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



  • 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 



  • 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
Written assignment (40 hours). During the week following the course, each student will have one week (40 hours) to produce a poster (A1 size) including approx. 1000 words and illustrations, which will be handed in as a written assignment in the week following the course. The poster topics will be pitched to the teachers during the course. The poster will be orally presented (20 min) to the teachers in the week following the poster submission. Oral presentations may be held on-line if necessary. The assessment will include the written assignment (poster) and the oral presentation.
Exam registration requirements

Active participation in the course including field and lab activities.

All aids allowed
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners

If the student has not fulfilled the exam registration requirements the student must take the course again next year.

If the written assignment is unacceptable or not submitted in time, the student is given a new subject with one week (40 hours) to write a new essay.

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
5-16 August 2025 (11 days in total): Monday 5 August - Friday 9 August, field work either Saturday 10 August OR Sunday 11 August and Monday 12 August - Friday 16 August). Written assignment should be written in the week following the course.
The number of places might be reduced if you register in the late-registration period (BSc and MSc) or as a credit or single subject student.
Study Board for the Biological Area
Contracting department
  • The Natural History Museum of Denmark
  • Department of Food and Resource Economics
  • Department of Science Education
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Anders P. Tøttrup   (9-68777b767b7b797c77477a757435727c356b72)

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

Saved on the 14-02-2024

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students