Natural Sciences
   
   
  

Psychology, Biological Sciences and Mathematical Sciences

Natural Sciences is a multidisciplinary degree which allows you to study three subjects in the first year and continue with two subjects in the second and third year. The combination of subjects which you study in the first year allows you to find out what each subject is like at university before you specialise further. You will also have the opportunity to explore specialist areas through optional modules as you progress through the course. Both of the subjects taken beyond the first year will be studied to degree level. This degree aims to provide you with a broad knowledge and understanding of your chosen areas of science, as well as experience of interdisciplinary study.

Year One

You will study 40 credits of each subject from your chosen three-subject pathway.

Psychology


20 compulsory credits:

Cognitive Psychology 1 (20 credits, Autumn semester)
Cognitive psychology is the study of mental processes, and this module will provide an introduction to the methods used by cognitive psychologists in their investigations of mental processes in humans. A wide range of topics will be discussed, with some introductory discussion of how they limit human performance in applied contexts. The mental processes to be covered include those that support attention, perception, language, memory, and thinking. You will have two one-hour lectures per week for this module.
 


20 compulsory credits from your chosen pathway:

Social and Development Psychology subpathway

Social Psychology (10 credits, Autumn semester)

This module introduces you to the core topics in social psychology, which is concerned with trying to understand the social behaviour of individuals in terms of both internal characteristics of the person (e.g. cognitive mental processes) and external influences (the social environment). Lectures will cover topics including how we define the self, attitudes, attribution, obedience, aggression, pro-social behaviour and formation of friendships. You will have a one-hour lecture weekly.

 
Developmental Psychology (10 credits, Spring semester)
You will receive an introduction to the fascinating world of the developing child. Lectures consider different theoretical, applied, and experimental approaches to cognitive, linguistic, and social development from early to late childhood. Topics include the development of thinking, perception, drawing, understanding the mind, intelligence, attachment, language, and moral development. You will have a one-hour lecture weekly.
 


Biological Psychology subpathway

Biological Psychology 1 (20 credits, Spring semester)
This module will give you an introduction to the neural and biological bases of cognition and behaviour. You will learn about the structure and evolution of the brain and the main functions of the different parts. You will examine how the brain receives, transmits, and processes information at the neural level, as well as its visual pathways. The main scientific methods for investigating brain and behaviour will also be covered. You will have two hours of lectures weekly.
 
 

Biological Sciences


40 compulsory credits from your chosen subpathway:

Molecular and Cellular Biology subpathway

Genes, Molecules and Cells (40 credits, full year)
This module combines lectures and laboratory classes and introduces you to the structure and function of significant molecules in cells, and the important metabolic processes which occur inside them. You will study, amongst other topics, protein and enzyme structure and function, the biosynthesis of cell components, and the role of cell membranes in barrier and transport processes. 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.
 


Organismal Biology subpathway

Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour (20 credits, full year)
Starting with Darwin’s theory of evolution, you will learn how natural selection and other evolutionary forces have shaped the ways in which organisms interact with each other and their environment. In addition to lectures, practical classes will give you hands-on experience with a range of ecological and behavioural concepts in the laboratory and the field.
 
Life on Earth (20 credits, full year)
Life on Earth provides an introduction to the fundamental characteristics and properties of the myriad of organisms which inhabit our planet, from viruses, bacteria and Archaea, to plants and animals. In weekly lectures, and regular laboratory practical classes, you will consider how living organisms are classified, how they are related genetically and phylogenetically, and basic aspects of their structure and function.
 
 

Mathematical Sciences


40 compulsory credits:

Analytical and Computational Foundations (20 credits, full year)
This module introduces students to a broad range of core mathematical concepts and techniques. It has three components.
  • Mathematical reasoning (the language of mathematics, the need for rigour, and methods of proof).
  • The computer package MATLAB and its applications.
  • Elementary analysis.
 
Calculus and Linear Algebra (20 credits, full year)

The module consolidates core GCE mathematical topics in the differential and integral calculus of a function of a single variable and used to solving some classes of differential equations. Basic theory is extended to more advanced topics in the calculus of several variables. In addition, the basic concepts of complex numbers, vector and matrix algebra are established and extended to provide an introduction to vector spaces. An emphasis in the module is to develop general skills and confidence in applying the methods of calculus and developing techiniques and ideas that are widely applicable and used in subsequent modules.

Major topics are:

  • differential and integral calculus of a single variable;
  • differential equations;
  • differential calculus of several variables;
  • multiple integrals;
  • complex numbers;
  • matrix algebra;
  • vector algebra and vector spaces.
 
 

 

Year Two

You will continue on a pathway comprising of two of your first year subjects. You will take 60 credits of modules from each subject and greater emphasis will be put on studying outside of formal classes.

