Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2014-2015 (archived)

Module ANTH43715: Evolutionary Theory

Department: Anthropology

ANTH43715: Evolutionary Theory

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2014/15 Module Cap


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide students with an advanced understanding of evolutionary theory. The course is based around lectures, group discussions and independent learning.


  • The history of evolutionary theory
  • Genetics and epigenetics
  • Adaptation and natural selection
  • Evolution and diversity
  • Macroevolution
  • Testing evolutionary hypotheses

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Areas of debate and controversy in contemporary evolutionary theory.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to synthesise, critically evaluate and present complex material relating to evolutionary theory.
Key Skills:
  • Students should be able to express themselves clearly and concisely on technical topics, and explain why particular issues are important and/or controversial.

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

  • The module combines lectures and group discussions. Lectures are used to underpin the core knowledge requirements of the programme, providing students with a sound conceptual and/or empirical base for further study, examples of how to apply theory to case studies and how methodologies and assumptions affect analyses. They also provide examples of advanced, independent and critical analyses and applied expertise. Group discussions provide an opportunity for students to read, synthesise and discuss recent primary references and major reviews within the full range of evolutionary anthropology.
  • Summative assessment is by means of an essay that will assess all learning outcomes.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 6 fortnightly 1 hour 6
Group discussions 6 fortnightly 1 hour 6
Preparation and reading time 138

Summative Assessment

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

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment will be 1000 word essay plan

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