Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)


Department: Biosciences


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to MSci Biology and Physics (FGC0)


  • • Satisfactory completion of level 3 of the Biology and Physics MSci degree (FGC0).


  • • Biological Imaging 4 (BIOL4081), Project (PHYS4213), Theoretical Physics 4 (PHYS4191) OR Atomic and Optical Physics (PHYS4121).

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To carry out a study of research in a topic associated with biological and physical sciences using the full resources of the scientific literature.
  • To present the results of the study in the form of a critical review article and poster.


  • Self-directed study.
  • Workshops and tutorials in data gathering techniques and literature databases, and presentation techniques.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Knowledge and understanding of a selected topic in biological and physical sciences to the limits of existing research.
  • Knowledge of communication of scientific information in both written and poster forms.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To be able to access and evaluate information relevant to biological sciences from a variety of sources, and to prepare a written report on a specific topic that is organised and critical, and takes account of current developments in research in the field to the limits of existing knowledge
  • To be able to present the results of literature-based research in a form accessible to an audience of peers, in the form of a poster.
Key Skills:
  • Literacy, in being able to consult and extract information from printed and on-line archives.
  • Communication skills, in presenting report and poster.
  • IT skills, in use of online data bases.
  • Self-motivation, in self-guided learning, independent work on report and poster.

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

  • Literature review: a comprehensive review of scientific literature on a specific topic, agreed between student and supervisor. The student uses the resources of information databases to produce a critical account of the topic, with an emphasis on current research, and the context in which it is taking place. The review will be expected to extend to the limits of current knowledge in the chosen topic, and include analysis of prospects for future research. Assessment is based on the review itself, and a poster presentation derived from it.
  • Workshops and tutorials; large and small group teaching on background generic topics for literature review.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Tutorials and workshops 8 1 hour 8
Preperation and reading 192
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Poster 20% No
Literature Review 80% 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