Psychology


Biological Psychology subpathway

40 compulsory credits:

Cognitive Psychology 2 (20 credits, Autumn semester)
You will examine in greater depth perception, language, human memory, thinking, and problem solving. For each topic you will explore existing theories and contemporary issues to enable you to take an interdisciplinary perspective. You will have four hours of lectures per week.
 
Neuroscience and Behaviour (20 credits, Spring semester)
This module will cover issues in neuroscience and behaviour that are particularly relevant to understanding the biological bases of psychological functions. Among the topics to be covered are psychopharmacology, psychobiological explanations of mental disorders, dementia, sexual development, and behaviour and methods of studying neuropsychological processes. You will also examine the effects of brain damage on mental functioning including amnesias, agnosias, and aphasias, among other topics. You will have four hours per week of lectures for this module.
 


A further 20 credits from the options below:

  • Practical Methods 2 (20 credits, full year)
These practicals are designed to give students hands-on experience with designing, running, analysing and reporting Psychology experiments. These practical skills require the content taught in statistical courses. These practicals will provide students with the ability to conduct and evaluate scientific studies. Students will how interpret findings from inferential statistical test. The small-group approach helps students develop skills in project management and teamwork.
 
  • Statistical Methods 2 (20 credits, full year)
This module will cover the basic concepts and assumptions with respect to univariate and multivariate statistics, as well as issues relating to field studies, ethics, the reliability and validity issues as well as basic qualitative techniques. The module will cover ANOVA, post-hoc tests, power, multiple linear regression, factor analysis, the nature of causality and field designs (both experimental and quasi-experimental), ethics, the reliability and validity of measures and field designs, as well as exploring some basic issues in questionnaire design and qualitative methods. 
 
Conceptual and Historical Issues in Psychology and Individual Differences
(10 credits, Autumn semester)
You’ll learn about the scientific, historical, and philosophical underpinnings of psychology as a discipline, which will demonstrate the inherent variability and diversity in the theoretical approaches to psychology. By the end of the module, you will have a good knowledge and critical understanding of the influences of history on psychological theories. There will be two hours of lectures per week.
 
Personality and Individual Differences (10 credits, Autumn semester)
You will cover the psychological explanations of personality and individual differences. The relationship between the individual and society will be highlighted. In particular, the major personality theories are considered in detail and the application of these theories to areas such as abnormal psychology, criminal behaviour, and health are discussed. IQ is also covered along with the evolutionary bases of traits. You will have two hours of lectures per week.
 


Social and Developmental Psychology subpathway

Cognitive Psychology 2 (20 credits, Autumn semester)
You will examine in greater depth perception, language, human memory, thinking, and problem solving. For each topic you will explore existing theories and contemporary issues to enable you to take an interdisciplinary perspective. You will have four hours of lectures per week.
 
  • Conceptual and Historical Issues in Psychology and Individual Differences 
    (10 credits, Autumn semester)
You’ll learn about the scientific, historical, and philosophical underpinnings of psychology as a discipline, which will demonstrate the inherent variability and diversity in the theoretical approaches to psychology. By the end of the module, you will have a good knowledge and critical understanding of the influences of history on psychological theories. There will be two hours of lectures per week.
 
  • Personality and Individual Differences (10 credits, Autumn semester)
You will cover the psychological explanations of personality and individual differences. The relationship between the individual and society will be highlighted. In particular, the major personality theories are considered in detail and the application of these theories to areas such as abnormal psychology, criminal behaviour, and health are discussed. IQ is also covered along with the evolutionary bases of traits. You will have two hours of lectures per week.
 
  • Social and Developmental Psychology (20 credits, Spring semester)
You will examine theories and experimental studies of social processes and human development. Topics relating to social processes will include: social cognition and social thinking, conformity and obedience, intergroup behaviour, theories of attraction and relationships, prosocial behaviour and intrinsic motivation, and self-determination, among others. Human development topics are also explored in depth such as the development of phonology, the importance of social referencing in early language acquisition, and atypical socio-cognitive development in people with autism. You will have four hours of lectures weekly.
 
 

Biological Sciences


40 compulsory credits from your chosen subpathway:

Molecular and Cellular Biology subpathway (option 1)

  • The Genome & Human Disease (20 credits, Autumn semester)

In this module you will learn about the structure and function of the eukaryotic genome, including that of humans, and the approaches that have led to their understanding. You will learn about techniques that are employed to manipulate genes and genomes and how they can be applied to the field of medical genetics. By using specific disease examples, you will learn about the different type of DNA mutation that can lead to disease and how they have been identified. Practical elements will teach you about basic techniques used in medical genetics such as sub-cloning of DNA fragments into expression vectors. Practical classes and problem based learning will be used to explore the methods used for genetic engineering and genome manipulation.

 
  • Animal Behaviour and Physiology (20 credits, Spring semester)
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 three-hour lecture once per week for this module. 
 


