Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Biosciences


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Level 1 Genetics BIOL1171.


  • At least one other Level 2 Biological Sciences Module

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To develop the study of the central role of molecular biology in modern biosciences, taking student knowledge to an intermediate level.
  • To develop understanding of methods of gene analysis, gene manipulation and information retrieval to an intermediate level.
  • To provide the necessary background in topics in molecular biology to support full access to research literature.


  • Recombinant DNA techniques.
  • Transcription and translation in eukaryotes.
  • Principles of gene regulation.
  • Bioinformatics

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Knowledge of intermediate level techniques for manipulating and cloning DNA.
  • Knowledge of the sequence of steps involved in gene expression in eukaryotes, including regulation of gene expression.
  • Knowledge of the multiple roles of RNA in the cell.
  • Knowledge of the structures of genomes, the sequence variation amongst individual and within species.
  • Knowledge of the sequence of steps involved in genetic screens.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Basic use of global sequence databases for information retrieval.
  • Intermediate level skills in recombinant DNA techniques.
Key Skills:
  • Literacy, in being able to consult and extract information from printed and on-line archives.
  • Communication skills, using writing skills and graphics, involved in practical reports.
  • IT skills, in information retrieval from on-line databases.
  • 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 Exercises are based on subject-specific knowledge and demonstrate subject-specific skills in understanding experimental work and data analysis.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 24 Weekly 2 hours p/w 24
Practical Exercises 2 run consecutively in 2nd term 4 hours 8
Workshops 5 1-2 per term 1-2 hours 6
Tutorials 2 1 per term 1 hour 2
Preparation & Reading 160
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Science communication exercise 50% Yes
Science bulletin 50% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessments will be provided to develop the skills for each summative as appropriate.

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