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 one of Level 2 Microbiology BIOL2431, Level 2 Biochemistry BIOL2491 or Level 2 Immune Systems BIOL2421.


  • 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 in the Anthropocine 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, Genomics BIOL3651.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To develop knowledge and understanding of the biology of disease in man.
  • To integrate knowledge and skills to address the nature of selected diseases.


  • Advanced study in depth of selected diseases, such as: cancer, endocrine system disease, neurological disorders, genetic disease, systemic disease, degenerative disease, infectious diseases.
  • Study of medical interventions which can cure or ameliorate diseases, such as regenerative medicine, cancer treatments, drug treatments, gene-based therapies.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Knowledge of selected diseases, including their symptoms, causative agents and molecular and cellular bases.
  • Knowledge of potential medical interventions which can cure or ameliorate selected diseases.
  • Knowledge of disease processes in general.
  • Knowledge of drug therapies and drug resistance.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To be able to integrate knowledge from different disciplines studied in biomedical sciences and discuss disease processes.
  • To be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the pathophysiology and investigation of selected human diseases.
  • To be able to critically evaluate and discuss experimental data pertaining to disease processes.
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 cell architecture.
  • 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 2 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