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Master degree thesis work in plant biology, 30 Credits

Swedish name: Examensarbete för masterexamen i växtbiologi

This syllabus is valid: 2014-03-24 and until further notice

Course code: 5BI166

Credit points: 30

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Biology: Second cycle, contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (120 credits)
Molecular Biology: Second cycle, contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (120 credits)

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

Responsible department: Department of Plant Physiology

Established by: Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 2014-03-25


The course is conducted as an independent research project or study within or outside the university. During the course, students will apply their knowledge and skills to solve plant biology problems.

Expected learning outcomes

After completion of the course students should be able to:
- show a deepening and broadening of their knowledge in plant molecular biology by learning from both review articles and from original scientific articles.
- independently plan and conduct experiments and document and interpret experimental results.
- critically examine and analyse their own experimental results as well as other data.
- compare their own experimental results with that generated by other researchers.
- explain and discuss the obtained results both in written form (in English) and spoken (in English or Swedish).
- demonstrate understanding of the requirements for solving a scientific problem

Required Knowledge

Three of the four compulsory courses of the Master program in Plant- and forest biotechnology (Plant cell and molecular biology, 15 hp, Plant growth and development 15 hp, Plant biotechnology and molecular breeding 15 hp, Biology and biotechnology in forest production systems, 15.0 hp) or equivalent courses completed elsewhere. Proficiency in English (En A or equivalent) is required.  

Form of instruction

The student works independently but under supervision on the thesis project which must include an assignment having links to the current research activity of either the institution, or a public administration or a company. A concise project plan containing aims, description of tasks, a workflow with specified experimental methods and a timetable must be submitted and approved before the course starts. For thesis work prepared at the university a supervisor is appointed at the relevant research institution. For those who do graduate work outside the university a supervisor from the university and one from the actual working place is appointed. These students are also be given the opportunity to participate in the daily work at the workplace. Exam work is to be presented in form of a written report and in a public seminar.

Examination modes

The exam work is reported in format of a scientific paper written in English, which is the basis for a seminar. Moreover, a continuous assessment by the supervisor will take place during the course of thesis work. Based on both the written report and the oral presentation the examination committee evaluates the work done. For the course the grades Fail (U), Pass (G) and Pass with Distinction (VG) will be used. Students who fail have the right to retake the examination to receive a passing grade. Furthermore, the student who twice failed an examination for a course or part of course, entitled that the Prefect of the Department of Physiology will appoint another teachers to determine the score at the test again. Anyone who has passed an examination may not retake the test for a higher grade.

Other regulations

The degree thesis work and the thesis report are important tools to assess students’ knowledge and to evaluate their abilities in those skills that are specified as national goals of the masters program in biology. The degree thesis work must be planned with this end in view and the thesis report must be written such to reveal students’ skills towards national goals A,M,B,C,D and if applicable, goal E (see detailed exam objectives below). Supervisors as well as their students are strongly advised to allocate sufficient time for writing the thesis work report. Students have to submit thesis work report to the evaluation committee three weeks before the planned date of defense. Students will receive a short written criticism from each committee member at least one week before defense. Following their presentation students are expected to give a concise, point-by-point response to the criticisms, supervisor is fully responsible that changes are introduced into thesis work in response to criticism. Before initiation of a master thesis project students must read and understood content of this course plan.
Exam objectives for assessing theses works
A: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding in their main field of study, including both broad knowledge in the field and substantially deeper knowledge of certain parts of the area, as well as insight into current research and development efforts.
M: Demonstrate deeper methodological knowledge in their main field of study.
B: Demonstrate the ability to critically and systematically integrate knowledge and to analyze, assess and deal with complex phenomena, issues and situations even with limited information.
C: Demonstrate the ability to critically, independently and creatively identify and formulate issues and to plan and carry out advanced tasks within specified time frames, thereby contributing to the development of knowledge and to evaluate this work.
D: Demonstrate ability in both national and international contexts, orally and in writing, to explain and discuss their conclusions and the knowledge and arguments behind them, in dialogue with different groups.
E: Demonstrate skills in the major field of study to make judgments taking into account relevant scientific, social and ethical aspects, and demonstrate an awareness of ethical issues in research and development.


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