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Last modified: 28 Jun 2018 10:27

Course Overview

Fundamental concepts of animal behaviour are introduced through a series of lectures and practicals, essential knowledge for those interested in better understanding animal behaviour as well as potentially undertaking an animal behaviour Honours project.

During the practicals students are encouraged to reflect on the theoretical knowledge learned during the lectures and apply that in explaining the observed behaviour of animals.

Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of animal behaviour by producing an innovative multimedia presentation on the observed behaviour of a species of their choice.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Lesley Lancaster

Qualification Prerequisites


What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • One of BSc Medical Science (Medical Humanities) (Studied) or BSc Medical Science (Studied) or BSc Physiology (Studied) or BSc Neuroscience with Psychology (Studied) or MSci Neuroscience with Psychology & in Pl't (Studied) or BSc Pharmacology (Studied) or BSc Sports & Exercise Science (Studied) or BSc Health Sciences (Studied) or BSc Health Sciences (Health Services Res) (Studied) or BSc Health Sciences (Health Promotion) (Studied) or BSc Health Sciences (Health & Nutrition) (Studied) or BSc Health Sciences (Health & Sport) (Studied) or BSc Biomedical Sciences (Physiology) (Studied) or BSc Biomedical Sciences (Pharmacology) (Studied) or BSc Biomedical Sciences (Anatomy) (Studied) or BSc Biomedical Sciences (Develop'l Biol) (Studied) or BSc Biomedical Sciences (Molecular Biol) (Studied) or BSc Immunology and Pharmacology (Studied) or BSc Biology (Studied) or BSc Conservation Biology (Studied) or BSc Plant Biology (Studied) or BSc Zoology (Studied) or BSc Animal Ecology (Studied) or BSc Marine Biology (Studied) or BSc Parasitology (Studied) or BSc Animal Behaviour (Studied) or BSc Genetics (Studied) or BSc Genetics (Immunology) (Studied) or BSc Microbiology (Studied) or BSc Molecular Microbiology (Studied) or BSc Immunology (Studied) or BSc Sports Studies (Exercise and Health) (Studied) or BSc Biochemistry (Studied) or BSc Biochemistry (Immunology) (Studied) or BSc Psychology (Studied) or International BSc Foundation Programme (Psychology) (Studied) or BSc Behavioural Biology (Studied) or BSc Psychology with Gaelic (Studied) or BSc Psychology with French (Studied) or BSc Psychology with German (Studied) or MSci Biological Sciences (Studied) or BSc Biological Sciences (Honours) (Studied) or International BSc Foundation Programme (Biological Sciences) (Studied) or BSc Human Embryology & Dev'l Biology (Studied) or BSc Molecular Biology (Studied) or BSc Plant and Soil Sciences (Studied) or Bachelor Of Science In Environmental And Forest Management (Studied) or BSc Ecology (Studied) or BSc Wildlife Management (Studied) or BSc Forestry (Studied) or BSc Forest Sciences (Studied) or BSc Environmental Science (Studied) or BSc Biotechnology (Applied Molecular Bio) (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Course Aims: To introduce the scientific investigation of paradigms in behavioural biology, specificially to understand the physiological and ecological basis of behaviour, to apply these bases to a variety of circumstances and environmental challenges that animals encounter, to synthesise behavioural evolution and maintenance into the natural and sexual selection paradigms of biology. Main Learning Outcomes: Upon completion of this course students will have... * Examined the function, causation, development and evolutionary history of an observed behaviour. * Communicated complex concepts in behavioural biology to a general audience. * Demonstrated understanding of the concepts underlying behavioural biology. Content: This course introduces the biological basis for animal behaviour, considering how behaviour contributes to survival, the proximate mechanisms of behaviours, behavioural development and evolution. The first part of the course covers regulations, controls and mechanisms; the second part covers developmental, learning and cognitive processes of acquiring behaviour; the third part of the course covers living with others (e.g., reproducing, social systems and communication). The fourth part of the course covers evolutionary aspects of behaviour, including selection processes, evolutionarily stable strategies, and extra-genetic inheritance.

Associated Costs


Further Information & Notes

This course runs in weeks 25-29, and is scheduled in Thread 2, so may have contact hours in any or all of these times:  Mondays, 14-18; Tuesday, all day; Friday, 14-18.  If this is an optional course, there may also be contact hours on Wednesdays, 9-11.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: A two hour written examination (40%); continuous assessment (60%). An overall pass grade of CGS D3 will have to be achieved to pass the course. Coursework is based graphical abstract on the evolution of co-operation (25%), and a behavioural challenge which requires the production of a media piece that is presented to class (25%) and an online quiz (10%).

Resit: Similar to 1st attempt, with continuous assessment mark(s) and /or exam mark carried forward with an opportunity to resit either or both, depending on what was failed in the first attempt.

Formative Assessment

Discussion sessions will provide opportunity for student-student and student-tutor interaction. Formative assessment will be provided during this interaction.


Students will receive written feedback on their report, presentation and quiz. Generic feedback will be provided to the class after each assignment to provide guidance on areas to focus on for improvement. Students who are identified as having difficulty in successfully completing the coursework assessment tasks will be invited to meet members of the course team to identify difficulties and discuss solutions.

Course Learning Outcomes


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