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Ethology I

This course provides you with a broad overview of the field of animal behaviour, from key concepts, theories, and studies to practical issues such as animal training and animal welfare. You will gain vital hands-on experience by completing supervised group research projects on animals at Tovetorp research station.

During the initial five weeks of teaching, you will obtain rigorous knowledge of the broad theory of animal behaviour. After this teaching component, the course concludes with a two-week-long practical project. In this project, small groups of students will carry out a behavioural study on real animals (deer, birds, fish, and insects are possible study organisms). This provides the opportunity to apply the methods and concepts covered during the lectures in practice.

  • Course structure

    The course consists of a theoretical part and a practical part.

    Teaching format

    The first part of the course consists primarily of lectures and readings. Note that you can borrow the text book from us. The second part of the course consists of a behavioural study that you plan, perform and then present in groups of 3 - 4 students. Before the behavioural studies begin, we will have preparation days, covering the research systems and questions, how to plan and conduct experiments, and how to analyse data, including hands-on work in R. The behavioural studies will be performed at Tovetorp (the Zoology Department's research station ca 90 km SW of Stockholm). We will be at Tovetorp for a total of 10 days, separated into two periods of five days each (see schedule). Teachers will be available at all times during the project. These projects provide students with invaluable experience of how behavioural research projects are carried out all the way from idea to scientific report.

    Learning outcomes

    A list of the learning outcomes can be found in the syllabus. Please find the link to the syllabus on the right side of this page.


    Two written examinations (completed before project preparations begin), a written project report and an oral project presentation.


    David Wheatcroft


    Niclas Kolm


  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    Note that you can borrow the text book from us!

    Nordell, S. & Valone, T J. Animal Behavior - Concepts, Methods, and Applications. International Second Edition. Oxford University Press, 2017.

  • Course reports

  • More information


    Busses will transport students to/from the University campus to Tovetorp on each Monday and Friday during the practical portion of the course. Students will stay at Tovetorp free of charge during the week, but will provide their own linens, towels, etc. and pay a reasonable fee for all meals. All necessary research equipment will be provided. Please contact the course leaders with any questions.

    After the course

    Advanced courses in Ethology include Mate choice (7.5 hp), Animal cognition (7.5 hp), and Human behaviour: biology and culture (7.5 hp).

  • Contact

    Student office
    Study counsellor at bachelor's level