Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024


Department: Biosciences


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Level 2 Cell Signalling (BIOL2501)


  • At least one other Level 3 Biological Sciences Module selected from the following list: Advanced Topics in Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour BIOL3561, Conservation Biology BIOL3551, Ecology of the Anthropocene BIOL3541, Advanced Topics in Development BIOL3521, Crops for the Future BIOL3611, Biochemistry and Biotechnology BIOL3601, Ageing BIOL3591, Advanced Cell Biology BIOL3481, Biology of Disease BIOL3621, BIOL3651 Genomics.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide an advanced overview of how selected organisms respond to examples of abiotic and biotic stresses.
  • To develop a detailed understanding of the mechanisms used by selected organisms to detect, respond, and adapt to abiotic and biotic stresses.


  • Abiotic stress in plants.
  • The unfolded protein response.
  • Cell responses to selected abiotic stresses.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Advanced knowledge of the sensing mechanisms which are used by organisms to detect stress.
  • Advanced knowledge of the signalling mechanisms which transduce environmental signals into biological signals.
  • Advanced knowledge of the mechanisms by which biological signals effect changes to the transcriptome / proteome of the organism.
  • Knowledge of the role of evolution in determining interactions between stresses and organisms.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To be able to interpret and analyse data from experiments designed to assess the effects of stress on a range of organisms.
  • To be able to relate changes at the level of the genome to changes in phenotype in stress responses.
  • To be able to integrate information from different sources to derive an overview of stress responses.
Key Skills:
  • Literacy, in being able to consult and extract information from printed and on-line archives.
  • Data analysis, in interpretation and critical analysis of data relevant to stress responses.
  • 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 support the development of key and subject-specific skills.
  • Self-guided learning contributes to subject-specific knowledge and self-motivation.
  • Reports / Data Handling Exercises are based on subject-specific knowledge.
  • Unseen examinations demonstrate achievement of the appropriate level of subject-specific knowledge of development, with an emphasis on understanding and communication (essay and problem-based questions).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 24 Weekly 2 hours p/w 24
Workshops 2 Termly 1 hours 2
Preparation & Reading 174
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen formal examination 2 hours 100% No

Formative Assessment:

Two formative examination exercises of 1 hr each.

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