Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module ANTH3877: Evolution of Cooperation

Department: Anthropology

ANTH3877: Evolution of Cooperation

Type Open Level 3 Credits 10 Availability Not available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • ANTH2061 Evolution, Variation and Adaptation OR ANTH2071 Our Place in Nature


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To develop an advanced understanding and knowledge of contemporary research on the evolution of cooperation, comprising key evolutionary theory and models and empirical research on cooperation in humans and non-human species


  • Advanced evolutionary theory as it relates to cooperation
  • Classic and contemporary empirical research on the evolution of cooperation in humans and non-human species
  • Comparative phylogenetic approaches to the evolution of cooperation
  • Distinct evolutionary approaches to understanding cooperation including behavioural ecology, evolutionary psychology and cultural evolution

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Demonstrate advanced levels of current knowledge and intensive understanding of the evolution of cooperation and the different positions taken in key debates on this topic.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Deploy analytical skills for interpreting and critiquing the literature on the evolution of cooperation.
  • Present in written form theoretical concepts and empirical research on the evolution of cooperation in a clear and accessible manner
Key Skills:
  • Investigation, preparation and effective communication of research methods, data, interpretation and arguments in written form.
  • Critical analysis of data and arguments
  • Self-reflection on knowledge and skills acquired and developed
  • Accessing library resources
  • Undertaking independent study and research
  • Preparation and effective communication of interpretations and arguments in written form

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

  • Lectures may consist of pre-recorded videos, live presentations, break-out discussions or other activities as appropriate to the material covered from week to week
  • Lecture elements will provide students with an outline of key knowledge and debates in the evolution of cooperation, discuss the literature that students should explore, and provide relevant examples and cases studies.
  • Seminars will consist of 5 workshops designed to support the development of the summative assignment
  • Student preparation and reading time will allow engagement with specific references in advance of seminars and general and particular reading related to the assessment, which will be a written assignment (such as an essay or report).
  • Online resources such as Discussion Boards will be used to discuss issues arising from lectures and to engage students in exercises related to their formative and summative assignments

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 Weekly 1 10
Seminars 5 Fortnightly 1 5
Preparation and Reading 85
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Two articles 2500 words (2 x 1250) 100%

Formative Assessment:

Outline or Draft of summative articles.

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