Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)


Department: Biosciences


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham


  • • Level 2 Ecology (BIOL2461); Level 2 Evolution (BIOL2451)


  • • At least one other Level 3 Biological Sciences Module selected from the following list: Behavioural Ecology BIOL3561, Ecology in the Enthropocene BIOL3541, Advanced Topics in Development BIOL3521, Stress and Responses to the Environment BIOL3491, Crops for the Future BIOL3611, Biochemistry and Biotechnology BIOL3601, Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering BIOL3531, Ageing and Age-Related Diseases BIOL3591, Advanced Cell Biology BIOL3481, Biology of Disease BIOL3621.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To review the scope and aims of conservation biology in the modern world.
  • To integrate the concept of biodiversity over a range of resolutions, from genes to biomes.
  • To promote an appreciation of some of the major issues affecting biodiversity.
  • To provide an understanding of how theory can be applied to practical problems.


  • Conservation and biodiversity.
  • Conservation of the individual species.
  • Conservation of multiple species.
  • Conservation at landscape-scale, and ecosystem conservation.
  • Integrating conservation into the global landscape.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Knowledge of the importance of genetics in considering conservation of species.
  • Knowledge of prediction and population modelling applied to conservation of populations.
  • Knowledge of the role of protected areas and ecotourism in conservation.
  • Knowledge of the importance of climate change in considering wider issues in conservation.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To be able to define and measure biodiversity.
  • To be able to define and relate extinction rates in a historical context.
  • To be able to apply ecological concepts to conservation problems.
  • To be able to criticvally assess the potential application of different approaches to conservation problems.
Key Skills:
  • Literacy, in being able to consult and extract information from printed and on-line archives.
  • IT skills, in using on-line resources for information gathering.
  • Data analysis, in interpretation and critical analysis of published modeling, experimental and field studies within conservation biology.
  • Self-motivation, in self-guided learning.

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

  • Lectures deliver subject-specific knowledge.
  • Workshops 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 are based on subject-specific knowledge.
  • Unseen examinations demonstrate achievement of the appropriate level of subject-specific knowledge of development, with an emphasis on understanding and communication (essay and problem-based questions).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 35 Weekly 2 hours p/w 35
Workshops 2 1 per term 1 hour 2
Preparation & Reading 163
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen formal exam 3 hours 100% No
Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Analytical exercise 100% No

Formative Assessment:


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