Individual adaptation of the examination form should be considered based on the student's needs. The examination form is adapted within the framework of the expected syllabus of the course syllabus. At the request of the student, the course responsible teacher, in consultation with the examiner, must promptly decide on the adapted examination form. The decision must then be communicated to the student.

Students have the right to have their previous education or equivalent knowledge and skills acquired in the profession tested whether it can be credited for the corresponding course at Umeå University. Application for credit is submitted to the Student Centre / Examinations. For more information on credit transfer available on Umeå University's student web,, and the Higher Education Ordinance (Chapter 6). A refusal of accreditation may be appealed against (Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 12) to the University Appeals Board. This applies to the whole as well as part of the application if accreditation is refused.

Other regulations

In the event that the course plan ceases to apply or undergoes major changes, students are guaranteed at least three exam opportunities (including regular examinations) according to the rules in the syllabus that the student was originally registered for, for a maximum of two years from the date of expiry of the previous course plan or the course ceased being offered.


The literature list is not available through the web. Please contact the faculty.