Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Biosciences


Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap 288 Location Durham


  • 'A' Level Biology OR Chemistry


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To study the physiology of mammals as a model for physiological processes in other organisms.
  • To describe a range of tissues and physiological processes in mammals at an introductory level.
  • To relate physiological processes to their bases at the molecular and cellular levels.


  • Epithelia, including skin, gut and connective tissue.
  • The musculoskeletal system and its control.
  • The circulatory system.
  • Sensory perception.
  • Respiration.
  • Reproduction.
  • Defence.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Introductory-level knowledge of physiology of major processes, such as circulatory systems, respiration, sensory systems, motility and defence in mammals.
  • Basic knowledge of the composition and anatomy of selected tissues in mammals.
  • Introductory knowledge of the cellular and biochemical processes which underly physiological processes in mammals.
  • Basic understanding of human-specific aspects of mammalian physiology
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To be able to understand and analyse experimental work in physiology.
  • To be able to apply problem-solving skills to practical problems in physiology, including the use of mathematics and data analysis.
Key Skills:
  • Numeracy, in data analysis, and calculations involved in physiology problems.
  • Communication skills, using the written word and graphics, involved in physiology practical reports.
  • Team work.
  • 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.
  • Practical exercises allow students to utilise subject-specific knowledge gained from lectures, and support the development of key and subject-specific skills.
  • Tutorials give enhancement of the student learning experience, supporting attainment of all learning outcomes.
  • Self-guided learning contributes to subject-specific knowledge and self-motivation.
  • Practical analysis based on subject-specific knowledge and demonstrate subject-specific skills in understanding experimental work and data analysis.
  • Problem Exercises (Data Handling) demonstrate subject-specific skills in data handling and key skills in numeracy applied to physiology.
  • Unseen examinations demonstrate achievement of the appropriate level of subject-specific knowledge of physiology, with an emphasis on understanding and communication (essay and problem-based questions) or recall of factual knowledge (multiple choice or short answer question tests)

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 35 Weekly 2 hours p/w 35
Practical Exercises 4 2 per term 4 hours 16
Workshops and Tutorials 4 2 per term 1-3 hours 8
Preparation and Reading 141
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen formal examination 2 hours 100%
Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 62.5%
Departmental Test 37.5%

Formative Assessment:

Work associated with non-summatively assessed practicals and 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