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 Applied Physiology (BIOL2521)


  • • At least one other Level 3 Biological Sciences Module selected from the following list: Behavioural Ecology BIOL3561, Conservation Biology BIOL3551, Ecology in the Anthropocine 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, Advanced Cell Biology BIOL3481, Biology of Disease BIOL3621.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • • None


  • To describe ageing at a fundamental level in terms of effects on overall lifespan, and the fitness of the individual.
  • To develop an understanding of cellular and molecular processes involved in ageing.
  • To study the effects of ageing on different organs and processes.


  • Phenotypic effects of ageing at the level of the organism, and modelling the ageing process.
  • Programmed cell death and protein turnover.
  • Molecular bases of ageing; oxidative stress, DNA damage.
  • Ageing in key organ systems such as: brain, central nervous system, eye, joints, colon and skin.
  • Genetic predisposition to ageing and age-related diseases.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Knowledge of how reproductive scheduling determines longevity.
  • Knowledge of turnover and repair mechanisms at molecular and cellular levels.
  • Knowledge of how damage at the molecular and cellular levels leads to ageing phenotypes.
  • Knowledge of age-related diseases and their genetic bases.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To be able to relate research on ageing to wider issues within society.
  • To be able to integrate information from different sources to understand diverse aspects of ageing.
  • To critically evaluate and discuss experimental data pertaining to ageing and age-related diseases.
Key Skills:
  • Literacy, in being able to consult and extract information from printed and on-line archives.
  • Data analysis, in interpretation and critical analysis of data relevant to stem cells and tissue engineering.
  • 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 support the development of key and subject-specific skills.
  • Self-guided learning contributes to subject-specific knowledge and self-motivation.
  • Reports / Data Handling Exercises 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 Termly 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 % 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