Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2005-2006 (archived)


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


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2005/06 Module Cap None. Location Queen's Campus Stockton


  • Evolutionary Issues (HUSS2301) OR Biological Anthropology II (HUSS2011) OR Phase I MBBS.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • This module aims to expose the students to the principles of studying the genetic components of behaviour in populations and its relevance for the anticipated revolution in behaviour molecular genetic medicine.


  • I) Knowledge of the inheritance and heritability of complex behavioural traits.
  • experimental designs and statistics available to study variation of complex traits within and between populations, molecular methods to investigate responsible genes and their variability, statistical methods to find genes that code for complex traits.
  • II) A number of topics and their medical and social relevance with be scrutinised, evidence for genetic variability and how this relates to environmental parameters for traits such as: cognitive (dis-)abilities, schizophrenia, mood disorders, alcoholism, criminality, attention deficit and sexual orientation.
  • For returning Erasmus students the module will comprise 10 seminars, 4 tutorials and laboratory familiarisations.
  • Students will be asked to take the core text abroad with them with a set of instructions.
  • They will receive special assignments to do a formative and summative write-up during the first semester that is equivalent to that of the non-Erasmus students.
  • Students will also be given the full course handout including reading list.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Familiarity with statisical methods to investigate genetic variation of complex traits within and between populations.
  • Familiarity of molecular and genomic methods to study genetic variation of complex traits.
  • Knowledge of evidence for genetic variation concerning a number of behavioural traits.
  • Awareness of ethical socail implications of advances in generic methods.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to assess claims about genetic determination of behavioural traits in the light of presented evidence from papers and documentaries.
  • Evaluate the relative importance of different kinds of genetic evidence.
  • Ability to relate advances in genetic techniques to ethical and legal aspects of the possible social consequences.
Key Skills:
  • Ability to identify claims made in written scientific reports and documentaries.
  • Critically evaluate the logic of arguements of written scientific reports and documentaries.
  • Extract evidence that is presented to document scientific arguements.
  • Evaluate the validity of presented evidence.
  • Identify relevant scientific information on the web and in the library.
  • Defend a certain scientific position in a group discussion.
  • Report on the arguements and counter arguements of a scientific discussion.

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

  • In the seminars the topics mentioned above will be explained and discussed and references will be given providing guidance for further study.
  • Tutorials will (a) allow students to participate in critical evaluation of a number of traits that have been the subject of study over the last decades.
  • (b) facilitate exploring issues that are particularly significant to the individual and therefore further increases motivation.
  • One of the objectives of this module is to achieve an understanding of the molecular technology involved.
  • It is not feasible in the context this module to have laboratory work as a full component of the module.
  • However, for an understanding of the practical aspects of molecular work, it will be feasible and desirable to be familiarised with the laboratory equipment and procedures.
  • Assessment of this part will be through an exam question concerning information acquired during laboratory familiarisation.
  • The summative exam will be used to assess a students understanding of the content of the module.
  • Formative and summative article evaluations as assignments related to the classes will be used to assess the critical ability and understanding of the students.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Tutorials 4 2 in Epiphany Term, 2 in Easter Term 1 hour 4
Seminars 10 Weekly for the first 10 weeks of Epiphany / Easter Term 1 hour 10
Practicals 1 Annually 2 2
Preparation and Reading 184
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 70%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
two-hour unseen examination 100%
Component: Tutorial Write Ups Component Weighting: 30%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
1000 word tutorial write up 1 50%
1000 word tutorial write up 2 50%

Formative Assessment:

Two tutorial write-ups 500 words.

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