Molecular and Cellular Biology subpathway (option 2)

The Genome & Human Disease (20 credits, Autumn semester)

In this module you will learn about the structure and function of the eukaryotic genome, including that of humans, and the approaches that have led to their understanding. You will learn about techniques that are employed to manipulate genes and genomes and how they can be applied to the field of medical genetics. By using specific disease examples, you will learn about the different type of DNA mutation that can lead to disease and how they have been identified. Practical elements will teach you about basic techniques used in medical genetics such as sub-cloning of DNA fragments into expression vectors. Practical classes and problem based learning will be used to explore the methods used for genetic engineering and genome manipulation.

 
Bacterial Genes and Development (10 credits, Spring semester)
Molecular events that occur during the control of gene expression in bacteria will be explored. You'll learn by considering case studies, which will show you how complex programmes of gene action can occur in response to environmental stimuli. You will also study the regulation of genes in pathogenic bacteria.
 
Microbial Biotechnology (10 credits, Spring semester)

You'll cover the key groups of eukaryotic and prokaryotic microorganisms relevant to microbial biotechnology, principles of GM, and strain improvement in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The impact of “omics”, systems biology, synthetic biology and effects of stress on industrial microorganisms are explored, alongside the activities of key microorganisms that we exploit for biotechnology.

 


Organismal Biology subpathway

Ecology (20 credits, Autumn semester)

You will learn about the forces determining the distribution and abundance of species and be able to use models to predict the dynamics of populations under a range of conditions. You will recognise how interactions between species can drive co-evolutionary processes leading to an understanding of the organisation of natural systems working systematically from populations through to communities, ecosystems and biogeographical scales.

 
The Green Planet (20 credits, Spring semester)
This module explores the evolution of key plant systems through deep time, and the significance of this process for understanding modern ecology and food security. You will learn about the challenges that plants faced when moving onto land and evolutionary innovations within the early spermatophytes. You will also gain an understanding of the power of natural selection in producing plant diversity over deep time.
 


Optional biology modules

A further 20 credits from the options below:

Signalling & Metabolic Regulation (20 credits, full year)
This module will explain the main signalling mechanisms that take place in eukaryotic cells. You will learn about the main signalling mechanisms and pathways which can control protein levels, activity and intra-cellular site of action. This knowledge will then be placed in the context of the regulation of major metabolic pathways, such that you will understand the factors influencing metabolic control, and dysregulation leading to major modern diseases like type II diabetes and heart disease.
 
Building Brains (20 credits, Autumn semester)

Studying this module, you'll be able to explain how the nervous system develops, is organised, and processes information. This will be achieved through presentation of comparative invertebrate and vertebrate studies, consideration of evolutionary concepts, and a detailed analysis of the development, structure, and function of the mammalian brain. The lecture sessions are complemented by workshops on Drosophila and chick embryo development, on the neuroanatomy of the human spinal cord, and dissection of pig brains subject to the availability of tissue.

 
Infection & Immunity (20 credits, Autumn semester)

In this module you will study basic immunology, learning about the organs, cells and molecules of the immune system and the mechanisms engaged in the generation an of immune response to pathogens. You will learn by studying examples of types of human pathogens (viral, bacterial, fungal, protozoa and helminths), the varied nature of the immune response, depending on the pathogen, its niche(s) in the host and pathogen strategies for invading and surviving in the host. You will learn how immunological methods can be effectively utilized for disease diagnosis and vaccine development, and about the consequences of failure of normal immune function, including autoimmunity and hypersensitivity.

 
Neurones and Glia (20 credits, Autumn semester)

This module will provide you with an understanding of the mechanisms behind electrical conduction in neurones. You will learn about the generation of the membrane potential and its essential role in signaling within the nervous system. You will develop an appreciation of the role of ion channels in the generation of trans-membrane currents and how myelin can accelerate signal conduction. You will also learn about the important supporting roles that astrocytes and glial cells play in the nervous system in order to ensure its efficient functioning.

 
Structure, Function and Analysis of Proteins (20 credits, Autumn semester)

This module considers the structure and function of soluble proteins and how individual proteins can be studied in molecular detail. More specifically you will learn about the problems associated with studying membrane-bound proteins and build an in-depth understanding of enzyme kinetics and catalysis. You will learn about the practical aspects of affinity purification, SDS PAGE, western blotting, enzyme assays, bioinformatics and molecular modelling approaches.

 
Neurobiology of Disease (20 credits, Spring semester)

This module will teach you the underlying neurophysiology and pathology associated with several common CNS disorders and the neuropharmacology of currently available medication. You will learn about the neurotransmitters and pathways involved in normal brain function and how changes in these contribute to abnormal function. You will also decipher the pharmacological mechanisms of drugs used to treat these CNS disorders. You will cover numerous human diseases including those with great significance such as Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, schizophrenia and autism.

 
Evolutionary Biology of Animals (10 credits, Autumn semester)
Introduces key evolutionary concepts and their application in the animal kingdom. Areas you will study include the history of evolutionary thinking, natural selection versus the neutral theory, sexual selection and human evolution. 
 
