Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024


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 introduce the mechanisms which generate the three dimensional organisation of multicellular organisms.
  • To introduce the mechanisms that generate cellular diversity in plants and animals.
  • To examine model developmental systems.


  • The bases of developmental processes; germ layer theory, stem cells.
  • Gene regulation as a determining factor in development.
  • Developmental signalling pathways.
  • Model systems for developmental processes.
  • Morphogenesis.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Knowledge of different model systems for studying development, and their individual characteristics.
  • Knowledge of the origin and properties of stem cells in plants and animals.
  • Knowledge of embryonic structures and tissue development in animals.
  • Knowledge of plant development and its underlying mechanisms.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Interpretation of experimental data showing the changing distribution of cellular components during development.
  • Basic tissue culture of animal and plant material, and manipulation of developmental outcomes for cells.
Key Skills:
  • Literacy, in being able to consult and extract information from printed and on-line archives.
  • Communication skills, using the written word and graphics, involved in development 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 Exercises are based on subject-specific knowledge and demonstrate subject-specific skills in understanding experimental work and data analysis, as well as key skills.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 24 Weekly 2 hours p/w 24
Practical Exercises 3 1 or 2 per term 4 hours 12
Workshops 4 1 per term 1 hour 4
Tutorials 2 1 per term 1 hour 2
Preparation & Reading 158
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Practical skills & data handling 50% Yes
Data interpretation & communication 50% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessments will be provided to develop the skills for each summative assessment 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