The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result, may change from year to year. The following list is therefore subject to change but should give you a flavour of the modules we offer.
Biology Tutorial and Study Skills
You will be guided through the academic expectations of your degree, and provided with skills such as how to use the library, data handling and presentation of results, preparation for examinations and essay-writing skills. Training will also be provided in transferable and scientific skills. You'll spend around 3 hours per week in lectures and tutorials studying this module.
Genetics, Ecology and Evolution
Considers the genetics, evolution, and ecology of living organisms, extending from the basics of genetics, through evolutionary genetics and molecular evolution, to behaviour and population and community ecology. Around 3 hours per week will be spent within lectures studying this module.
An introduction to the basic biology and genetics of micro-organisms, their impact on human health and the environment, and their use in biotechnology. You will spend around 3 hours per week in lectures and 3 hours per week within practicals.
Introductory Cell Biology
You’ll gain an understanding of the structure and function of living cells. The major themes studied are cell structure, biochemistry and cellular physiology. Around 3 hours per week will be spent in lectures studying this module and 3 hours per week within practicals.
Genes and Cellular Control
You’ll examine how information in DNA is used to determine the structure of gene products. Topics include DNA structure, transcription and translation and mutation and recombinant DNA technology. You will spend around 3 hours per week within lectures and 3 hours per week within practicals studying this module.
Experimental Design and Analysis I
Explains how to plan your own scientific investigations, how to critically evaluate the work of others, and how to use statistics to analyse biological data. This module involves around 1.5 hours in lectures as well as 2 hours studying in workshops per week.
The Animal Kingdom
An introduction to animal design and the way evolution allows animals to exploit their environments. You’ll study topics such as diversity and order in animal design and strategies for movement and support in invertebrates and vertebrates. You'll spend around 1 hour per week in lectures and 2 hours per week within practicals studying for this module.
Introduces the conventional uses of plants and some of the problems associated with plant production. You’ll consider the techniques used to study plant science, including genetics and the use of mutants. You will have a 3 hour lecture once per week during this module.
Immunity, Parasites and Control of Parasitic Infections
An exploration of infection and defence against parasitic organisms. You’ll study major themes such as the immune system, and the biology of some representative parasites and why they have been successful. You’ll also consider the problems of controlling infections and the biology of free-living roundworms. This module involves around 1 hour in lectures per week and 3 hours of practicals per week.
Human Physiology and Pharmacology
Introduces human physiology and pharmacology. Areas of study include the central nervous system, the cardiovascular system, the blood, the gastrointestinal and endocrine systems, and reproduction. This module consists of 3 hours of lectures each week.
Introductory Plant Pathology
A foundation to plant pathology, you’ll examine areas including the microbial agents which cause plant disease, and the mechanisms of plant control and management. Study of this module involves a 2 hour lecture once per week.
Introduces the study of animal behaviour, from the physiological and genetic bases of behaviour to its development and adaptive significance in the natural environment. You will have a 3 hour lecture once per week for this module.
Introduces the study of populations and communities from an evolutionary point of view, and considers critically the extent of our understanding of ecological ideas. Study for this module consists of a 4 hour lecture once per week.
You’ll examine how animals cope with and take advantage of opportunities associated with living in different environments, with topics including animal form and function and feeding strategies. You'll spend 6 hours per week in lectures and practicals studying this module.
Evolutionary Biology of Animals
Introduces key evolutionary concepts and their application in the animal kingdom. Areas you’ll study include the history of evolutionary thinking, natural selection versus the neutral theory, sexual selection and human evolution. You will have a 3 hour lecture once per week during this module.
Biological Photography and Imaging I
Through practical sessions, you will learn the techniques of biological image production and manipulation, including the ability to generate biological images of the highest technical quality and scientific value. You'll spend around 6 hours per week in lectures studying this module.
Behavioural Ecology Field Course
A residential field course in Portugal based on research projects in animal behaviour, ecology and parasitology, carried out in small groups. This module takes place over 15 days in the Easter vacation.
Biodiversity Field Course
A residential field course based on research projects in field biology. You will learn about the rich variety of animals and plants that inhabit the UK, how to recognise them, how to count them and what kinds of factors affect their distributions. This module takes place in September during which you will spend one week based within the English Peak Districts.