Developmental Biology (10 credits, Spring semester)
Examines the basic concepts of vertebrate embryonic development. You will discuss specific topics including germ cells, blood and muscle cell differentiation, left-right asymmetry and miRNAs. The teaching for this module is delivered through lectures. 
 
Molecular Imaging (10 credits, Spring semester)

This module enables you to develop an elementary understanding of modern molecular imaging techniques, in addition to a historical overview of microscopy. You will acquire theoretical and practical knowledge of how to localise and analyse macromolecule behaviours in fixed and living cells.

 
 

Mathematical Sciences


40 compulsory credits:

Modelling with Differential Equations (20 credits, full year)
This course aims to provide students with tools which enable them to develop and analyse linear and nonlinear mathematical models based on ordinary and partial differential equations. Furthermore, it aims to introduce students to the fundamental mathematical concepts required to model the flow of liquids and gases and to apply the resulting theory to model physical situations. This course leads to further study of mathematical models in medicine and biology and fluid mechanics. It also provides a foundation for further study of differential equations.
 
Vector Calculus (10 credits, Autumn semester)
This course aims to give students a sound grounding in the application of both differential and integral calculus to vectors, and to apply vector calculus methods and separation of variables to the solution of partial differential equations. The course is an important pre-requisite for a wide range of other courses in Applied Mathematics.
 
Differential Equations and Fourier Analysis (10 credits, Spring semester)
This course aims to introduce standard methods of solution for linear ordinary and partial differential equations and to introduce the idea and practice of Fourier series and integral transforms. The mathematical methods taught in this module find wide application across a range of courses in applied mathematics.
 

 

20 compulsory credits from your chosen subpathway:

Modelling 1 subpathway

  • Introduction to Scientific Computation (20 credits, full year)
This module introduces basic techniques in numerical methods and numerical analysis which can be used to generate approximate solutions to problems that may not be amenable to analysis. Specific topics include:
  • Implementing algorithms in Matlab;
  • Discussion of errors (including rounding errors);
  • Iterative methods for nonlinear equations (simple iteration, bisection, Newton, convergence);
  • Gaussian elimination, matrix factorisation, and pivoting;
  • Iterative methods for linear systems, matrix norms, convergence, Jacobi, Gauss-Siedel.
  • Interpolation (Lagrange polynomials, orthogonal polynomials, splines)
  • Numerical differentiation & integration (Difference formulae, Richardson extrapolation, simple and composite quadrature rules)
  • Introduction to numerical ODEs (Euler and Runge-Kutta methods, consistency, stability) 
 


Modelling 2 subpathway

  • Introduction to Mathematical Physics (20 credits, full year)
This course develops Newtonian mechanics into the more powerful formulations due to Lagrange and Hamilton and introduces the basic structure of quantum mechanics. The course provides the foundation for a wide range of more advanced courses in mathematical physics.
 
 

 

Year Three

You will continue with the same two subjects studied in the second year, taking 50 credits in each. Alongside subject-specific study, you will undertake a 20-credit synoptic module which aims to tie together the subjects you are studying through an interdisciplinary group project.

Psychology


20 compulsory credits:

  • Natural Sciences Synoptic Module (20 credits, full year)


Biological Psychology subpathway

30 compulsory credits:

  • Neuropsychology of Action: The Body in the Brain (10 credits, Autumn semester)
This module examines the psychological and neural basis for the planning and control of human action. Students will be introduced to scientific research, through their guided exploration of the neuropsychological bases for human action. During the course students will experience the multi-disciplinary nature of research into human behaviour, and by the end of the course, will understand how a single issue can be addressed from multiple perspectives including: experimental psychology, neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, neuropsychology, and functional brain-imaging.
 
  • Neuropsychology and Applied Neuroimaging (10 credits, Autumn semester)
You will examine the deficits seen in individuals who have suffered brain damage. You will learn about the impairments to language, memory, perception, attention, motor control, executive control, and emotion. This module evaluates both the clinical and theoretical aspects of these syndromes. In particular, you will evaluate the implications regarding how the healthy brain functions. There are two hours per week of lectures for this module.
 
The Visual Brain: Evolution, Development, Learning and Adaptation (10 credits, Autumn semester)
The central theme of this module is to explore how the architecture and function of the visual brain has been designed and shaped by experiences over a range of timescales. The innate properties of the eye and visual brain that are present at birth have been designed over millions of years of evolution. The brain continues to physically change it structure and function within a lifetime  a property termed brain plasticity. Over the years of development, brain plasticity is the driving force for the maturation of different visual brain functions. Even well into adulthood, plasticity is retained in the form of learning, which can optimise performance for certain visual tasks and be exploited for therapeutic uses. Another prominent form of plasticity in the visual brain is that caused by adaptation effects of visual experience over the preceding tens of milliseconds to minutes. The module will examine the consequences of evolution, development, learning and adaptation for visual brain function and perception. 
 


