Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2005-2006 (archived)


Department: ANTHROPOLOGY (HUMAN SCIENCES) [Queen's Campus, Stockton]


Type Tied Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2005/06 Module Cap None. Location Queen's Campus Stockton
Tied to C1L6
Tied to B991
Tied to L600


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To introduce students to the biological and social basis of human diversity and variation.
  • The approach taken is cross-disciplinary, integrating perspectives on human diversity drawn from genetics and evolutionary biology as well as social and cultural anthropology.
  • It will provide students with basic vocabulary, concepts and ideas which will prepare them for key second stage modules: Evolutionary Issues, Human Ecology, Cultures and Classifications.


  • Students are introduced to the biological bases of diversity in terms of evolutionary adaptations and individual adaptability (physiological, development, Behavioural) and the basic principles of inheritance (DNA, Mendelian genetics, population genetics).
  • This is followed by a consideration of human diversity in the wider context of non-human primates.
  • In the other half of the course students are introduced to social perspectives on human diversity via the examples of classes and caste, race and ethnicity, gender, religion, and a discussion of 'identity'.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students will understand and be familiar with: the basic principles and mechanisms of genetics, inheritance and human evolution.
  • the different ways in which humans adapt to their environments and the interplay between physiological, developmental, genetic, Behavioural and cultural adaptations.
  • basic principles of human biology and human variation from an evolutionary perspective.
  • past and current debates surrounding the study of difference within social anthropology.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • They will be able to: articulate the intersection of biological and social approaches to the study of difference and variation in anthropology.
  • relate theoretical approaches in the anthropology of difference to real life current issues.
  • They will have practised: taking physiological measurements useful in understanding the biological basis of human variation.
  • analysing and presenting quantitative, biological data.
  • basic techniques used in genetic studies.
  • nutritional analysis.
Key Skills:
  • Essay Writing.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Coursework.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly 1.5 hours 30
Seminars 10 Fortnightly 1 hours 10
Preparation and Reading 160
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
short answer questions 35%
2000 word essay 35%
class test (short answer and multiple choice) 30%

Formative Assessment:

Assignments in practicals and lectures, a 1000 word practice essay presented in the seminar.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University