An introduction to vertebrate immunity, the immune response to infection and the basis of immunological disorders in humans. You will spend around 3 hours per week in lectures studying this module and 4 hours per week within practicals.
You’ll consider the ecological specialisation of parasitic organisms and parasitism. Emphasis is given to understanding the survival strategies of parasites, through analysis of the costs/benefits of specific solutions to the problem of transmission between hosts. You will spend around 3 hours per week in lectures and 3 hours per week within practicals studying this module.
Manipulating Genes and Genomes
Introduces the theoretical and practical basis of genetic engineering and gene manipulation. Using examples, manipulation of genes and genomes in bacteria, yeast and animals will be studied. You'll spend around 5 hours per week in lectures and practicals for this module.
Investigating and Writing about Biology
You will be prepared for the challenges posed by scientific literature and the style of exam questions that you can expect in your second-year modules. This is followed by a research project into published work on a selected topic, presenting the information gained in an assessed dissertation. You will spend an average of 4 hours per week within lectures and tutorials studying this module.
Experimental Design and Analysis II
This module combines practical elements in experimental design (through forming hypotheses and testing them through practical work in Animal Behaviour) with a short lecture course outlining principles of statistical analysis. Studying for this module involves around 2 hours per week within lectures and 6 hours per week within workshops and practicals.
You’ll be provided with theoretical and practical knowledge about how transgenic organisms are engineered. The technologies used to generate transgenic animals and plants are assessed, with examples of those being developed for commercial uses studied. This module consists of a 3 hour lecture once per week.
Microbial Biotechnology: Genes to Products
The topics you’ll study include the principles of genetic modification in prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms, including strain improvement strategies and biological control. You will have a 3 hour lecture once per week for this module.
Bacterial Genes and Development
Molecular events that occur during the control of gene expression in bacteria will be described. You'll consider case studies, which show how complex programmes of gene action can occur in response to environmental stimuli. You'll spend around 3 hours per week in lectures studying this module.
Molecular and Developmental Neurobiology
You’ll consider how the brain develops and connects, how the connections work, are maintained and repaired, how information is stored in the form of memory, and how our knowledge of neurobiology can be applied. This module involves spending 3 hours per week within practicals and having a 3 hour lecture once per week.
Medical Molecular Genetics
Presents information on the Human Genome Project and the methods employed in disease gene identification. Topics you’ll cover include the identification of the genes responsible for some of the most common inherited disorders and the development of strategies for treatment. You will have a 3 hour lecture once per week to study for this module.
Endocrinology and Metabolism
Covers the structure, function and control of the endocrine glands, particularly those which regulate metabolism. Interactions between components of the endocrine system and products of metabolism will be discussed. You will spend 3 hours in lectures and have a 2 hour practical per week during this module.
Considers the principles underlying the structure and organisation of natural systems. You’ll study topics such as diversity theory, community ecology and ecosystem functioning. You will have a 3 hour lecture once per week to study for this module.
Examines the basic concepts of vertebrate embryonic development. You’ll discuss specific topics including germ cells, blood and muscle cell differentiation, left-right asymmetry and miRNAs. You'll have a 2 hour lecture once per week to study for this module.
The Project is a year-long level 3 module. You will undertake detailed research on a chosen topic after discussion with a supervisor. Each project will involve collection of data by means such as experiment, questionnaire or observation, as well as the analysis and interpretation of the data in the context of previous work.
You will examine how genetics and biotechnology are being used for the improvement of human welfare, and consider whether claims for these methods are being over-stated. The focus will be upon the underlying ethical and socio-economic issues, rather than the technology. You will have a 2 hour lecture once per week during study of this module.
Molecular Plant Pathology
Covers the molecular techniques being used to develop an understanding of plant/pathogen interactions. You’ll consider the molecular biology of plant pathogens, how these cause disease, and the mechanisms used by plants to defend themselves against such pathogens. You'll spend around 3 hours per week in lectures studying this module.
You’ll examine the symbiotic relationships between plants and microbes, such as in nitrogen fixation and mycorrhizal associations, and contrast these with the relationships between plants and pathogenic microbes and the methods used by these to cause disease. This module consists of a 3 hour lecture once per week.