A further 20 credits from the options below:

Mechanisms of Learning and Psychopathology (20 credits, full year)
To provide students with an understanding of the findings of, and theories derived from, experimental studies of learning in humans and animals and the application of this research to instances of psychopathology in people. To provide knowledge about: the principles and properties of associative learning; instances in which learning produces undesirable behaviour; attentional processes and biases in animals and humans; the representation of conditional knowledge; the effects of neural manipulations on these processes. To encourage critical appraisal of models and experimental evidence. To encourage high-quality written communication skills.
 
  • Social Neuroscience Research (20 credits, full year)
To provide students with an advanced understanding of current social and cognitive neuroscience topics, as well as an understanding of the methods and analyses required to test specific theories related to that topic, and guidance on the critical evaluation of research papers. Students will receive lectures on and study a specific social neuroscience issue in detail, and will devise ways to further research into that issue. The course will provide an introduction to neuroscience methods and will focus on current research and theory behind various aspects of human social interaction, speech communication and body perception from a neuroscience perspective. Complementary evidence from different branches of behavioural and cognitive sciences will be integrated with current neuroscientific research. The course will focus predominantly on the neural mechanisms thought to be involved in the interpretation of our own and others’ bodies, actions, faces, voices and emotions. The course will also provide advice on developing ideas for research as well as how to write for each assessment.
 


Social and Developmental Psychology subpathway

40 compulsory credits:

Cognitive Development and Autism (10 credits, Autumn semester)
You will cover modern version of nativist and empiricist theories of cognitive development. This module will also give you an overview of current theories which have been proposed to explain Autism Spectrum Disorder. It will provide an evaluation of these theories using behavioural, clinical and neurophysiological evidence from a range of domains including drawing and musical skills (savant skills), scientific knowledge, maths, social learning (trust and imitation) and social motivation. You will have two hours of lectures per week for this module.
 
Applied Psychology: Road User Behaviour (10 credits, Spring semester)
The course will cover road user behaviour from a number of psychological perspectives. Topics will include a critical review of brain scanning studies of driving, the visual skills required for driving, the effects of aging and experience, distraction (from in-car devices such as mobile phones, and from out-of-car objects such as road-side advertisements), and the skill of hazard perception (and whether this can be adequately measured as part of the licensing procedure). The course will also cover memory for driving events (from everyday driving to road traffic accidents), influences of emotion on driving (e.g. does the aggression-frustration hypothesis explain road rage?), and social and individual differences related to crash risk (e.g. sensation-seeking and risk propensity).
 
Developmental Dyslexia: Psychological and Educational Perspectives (10 credits, Spring semester)
This module will give students an in depth understanding of the characteristics of developmental dyslexia. They will also learn about the main theories used to explain the presence of this developmental disorder and their relative merits in explaining components of dyslexia. Students will also gain an appreciation of developmental dyslexia within the context of research and educational environments where reasons for assessment and identification of dyslexia may differ. Students will gain experience of: synthesising and critically evaluating information; the methods used to assess children and adults with dyslexia; and the educational and environmental accommodations made for those with a diagnosis of dyslexia. This module should benefit students with an interest in developmental, cognitive or educational psychology, and those wishing to pursue a career in child psychology, educational psychology, general teaching practice and/or special needs education.
 
Understanding Developmental Disorders (10 credits, Spring semester)

This module explores how psychologists study and understand disorders of cognitive development. The course focuses largely on disorders which include impairments in attention, memory and/or executive function. Disorders covered include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, reading disorders and Down Syndrome. List of lectures
1. General introduction and research methods
2. Typical development of attention/memory and executive function
3. ADHD
4. Autism
5. Developmental Coordination Disorder
6. Fragile X Syndrome
7. Down Syndrome
8. Preterm Birth
9. Interventions
10. Revision

 

 

A further 10 credits from the options below:

Educational Psychology (10 credits, Autumn semester)
This module provides an introduction to the contexts in which educational psychologists operate by examining the historical development of this profession within a set of major legislative and policy contexts, such as the recent drive to increase social inclusion. The module will concentrate on assessment and intervention work with specific populations such as young people who display challenging behaviour in schools, vulnerable adolescents, and bilingual learners. You will also examine psychological approaches to group work with teachers and pupils as well as the application of system theory in helping transform aspects of schools and other organisations. There will be two hours of lectures per week.
 
Forensic and Mental Health (10 credits, Autumn semester)
You will receive an introduction to this growing area of psychology, with a focus on criminality. The module will concentrate on offending behaviours, typical categorisation of those who commit crimes or harm themselves, standard interventions for offenders, and the neuroscience of offending. The module will also cover the current research on specific offending behaviours, and examine the role of the criminal justice system and health service in dealing with individuals who offend. You’ll have two hours of lectures per week for this module.
 
