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 Development (BIOL2471); Level 2 Molecular Biology (BIOL2441)


  • At least one other Level 3 Biological Sciences Module selected from the following list: Behavioural Ecology BIOL3561, Conservation Biology BIOL3551, Ecology of the Anthropocene BIOL3541, Stress and Responses to the Environment BIOL3491, Crops for the Future BIOL3611, Biochemistry and Biotechnology BIOL3601, Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering BIOL3531, Ageing and Age-Related Diseases BIOL3591, Advanced Cell Biology BIOL3481, Biology of Disease BIOL3621, Genomics BIOL3651.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide an advanced theoretical overview of the mechanisms governing animal and plant development.
  • To study examples of the molecular and cellular controls which regulate animal and plant development in depth.


  • Developmental biology of the mammalian epidermis.
  • Developmental biology of wound healing.
  • Development and disease.
  • Role of Hox genes in development.
  • Signalling pathways, stem cells and patterning in plant development..

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Advanced knowledge of the fundamental concepts and processes of developmental biology in animals and plants.
  • Advanced knowledge of the genes which determine developmental processes in animals and plants.
  • Advanced knowledge of the signalling pathways which regulate developmental processes in animals and plants.
  • Knowledge of pattern formation systems in development in animals and plants.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To be able to interpret and analyse data from reverse genetics experiments.
  • To be able to relate changes at the level of the genome to changes in phenotype in developmental processes.
  • To be able to to interpret cell biological and genetic data in the context of understanding developmental mechanisms.
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 the genetci basis of development.
  • 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 hour 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:

2 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