As a field, evolutionary biology is remarkably diverse, ranging from taxonomy to theoretical population genetics, and from paleontology through to experimental evolution. In developing the reading curricula the instructors have attempted to both follow the historical development of the field, and to highlight those works that have had an important impact on evolutionary thinking. The ultimate goal of the course is to provide students with an in depth introduction to a variety of topics in evolutionary biology, and encourage independent exploration of the literature. In addition, scientists do not simply perform experiments or derive equations but must present this information to a wider audience through seminars, conference talks, and manuscripts. Therefore, the course also focuses on providing the important experience of giving oral presentations and scientific writing.

Although this course is typically offered every year, the instructors and papers covered will change. This year, the focus will be on “Modern classics”.


Target group: Students specializing in evolutionary biology (but others are welcome) .

Prerequisites: Some knowledge of evolutionary biology is needed. In the past, the class has had a wide range of backgrounds (biology, maths, physics..), and for those with no prior experience, the “Introduction to Evolution” course taught by BeVi and SyCr (AY 2018/19), or background reading, would be appropriate.

Evaluation: Short essays and presentation; no exam.

Teaching format: The first meeting each week is an introduction (by the instructors) to the topic of the week followed by the distribution of readings for the next week. The second meeting consists of presentations by the students of the readings (from the previous week) followed by an open discussion. In the weekly recitation period, students will evaluate each other’s writings, address unanswered questions, and explore related concepts on the topic.

ECTS: 3 Year: 2019

Track segment(s):
BIO-EVO Biology - Evolutionary and Population Biology

Teacher(s):
Nicholas Barton

Teaching assistant(s):

If you want to enroll to this course, please click: REGISTER