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 Location Durham


  • None.


  • •A minimum of two modules from: BIOL1151 Introduction to Physiology, BIOL1161 Organisms and Environment, BIOL1171 Genetics, BIOL1281 Molecules and Cells.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To develop the basic toolkit of skills to enable students to effectively study, research and communicate topics in Biosciences.
  • To practice and enhance writing skills and presentation skills.
  • To develop and implement skills of acquisition and synthesis of information from a variety of sources.
  • To provide students with a foundation in core mathematical and statistical techniques needed in modern biosciences.
  • To provide students with chemical knowledge and techniques appropriate for Level 1 Bioscience modules.
  • To provide general scientific training in quantitative analysis, problem solving and reporting.


  • Lectures and workshop classes in skills necessary for good communication in both written and other form.
  • Workshops on learning methods and approaches in the biosciences.
  • Core mathematics, including: algebra, scientific notation, graphs and functions, elementary calculus (introduction to differentiation and integration), and an introduction to mathematical modelling.
  • Statistics, including: probability, means and errors, probability distributions, null hypothesis testing, t-tests, one and two factor analysis of variance, interactions, non-parametric statistics, and presentation of statistical results.
  • Basic chemical concepts; stoichiometry.
  • Chemical bonding and chemistry of the elements of biological molecules.
  • Solutions and solubility.
  • Chemical kinetics.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Understanding of methods of communication in biosciences.
  • Knowledge of basic mathematical techniques used to support calculations and data analysis in biosciences.
  • Knowledge of simple and commonly adopted statistical methods used in data analysis.
  • Appreciation of the basic scientific method and experimental design.
  • A knowledge of the chemistry required to study Level 1 Bioscience modules Basic understanding of the principles of chemistry sufficient to support subsequent learning in Biosciences degree programmes at levels 2 and 3.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To prepare written reports that are organised and critical.
  • To be able to use simple mathematical formulae to carry out calculations and plot and interpret graphs.
  • To design simple experiments in order to test simple biological hypotheses.
  • To use basic statistical analyses to compare means and look for associations, and to estimate the statistical significance of differences and associations.
  • To be able to use basic chemical principles to interpret reactions taking place in living organisms.
Key Skills:
  • Literacy in being able to consult, extract and present information from a variety of sources.
  • Numeracy by performing data analyses using statistical tests, and calculations involved in chemistry.
  • Self-motivation by performing independent work on problem sets.
  • Presentation skills and appropriate use of graphical techniques for data visualisation, chemical structure analysis and communication of science.
  • Reporting skills in synthesising information from a variety of sources.

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

  • Lectures deliver subject-specific knowledge.
  • Workshops and problem classes 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 give experience in scientific writing and presentation of concepts and data.
  • Problem Exercises (Data Handling) demonstrate subject-specific skills in data handling and key skills in numeracy applied to bioscience.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 31 2 per week 1 hr 31
Workshops 4 1-2 hrs 7
Problem Classes 4 3 hrs 12
Preparation & Reading 150
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Test 1 30% No
Data Analysis 30% No
Technical report 40% No

Formative Assessment:

Work associated with problem classes 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