Considers immunological interactions between parasites and their hosts. Initially the mechanisms involved and the consequences of host responses/resistance to infection are reviewed across diverse taxa of parasitic organisms. You’ll discuss the strategies evolved by parasites to enable survival in the face of host immunity in some depth. You'll spend around 3 hours per week in lectures studying this module.
Biological Photography and Imaging II
Extends and develops your skills of creative and critical biological photography. You’ll continue to develop the practice and experience gained in Biological Photography and Imaging 1. You are encouraged to demonstrate increasing expertise in selected subject areas and/or specialist photographic techniques such as digital imaging and manipulation (using Photoshop CS software), digital video photography and editing, ecological and environmental photography, landscapes, macro and long lens photography and specialist lighting. Field and studio work continue to be essential elements of the module. You will have around 6 hours of lectures per week studying this module.
A detailed understanding of the genetics and biochemistry behind the properties of parasites and micro-organisms that cause major human diseases in the present day. You will have a 3 hour lecture once per week for this module.
Considers the genetic effects of reduced population size, especially relating to the conservation of endangered species. You’ll study topics including genetic drift and inbreeding in depth, from theoretical and practical standpoints. . You'll spend around 4 hours per week in lectures studying this module.
Examines a selection of acquired and inherited cancers, and develops an understanding of the role of the genes involved and how they can be analysed. To study for this module you will have a 3 hour lecture once per week.
Applied Environmental Physiology
Thousands of different man-made chemicals enter the environment and some are highly persistent and/or toxic. You’ll consider how organisms respond to pollution and other external stresses in general, and to different classes of toxic chemicals in particular. Several of these responses can be utilised as biomarkers, giving advance warning of possible ecological damage. The molecular actions of several pesticides are outlined, as are the mechanisms through which pesticide resistance can appear in pest populations. Finally, you’ll consider the roles of semiochemicals in signalling between pests, predators and potential food species, illustrating how these can be exploited for the purposes of eco-friendly pest management. You'll have a 3 hour lecture once per week and a 3 hour practical once per week to study for this module.
Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience
Considers ion channels at the molecular level, with topics including the structure and function of different ion channel groups and their modulation by drugs, pesticides and natural toxins. You’ll also consider the synthesis and transport of neurotransmitters and the formation and release of synaptic vesicles. To study for this module you will have a 4 hour lecture once per week.
Evolution and Behaviour
A series of student-driven assignments, discussion groups and problem-solving workshops on evolutionary biology, with an emphasis on behaviour. You’ll consider topics such as adaptation, sex and evolution, kinship theory, communication, and human behavioural ecology. You'll have 8 hours of practicals as well as 8 hours of seminars per week studying for this module.
Considers current knowledge of, and research into, the ecological causes and evolutionary processes that govern natural selection, adaptation and microevolution in natural populations. You’ll examine three approaches to the study of evolutionary ecology: theoretical and optimality models; the comparative method; and direct measurement of natural selection in the wild. You'll have 2 hours of practicals as well as 2 hours of seminars per week studying for this module.
Examines genetic variation in humans, including variation at the DNA level, and the study of human population history using genetic methods. Around 6 hours per week will be spent within lectures studying this module.
Considers a range of approaches to conservation biology, such as the measurement and monitoring of biodiversity, and the legal frameworks and management strategies that exist to protect it. You’ll discuss particular threats to biodiversity, such as habitat loss and invasive species. You will spend around 4 hours per week in lectures and have a 3 hour practical once per week to study for this module.
Ageing, Sex and DNA Repair
Examines the molecular causes of the ageing and malignant transformations of somatic cells that are observed during a single lifespan, and the necessity to maintain the genome intact from one generation to the next. Around 3 hours per week will be spent within lectures studying this module.
Plant Disease Control
Discusses applied aspects of plant disease control, comprising transmission, epidemiology, detection and diagnosis, and control options. You’ll cover control strategies based on application of fungicides, biological control, deployment of disease resistant varieties and biotechnological approaches. You’ll also consider the relative strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches. This module consists of a 4 hour lecture once per week.
Examines the mechanisms through which eukaryotic genes are expressed and regulated, with emphasis placed on recent research on transcriptional control in yeast and post-transcriptional control in eukaryotes. Studying this module will include having a 3 hour lecture once per week.