Clinical Psychology (10 credits, Spring semester)
The aim of the course is to introduce the students to the concept of abnormal psychology and the application of psychology in clinical settings. The course will illustrate how psychological models are developed and how they are applied in developing interventions. The emphasis will be on examining theory and evaluation of interventions for a number of disorders/clinical issues.
 
 

Biological Sciences


30 compulsory credits:

  • Natural Sciences Synoptic Module (20 credits, full year)
Molecular Biological Laboratory Studies (10 credits, Spring semester)
This is a mini project based practical module that not only aims to provide underlying principles of key techniques in molecular biology but also enables students to get hands-on experience in a wide range of molecular techniques.In addition, students will learn key skills in bioinformatics and will also be exposed to a few key analytical techniques.
 


30 compulsory credits from your chosen subpathway:

Molecular and Cellular Biology subpathway (option 1)

Advanced Biochemistry (20 credits, full year)
This module is divided into three parts: Firstly the application of genetic engineering to construct vectors that maximize the expression the expression of protein from cloned genes or cDNAs in heterologous systems will be discussed. Modern methods for the purification of recombinant proteins will be described. In the spring the module covers the life history of a protein from birth (synthesis) to death (apoptosis). The other major aspects that are involved include a discussion of protein folding, the cytoskeleton, protein and vesicle trafficking including endocytosis and protein degradation.
 
Gene Regulation (10 credits, Autumn semester)
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 three hours of lectures per week.
 


Molecular and Cellular Biology subpathway (option 2)

Human Variation (10 credits, Autumn semester)
Examines genetic variation in humans, including variation at the DNA level, and the study of human population history using genetic methods. Around three hours per week will be spent within lectures studying this module.
 
Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience (10 credits, Autumn semester)
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 will also consider the synthesis and transport of neurotransmitters and the formation and release of synaptic vesicles. This module involves one three hour session per week incorporating eight lectures and two practical sessions.
 
Molecular Evolution (10 credits, Spring semester)

During this module you will examine the ways in which DNA and protein sequences are used to investigate evolutionary relationships among organisms. You will study topics including the techniques of sequence comparison and the construction of evolutionary trees. You will spend three hours of lectures per week plus a total of two three-hour practicals in this module.

 


Organismal Biology subpathway

Evolutionary Ecology (10 credits, Autumn semester)
Considers current knowledge of, and research into, the ecological causes and evolutionary processes that govern natural selection, adaptation and microevolution in natural populations. You will 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 will have two-to three hours of lectures each week in this module.
 
Population Genetics (10 credits, Autumn semester)
You will consider the history and practice of population genetics research, with a focus on a quantitative approach to the subject, with training in problem-solving skills. You will spend around two hours within lectures per week studying this module, plus a two-hour computer practical.
 
Molecular Evolution (10 credits, Spring semester)

During this module you will examine the ways in which DNA and protein sequences are used to investigate evolutionary relationships among organisms. You will study topics including the techniques of sequence comparison and the construction of evolutionary trees. You will spend three hours of lectures per week plus a total of two three-hour practicals in this module.

 


Genetics subpathway

Open to students from Molecular and Cellular Biology and Organismal Biology subpathways.

Human Variation (10 credits, Autumn semester)
Examines genetic variation in humans, including variation at the DNA level, and the study of human population history using genetic methods. Around three hours per week will be spent within lectures studying this module.
 
Population Genetics (10 credits, Autumn semester)
You will consider the history and practice of population genetics research, with a focus on a quantitative approach to the subject, with training in problem-solving skills. You will spend around two hours within lectures per week studying this module, plus a two-hour computer practical.
 
Molecular Evolution (10 credits, Spring semester)

During this module you will examine the ways in which DNA and protein sequences are used to investigate evolutionary relationships among organisms. You will study topics including the techniques of sequence comparison and the construction of evolutionary trees. You will spend three hours of lectures per week plus a total of two three-hour practicals in this module.

 

Additional biology modules

A further 10 credits from the options below:

Advanced Developmental Biology (10 credits, Autumn semester)
You will consider the molecular mechanisms underlying stem cell function during embryogenesis and adulthood. This will involve studies of regeneration and repair of tissues and pluripotency. You will have one two-hour lecture per week in this module. 
 
Aging, Sex and DNA Repair (10 credits, Spring semester)
Examine the molecular causes of the ageing and malignant transformations of somatic cells that are observed during a single lifespan, and gain an understanding of the necessity to maintain the genome intact from one generation to the next. Around three hours per week will be spent within lectures studying this module.
 
Cancer Biology (10 credits, Spring semester)
Examine a selection of acquired and inherited cancers, and develop an understanding of the role of the genes involved and how they can be analysed. To study for this module you will have a two- or three-hour lecture once per week.
 
