spring 2019
BIO-3118 Microscopical imaging Techniques - 10 ECTS

Last changed 17.12.2019

Application deadline

Concerns only admission to singular courses: Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester. Exchange students and Fulbright students: 1 October for the spring semester and 15 April for the autumn semester.

Type of course

Master course for biology students - principally aimed at MSc-students specializing in Molecular Environmental Biology. The course is limited to 8 students due to restraints with the equipment. Students from Molecular Environmental Biology and other Master disciplines at the department (AMB)  will be prioritized.

The admission will take place during the first lecture. First lecture is mandatory.

Admission requirements

Local admission, application code 9371 -- Master's level singular course.

Admission requires a Bachelor`s degree (180 ECTS) or equivalent qualification, with a major in biology of minimum 80 ECTS.

All applicants: The course requires basic knowledge in biology and ecology at university level. Basic knowledge in chemistry and mathematics is an advantage.

Course content

Stereo microscope and light microscope are important tools to overcome the limitations of the limited resolving power of the human eye. As they are indispensable for the analysis of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, they form an integrative part of biological research. 

The course will introduce standard and advanced techniques of light microscopy such as bright field microscopy, phase contrast microscopy and fluorescence microscopy. The theoretical part of the course will convey the necessary background knowledge and will cover the composition of light and fluorescence microscopes, magnification and optical resolution, contrast improvement, specific dyes and staining techniques, autofluorescence and secondary fluorescence. Strong emphasis will be on the practical part. In the first part, the students will be able to familiarize themselves with different techniques by performing a number of exercises. Besides microscope maintenance and the application of various microscopy techniques, we will also treat related topics such as sample preparation (including fixation, sectioning and staining techniques) and the professional documentation of the results by microphotography. In the second practical part, each student will pick an object or technique of their choice and design a small individual project to apply the acquired knowledge. The results of these individual mini-projects will be presented by each student to his peers and to other interested audience in a small workshop.

Objectives of the course

Knowledge; Students who have completed this course can

  • explain how a light microscope works
  • list different contrasting techniques to visualize organisms
  • define magnification and resolution
  • assess the potential and the limitations of different light microscopy techniques

Skills; Students who have completed this course can:

  • are comfortable and knowledgeable in working with microscopes
  • perform maintenance on a microscope
  • perform Köhler illumination
  • fix, section and stain objects
  • count, measure and assess viability of objects
  • use modern software to document microscopic structures
  • design a poster of their work using PowerPoint

General competence; Students who have completed this course can

  • appreciate light microscopy as tool for classical and modern biological research
  • formulate a research question, choose the appropriate methods and perform the experiments independently
  • design a poster presenting the results of their work
  • convey the essence of their project to others
  • engage in critical discussions with their fellow students

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

Lectures 10 hours, laboratory exercises and seminars 40 hours, poster design and workshop (incl. colloquium) 15 hours.


The exam consist of a poster presentation at a workshop. Grade: passed/failed.

In order to sit an examination, the student must complete and gain approval for any coursework requirements. Coursework requirements: Participation in lab and lectures, approved laboratory report. Implementation of an individual microscopy project

A re-sit exam will be arranged for this course.

Recommended reading/syllabus

Book chapters and articles; for details inquire at the Institute.
  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: BIO-3118