Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)


Department: Biosciences


Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham


  • • Any A Level Science subject


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To attain a non-specialist understanding of current bioscience research topics.
  • To develop and implement skills of acquisition and synthesis of information from a variety of sources.
  • To develop the basic toolkit of skills to enable students to effectively study, research and communicate topics in Biological and Biomedical Sciences.
  • To practice and enhance writing skills and presentation skills.


  • Lecture presentations by leading researchers showing how different techniques are applied to the study of biological and biomedical topics.
  • Workshop presentations on learning methods and approaches in the biosciences.
  • Workshop presentations on skills necessary for good communication, both written and through other media, in the biosciences.
  • Assignments designed to promote self-learning of key concepts.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Knowledge of a range of contemporary research topics and approaches in biosciences at a basic level.
  • Understanding of methods of communication in biosciences.
  • Understanding of how research is carried out in the biosciences.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To prepare written reports on specific topics that are organised and critical, and take account of current developments in research in the field.
  • To appreciate experimental design for the biosciences at an elementary level.
  • To gain biosciences-specific oral and poster presentation skills.
Key Skills:
  • Literacy, in being able to consult and extract information from printed and on-line sources.
  • Self-motivation, in self-guided learning.
  • Analytical thinking.
  • Presentation skills.

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

  • Lectures deliver subject-specific knowledge.
  • Workshop classes reinforce subject-specific knowledge and understanding gained from lectures and the development of key and subject-specific skills.
  • Self-guided learning contributes to subject-specific knowledge and self-motivation.
  • Reports and Presentations: demonstrate understanding of scientific topics and ability to synthesise information from different sources to produce a piece of written work which provides evidence of the student's level of knowledge.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 19 1 per week 1 hour 19
Workshop classes 16 1 per week 1 hour 16
Preparation and Reading 165

Summative Assessment

Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Scientific paper exercise 20% N
Poster 30% N
Essay 50% N

Formative Assessment:

Work associated with the workshops.

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