Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)

Module ANTH44315: Fundamentals of Evolutionary Medicine

Department: Anthropology

ANTH44315: Fundamentals of Evolutionary Medicine

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None.
Tied to L6K707


  • Evolutionary Theory


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To give students advanced subject-specific knowledge which is core to Evolutionary Medicine. The course is seminar and practice-based, giving students the opportunity to read, synthesize and present recent primary literature and major reviews within the range of Evolutionary Medicine. Students prepare presentations individually and collaboratively, and engage in a mini-research project involving appropriate research methods. Students are thus brought into contact with up-to-date research, are encouraged to evaluate it critically, conduct research themselves, and gain practice in presenting relevant material to others.


  • Concepts, approaches and methods in Evolutionary Medicine.
  • How those who study and write about Evolutionary Medicine apply their knowledge to an understanding and treatment of pathologies from a variety of interdisciplinary standpoints: evolutionary, ecological, biological, clinical, palaeopathological, psychological, anthropological and so forth.
  • The contribution of Evolutionary Medicine to health policy and planning.
  • Practical problems in the application of theory to practice in Evolutionary Medicine.
  • Research methods used in Evolutionary Medicine.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • a) Historical background and current literature in Evolutionary Medicine.
  • b) Interdisciplinary nature of Evolutionary Medicine and its interrelationships.
  • c) Methodological issues in Evolutionary Medicine and its application.
  • d) Theoretical underpinnings of Evolutionary Medicine.
  • e) Areas of debate and controversy in Evolutionary Medicine.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • a) Students should understand the theory behind and know examples of the application of a range of approaches to studies in Evolutionary Medicine, including laboratory and clinical studies, clinical trials, and various theoretical models including statistical modelling.
  • b) Students should have received sufficient practical and theoretical training in at least one area of Evolutionary Medicine to enable them, with the appropriate support and facilities, to continue to Ph.D level research within that area.
  • c) They should have received sufficiently broad practical and theoretical training to enable them to pursue a career in a health-related capacity, or to enter Medical School as an advanced entrant.
  • d) They should be able to synthesize, evaluate critically and present complex material, including data, models and theoretical arguments
Key Skills:
  • a) Teamwork: Students should be able to learn and research collaboratively, involving joint decision-making and effective communication over the division of tasks.
  • b) Communication: Students should be able to express themselves clearly and concisely on theoretical and practical topics, and explain why particular issues are important and/or controversial. They should be able to make effective presentations.

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

  • • TMPEM is an intensive seminar and practice-based course. Seminars provide an opportunity for students to read, synthesize and present recent primary sources of data and major reviews within the full range of Evolutionary Medicine (Learning Outcomes Ia-Ie). Students prepare presentations individually and collaboratively. Students are thus brought into contact with up-to-date research, are encouraged to evaluate it critically, gain practice in presenting relevant materials to others and to learn collaboratively (Learning Outcomes Iia-d, IIIa-b). Students also gain practical experience of conducting mini-research projects using appropriate research methods.
  • Summative assessment comprises: completion of a 3,000 word research report. The research report will assess the subject and key skills learning outcomes and one or more of the subject knowledge and learning outcomes, depending on the nature of the research project the student undertakes.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 6 Weekly 2 hours 12
Seminar 1 Once 1 hour 1
Preparation & Reading 139
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Research Report Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Research Report 3000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment will be provided from comment and evaluation of a portfolio of preliminary research notes on DUO and other materials, and through feedback in response to student presentations at seminars.

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