 

Mathematical Sciences


20 compulsory credits:

  • Natural Sciences Synoptic Module (20 credits, full year)


30 compulsory credits from your chosen subpathway:

Modelling 1 subpathway

  • Mathematical Medicine and Biology (20 credits, Autumn semester)
Mathematics can be usefully applied to a wide range of applications in medicine and biology. Without assuming any prior biological knowledge, this course describes how mathematics helps us understand topics such as population dynamics, biological oscillations, pattern formation and nonlinear growth phenomena. There is considerable emphasis on model building and development.
 
  • Game Theory (10 credits, Spring semester)
Game theory contains many branches of mathematics (and computing); the emphasis here is primarily algorithmic. The module starts with an investigation into normal-form games, including strategic dominance, Nash equilibria, and the Prisoner’s Dilemma. We look at tree-searching, including alpha-beta pruning, the ‘killer’ heuristic and its relatives. It then turns to mathematical theory of games; exploring the connection between numbers and games, including Sprague-Grundy theory and the reduction of impartial games to Nim.
 

 

Modelling 2 subpathway

  • Coding and Cryptography (10 credits, Autumn semester)
This course provides an introduction to coding theory in particular to error-correcting codes and their uses and applications. It also provides an introduction to to cryptography , including classical mono- and polyalphabetic ciphers as well as modern public key cryptography and digital signatures, their uses and applications.
 
  • Differential Equations (20 credits, Autumn semester)
This course introduces various analytical methods for the solution of ordinary and partial differential equations, focussing on asymptotic techniques and dynamical systems theory. Students taking this course will build on their understanding of differential equations covered in MATH2012.
 

 

Optional mathematics modules

A further 20 credits from the options below:

  • Differential Equations (20 credits, Autumn semester)
This course introduces various analytical methods for the solution of ordinary and partial differential equations, focussing on asymptotic techniques and dynamical systems theory. Students taking this course will build on their understanding of differential equations covered in MATH2012.
 
  • Electromagnetism (20 credits, Spring semester)

The course complements others in the Waves Pathway by providing an introduction to electromagnetism and the electrodynamics of charged particles. The aims of this course are:

  • to develop an appropriate mathematical model of electromagnetic phenomena that is informed by observations;
  • to understand electromagnetic configurations of practical importance and to relate predictions made to everyday phenomena;
  • to illustrate the use of solutions of certain canonical partial differential equations for determining electrostatic fields and electromagnetic waves in vacuum and in matter;
  • to illustrate the interplay between experimental input and the development of a mathematical model, and the use of various mathematical techniques for solving relevant problems.
 
  • Fluid Dynamics (20 credits, Spring semester)
This course aims to extend previous knowledge of fluid flow by introducing the concept of viscosity and studying the fundamental governing equations for the motion of liquids and gases. Methods for solution of these equations are introduced, including exact solutions and approximate solutions valid for thin layers. A further aim is to apply the theory to model fluid dynamical problems of physical relevance.
 
  • Topics in Scientific Computation (20 credits, Spring semester)
 

 

Year Four (MSci students only)

You will choose one of your third-year subjects to focus on in the fourth year, spending half your time working on an independent research project aiming to develop the skills needed to pursue a career in research. Alongside the project you take taught modules in your main subject and if you wish to maintain some breadth you can also take options from your other third year subject.

Biological Sciences


100 compulsory credits:

Life Sciences Project (60 credits, full year)
The project is a year-long module. Preparatory work (familiarisation with laboratory/field safety protocols etc.) will occur in autumn, with the bulk of practical work in spring. The topic of the project will be chosen from a list of suggestions relevant to the degree subject, and will be finalised after consultation with a member of staff, who will act as a supervisor. The project involves an extensive piece of detailed research on the topic chosen after discussion with the supervisor. The practical component will involve collection of data from a laboratory or field investigation and appropriate analysis. The findings will be interpreted in the context of previous work, and written-up in a clear and concise final report in the form of a research paper manuscript or end-of-grant report. The main findings will also be delivered in an assessed oral presentation and discussed with two assessors in a viva voce.
 
Research Planning and Preparation (20 credits, full year)

This is a year-long module, but with most of the work being complete by the end of January. The module focuses on the preparing students to engage in substantial independent research in Life Sciences, and is supported by lecture content in Research Presentation Skills (C14705). Students choose a research topic from a list provided the previous academic year, and are allocated an individual research supervisor accordingly. In regular meetings, student and supervisor discuss relevant research literature and design a practical research project addressing a specific hypothesis. Assessment is via a substantial research proposal.

 
Research Presentation Skills (20 credits, full year)
The module aims to provide students with a range of presentation and IT skills that are essential for modern biological researchers. The workshop content will provide a conceptual framework, while journal clubs and coursework will deliver the hands-on experience required to develop appropriate practical skills.
 

