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Last modified: 26 Feb 2018 18:32

Course Overview

  • Eleven themes are explored in engaging lectures, exploring organismal biology and introducing you to the science that underpins current understanding of biology.
  • Structured practical sessions and class activities help you to develop your study and laboratory skills, and provide you with a strong foundation for a successful transition into university study.
  • Regular assignments, a mix of online tests, practical reports and reading assignments, structure your activities and help you progress through the course material.
  • Weekly guest lectures about current research helps you to see how basic biological concepts are being applied to real world problems.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 1
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study Yes
  • Dr John Baird
  • Dr Clare Trinder

Qualification Prerequisites


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

  • Either Programme Level 1 or Programme Level 2
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • BI1008 Introduction to Biological Sciences (Passed)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Course Aims


  • To engage and enthuse level one students with the study of organismal biology.
  • To support students in the transition into university study by developing their ownership and independence over learning.
  • To promote the development of essential study skills and basic experimental and laboratory skills, including good practice in the use of a lab notebook.

Main Learning Outcomes


  • Recognise that our current understanding of biology is contested and provisional, set within a history of scientific exploration and experimentation, and a dynamic continuation of scientific advances.
  • Describe and evaluate the evidence for the mechanisms of life processes, and the interactions of structure and function at the organismal level.
  • Explain how evolutionary theory is relevant to biological sciences.
  • Demonstrate competence in investigating, recording and analysing material in practical sessions.

Course Content


  • Attending a series of themed lectures that cover a theme's core content, some of the science or scientists that contributed to our understanding, and examples of current research related to the theme.
  • Reading and summarizing a set of chapters and papers related to the themes.

  • Completing formative online multiple choice tests  that relate to the content of the lectures and practical sessions.

  • Passing a final exam based on multiple choice questions.

  • Maintaining a lab notebook to an appropriate standard and satisfactory completion of the write-ups associated with the practical sessions.

  • In addition, there is a non-compulsory Weekly Challenge which allows students to collect up to 3 extra marks to be added to their exam grade. The Weekly Challenge involves a range of activities such as general biological knowledge quizzes, testing writing skills and tracking down information.

Associated Costs

Course practicals require the use of a lab coat which can be purchased locally for £15

Further Information & Notes

3 x 1 hour lectures each week and 1 x 3 hour practical every fortnight

Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed

  • BSc Animal Behaviour
  • BSc Behavioural Biology
  • BSc Biological Sciences (Honours)
  • BSc Biology
  • BSc Conservation Biology
  • BSc Ecology
  • BSc Environmental Chemistry
  • BSc Environmental Science
  • BSc Marine Biology
  • BSc Plant and Soil Sciences
  • BSc Zoology
  • Bachelor Of Science In Environmental And Forest Management
  • MSci Biological Sciences
  • Master of Chemistry (Environmental Chemistry)

Contact Teaching Time

81 hours

This is the total time spent in lectures, tutorials and other class teaching.

Teaching Breakdown


1st Attempt

1 two-hour MCQ exam (60%) and in-course assessment (40%).


Similar to first attempt, with continuous assessment marks and/or exam mark carried forward and an opportunity to complete either a resit exam (a MCQ exam in similar format to the main exam) or a practical exam (a one hour short answer exam based on the practical sessions), depending on what was failed in the first attempt.

Formative Assessment

Online tests will help students assess how well they are learning the course material. Student performance will be monitored.


Students will receive regular written feedback on each lab report before the start of the next practical class. Students who are identified as having difficulty in correctly completing the formative online tests will be invited to meet members of the course team to identify difficulties and discuss solutions.

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