Citizen Science

Course content

This MSc course offers an in-depth introduction to citizen science: the involvement of the public in scientific research. The development and application of citizen science is increasing around the world as an effective and progressive research method, and is gaining interest from policy makers and funding bodies across multiple disciplines. Students will be presented with the various applications of citizen science through interactive lectures, discussions, exercises, field, and lab activities. The course includes several guest lectures from prominent citizen science experts in Europe and North America from academic and non-academic institutions, representing fields of natural & environmental science, social science, and the humanities. By the end of course students will have a solid foundation in the theory and practice of citizen science including inter- and transdisciplinary aspects, and will apply this knowledge by designing their own project to address a specific research question using citizen science methods.

Learning outcome


Upon completing the course students will be able to:

-Describe basic aspects of citizen science such as the history and typologies in citizen science

-Differentiate between methods in citizen science, community science, crowd sourcing, participatory science, and co-design

-Understand the benefits and current limitations of citizen science

-Explain and critique the various levels of citizen engagement from contributory to extreme citizen science

-Describe the benefits and challenges of collaborating and co-creating with citizen scientists 

-Understand the technological aspects of citizen science projects and current digital tools

-Understand communication strategies that are beneficial for explaining and conveying scientific methods and research results to the public and specific audiences

-Understand biases in, and handle and analyse citizen science data

-Draw links between citizen science research, Open Science, and the UN Sustainability Goals.


Upon completing the course students will be able to:

-Critically review and assess citizen science approaches 

-Make qualified contributions to the development of the rapidly evolving field of citizen science

-Design and apply inter- and transdisciplinary methods to meet the interests and needs of the public 


Upon completing the course students will be able to:

-Evaluate and discuss citizen science literature and projects

-Identify research questions relevant for citizen science and reflect on solutions

-Target specific groups of volunteers based on motivation, prerequisites, and preferences

-Apply contributory, collaborative, and co-creation methods to research 

-Consider and plan for the technical aspects and digital tools for citizen science projects

-Design and implement a citizen science project including all aspects from idea/question and communication to methods development and data analyses

Students will learn by participating in citizen science activities, discussing published citizen science studies, and designing and developing their own citizen science research projects.
A mixture of lectures, exercises, workshops, seminars, lab activities, fieldwork and excursions will be included. The course will be completed with each student having one week in the week following the course to write a 5-page written assignment (essay).

A list literature including journal articles and book chapters will be provided based on the daily themes planned in the course (via Absalon). Background literature and learning materials for preparation prior to the course including chapters of the book "Citizen Science – Innovation in open science, society and policy", by Hecker et al. UCL Press will also be provided.

Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Continuous assessment
Type of assessment details
Continuous assessment
Written assignment (40 hours). The course will be completed with each student having one week (40 hours) to write a 5-page written assignment (essay) in the week following the course. The essay topics will be pitched to the teachers during the course.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

Evaluation based on participation and written assignment (one week).

Part time Master and Diploma courses

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 40
  • Preparation
  • 60
  • Theory exercises
  • 8
  • Practical exercises
  • 15
  • Field Work
  • 15
  • Excursions
  • 4
  • Laboratory
  • 16
  • Exam Preparation
  • 8
  • Exam
  • 40
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master
Week 31 and 32 (29 July - 9 August 2024); 11 days in total: Monday 29 July - Friday 2 August, field work either Saturday 3 August OR Sunday 4 August and Monday 5 August - Friday 9 August). Essay assignment should be written during week 33.
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board for the Biological Area
Contracting department
  • The Natural History Museum of Denmark
  • Department of Science Education
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Anders P. Tøttrup   (9-69787c777c7c7a7d78487b767536737d366c73)

Anders P. Tøttrup (SNM), Marianne Achiam (IND), Natalie Iwanycki Ahlstrand (SNM), and other guest lecturers with expertise in citizen science from Denmark, Europe & North America.

Saved on the 28-02-2023

Are you BA- or KA-student?

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Courseinformation of students