Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Biosciences


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


  • Any two from Level 2 Ecology (BIOL2461), Level 2 Evolution (BIOL2451), Level 2 Behaviour (BIOL2511)


  • At least one other Level 3 Biological Sciences Module from the following list: Conservation Biology BIOL3551, Ecology in the Anthropocene BIOL3541, Advanced Topics in Development BIOL3521, Stress and Responses to the Environment BIOL3491, Crops for the Future BIOL3611, Biochemistry and Biotechnology BIOL3601, Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering BIOL3531, Ageing BIOL3591, Advanced Cell Biology BIOL3481, Biology of Disease BIOL3621, Genomics BIOL3651.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To develop an understanding of specialised aspects of ecology, evolution and behaviour, reflecting the active research areas in the Ecology, Evolution and Environment research group.


  • Impact of ecology and evolutionary processes on behaviour.
  • Evolutionary ecology and phylogenies.
  • Study of ecosystems under global change.
  • Ecology and evolution of invasive species.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Advanced levels of knowledge of current areas of interest in selected topics in contemporary ecological research, including some or all of the following: Ecological approaches to the study of behaviour Evolution and its role in shaping ecology of species and systems Impact of climate change on ecosystems Interspecies competition.
  • Knowledge of methodology used to access and assimilate specialised research literature of an advanced nature.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Understanding of concepts which underlie modern ecological research at an advanced level.
  • Ability to apply key concepts in ecology, evolution and behaviour to research questions in the advanced topics covered.
  • Ability to deploy analytical skills specific to specialised aspects under study in the Ecology, Evolution and Environment research group, including interpretation and critical appraisal of the latest research.
Key Skills:
  • Literacy, in preparation and effective communication of research methods, data, interpretation and arguments.
  • Critical analysis in evaluation of searches of scientific literature.
  • Communication skills, using the written word and graphics, involved in essays / research reports.
  • 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.
  • Self-guided learning contributes to subject-specific knowledge and self-motivation.
  • Analytical 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 2 per week 1 hour 24
Workshops 6 3 per term 1 hour 6
Preparation & Reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen formal exam 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