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Last modified: 25 May 2018 11:16

Course Overview

In lectures you are guided through the theory of evolution, complementing your other biological sciences courses and helping you make sense of the diversity in the living world.

In practical sessions on microevolution and phylogenetics, you gain insight into the processes of evolution and the tools used to study them.

Through talks and poster presentations you gain specialised knowledge and experience communicating complex ideas and synthesizing information from multiple sources.  

With focus on the fundamental importance of evolution for our understanding of the natural world, you learn about the interactions between science and society and how science progresses.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Professor Stuart Piertney

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Either Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4

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

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • One of BI1012 Diversity of Life 1 (Passed) or BI1512 Diversity of Life 2 (Passed) or BI2001 Community Ecology (Passed) or BI2002 Genes and Evolution (Passed) or BI2008 Diversity of Life (Passed) or BI2012 Diversity of Life - Theory (Passed) or BI2013 Diversity of Life - Practical (Passed) or BI2014 Diversity of Life - Semester 1 (Passed) or BI2016 Community Ecology (Passed) or BI2017 Genes and Evolution (Passed) or BI2019 Community Ecology (Passed) or BI2020 Ecology (Passed) or BI2508 Principles of Animal Physiology (Passed) or BI2510 Principles of Animal Physiology (Passed) or BI2514 Diversity of Life - Semester 2 (Passed)
  • One of BSc Biology (Studied) or BSc Conservation Biology (Studied) or BSc Zoology (Studied) or BSc Animal Ecology (Studied) or BSc Marine Biology (Studied) or BSc Animal Behaviour (Studied) or BSc Behavioural Biology (Studied) or MSci Biological Sciences (Studied) or BSc Biological Sciences (Honours) (Studied) or BSc Plant and Soil Sciences (Studied) or Bachelor Of Science In Environmental And Forest Management (Studied) or BSc Ecology (Studied) or BSc Forestry (Studied) or BSc Forest Sciences (Studied) or BSc Environmental Science (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

Origin of life, DNA structure; historical perspective of development of evolutionary theory; the principles of biodiversity; microevolution, molecular markers; speciation; fossil record; phylogenetics; key evolutionary transitions; human evolution; co-evolution, creationism; Darwininism.

Associated Costs


Further Information & Notes

(i) This course extends over 5 weeks only. (ii) Available only to students in Programme Year 3 or above.

This course runs in weeks 7-11, and is scheduled in Thread 1, so may have contact hours in any or all of these times:  Mondays, 9-13; Thursday, all day; Friday, 9-13.  If this is an optional course, there may also be contact hours on Wednesdays, 11-13.

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: 1 two-hour written examination (50%), and in-course assessment based upon practical write-up, poster and oral presentation (50%).

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

A strong emphasis will be made throughout the course on informal verbal feedback during seminar and workshop sessions.


Each student will receive individual feedback and a mark for each task. Feedback will be provided as written comments. Groups will also be given generic feedback.

Course Learning Outcomes


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