Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Biological and Biomedical Sciences


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Cells, Tissues & Systems AND Genetics.


  • Molecular Biology.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To introduce the mechanisms that generate cellular diversity in plants and animals and how they are studied.


  • Model systems.
  • Developmental signalling pathways in action.
  • Stem Cells.
  • Neural Development.
  • Plant development and evolution: flowering, leaves and vascular tissues.
  • Morphogenesis.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Be able to describe the strengths of the different model systems used in developmental biology.
  • Outline how selected developmental signalling pathways act in context.
  • Describe the origin and properties of mammalian stem cells.
  • Describe the establishment and aspects of regional specification of the vertebrate nervous system.
  • Describe key mechanisms of plant development and their evolution.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Interpret data showing the distribution of substances in developing structures.
  • Investigate the effects of hormones on cultured plant tissues.
  • Carry out transformation of plant tissues with Agrobacterium spp.
Key Skills:
  • Have experience in reviewing and interpreting scientific information from various sources and evaluating them critically.

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

  • Lectures deliver core and specialised knowledge.
  • Seminars, Workshops and Tutorials reinforce the knowledge and understanding gained from lectures and the development of key and subject-specific skills.
  • Practicals, Field work and Laboratory work allow students to utilise the knowledge gained from lectures, and support the development of key and subject-specific skills.
  • MCQs sample core and specialised knowledge.
  • Essays assess key communication skills but are also used to examine a students learning of subject specific knowledge.
  • Unseen examinations measure knowledge and the application and interpretation of that knowledge. They also test key skills in ability to present arguments and communicate them effectively in a concise written form.
  • Data Handling Exercises assess data handling, numeracy, critical thinking and presentation skills.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 33 Weekly 1 hour 33
Practicals 3 Termly 4 hours 12
Workshops 1 End of term 1 hour 1
Tutorials 1 1 hour 1
Preparation & reading 153
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen formal examination 2 hours 100%
Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Practical report 37.5%
Data handling 37.5%
MCQ test 25%

Formative Assessment:

Practical report. MCQ test.

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