 

Optional biology modules

Up to a further 20 credits from the options below:

  • Cutting-edge Research Technologies and Ideas in Molecular Biology (10 credits, Autumn semester)
This module will bring you up to date with the latest technological developments in molecular biology that you are unlikely to have encountered in detail in your first three years. We also discuss and explore how new technologies with broad implications come into existence and follow the process of establishment, acceptance and dissemination through the scientific community. You will have a three hour workshop once per week for this module.
 
  • Advanced Experimental Design and Analysis (10 credits, Autumn semester)
This is an advanced level biological statistics module which builds on basic undergraduate training. Lectures discuss concepts in experimental design, biological probability, generalised linear modelling and multivariate statistics. Practical sessions build on this conceptual outline, giving you hands-on experience of problem solving and analytical software, and some basic programming skills. You will spend three to four hours within lectures and workshops when studying this module.
 
  • Process and Practice in Science (10 credits, Autumn semester)
A consideration of science ‘as a process’, with brief introductions to the history, philosophy and sociological norms of science. You will cover aspects of the scientific literature and scientific communication, peer review, 'metrics’, including citation analysis, journal impact factors, and the 'h' and other indices of measuring scientists' performances. You will also cover ethics in science and the changing relationship between scientists, government and the public. You will have a three hour lecture once per week during this module.
 
  • Current Trends in Neuroscience (10 credits, Autumn semester)
This module will be concerned with an appreciation of current and future directions of research in neuroscience. Current topics will be selected as appropriate from scientific journals (eg Nature, Science, Brain Research, Journal of Neuroscience ) and/or review journals (eg Trends in Neuroscience, Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, Annual Review series).
 
 

Mathematical Sciences


60 compulsory credits:

  • Mathematics Project (60 credits, full year)


Minimum of 40 credits, maximum of 60 credits from the options below:

  • Advanced Techniques for Differential Equations (20 credits, Autumn semester)

The development of techniques for the study of nonlinear differential equations is a major worldwide research activity to which members of the School have made important contributions. This course will cover a number of state-of-the-art methods, namely:

  • use of green function methods in the solution of linear partial differential equations
  • characteristic methods, classification and regularization of nonlinear partial differentiation equations
  • bifurcation theory

These will be illustrated by applications in the biological and physical sciences.

 
  • Computational and Systems Biology (20 credits, Autumn semester)
The purpose of this module is to deepen and broaden the students’ knowledge and experience of computational and systems biology techniques, including the use of numerical solutions of ODEs and PDEs, and of relevant computer packages (eg MATLAB, Python/Scipy).
 
  • Quantum Information Science (20 credits, Autumn semester)
This Quantum Theory Pathway course gives a mathematical introduction to quantum information theory. Its content builds on MATH2013 with the aim of providing the student with a background in quantum information science which will facilitate further independent learning and the access to current research topics.
 
  • Scientific Computation and C++ (20 credits, Autumn semester)
The purpose of this course is to introduce concepts of scientific programming using the object oriented language C++ for applications arising in the mathematical modelling of physical processes. Students taking this module will develop knowledge and understanding of a variety or relevant numerical techniques and how to efficiently implement them in C++.
 
  • Applied Nonlinear Dynamics (20 credits, Spring semester)
The course will cover Nonlinear oscillations, including the linear stability of limit cycles (Floquet theory), the Mathieu equation, and relaxation oscillators (using geometric singular perturbation theory). Synchronisation by periodic forcing will be discussed using the notion of isochrons and phase-response curves, as well as Poincaré sections, circle-maps, mode-locking, and Arnol’d tongues. The treatment of Chaos will cover tests for chaos (Liapunov exponents and spectral analysis), strange and chaotic attractors, fractal boundaries, and routes to chaos in nonlinear dynamical systems. The analysis of Oscillator networks will cover weakly coupled phase-oscillators, Kuramoto networks, and the master-stability theorem for linearly coupled limit-cycle networks. The extension of techniques to Non-smooth dynamical systems will be developed for piece-wise linear systems (exact analysis), impact oscillators (with grazing bifurcations), and integrate-and-fire models (from neurons to networks). The course will conclude with a treatment of Spatially extended systems, covering pattern formation (in both PDE and integral equation models), and weakly nonlinear analysis (amplitude equations and pattern selection).
 
  • Advanced Fluid Mechanics (20 credits, Spring semester)
This course forms part of the Fluid and Solid Mechanics pathway within Applied Mathematics. Students taking this course will develop their knowledge of specialised topics within fluid mechanics and be introduced to areas of active research.
 
  • Computational Applied Mathematics (20 credits, Spring semester)
This course introduces computational methods for solving problems in applied mathematics. Students taking this course will develop knowledge and understanding to design, justify and implement relevant computational techniques and methodologies.
 
 

 

The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

 

Natural Sciences

School of Chemistry, University of Nottingham
University Park
NG7 2RD

Tel: +44 (0) 115 823 2376
Fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3555
Email: naturalsciences@nottingham.ac.uk