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Undergraduate Sixth Century Courses 2020-2021

People have been studying at Aberdeen for over five centuries and Sixth Century Courses are exciting cross-disciplinary courses that place you at the cutting-edge of modern learning.

They invite you to consider different approaches to knowledge and enquiry as you look at issues affecting the world in which we live today. They are designed to help you develop a deeper critical understanding of your chosen area of study by setting the subject in a wider context. You will normally be expected to take one of these courses during your degree programme.

All Sixth Century Courses are taught using innovative techniques and students are continually assessed throughout the course.

SX1007: FEARSOME ENGINES

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

The course aims to help the students understand how technological changes of the past have influenced subsequent social development and how social attitudes of the past have provided drivers and inhibitors of technological advances. The students will be able to apply their understanding of these interactions to the analysis of modern society to identify and address threats and opportunities presented by technological changes.

A variety of “fearsome engines” are studied from both the technological and social standpoints and provide students with examples of the process of technological development. The course is continuously assessed and includes student presentations.

SX1015: OCEANS AND SOCIETY - SIXTH CENTURY COURSE

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

Working in interdisciplinary teams, you will investigate an array of real-world problems arising from past, present and future relationships between society and the ocean. Field trips and lectures introduce you to the complex interactions between society and the oceans’ ecology, seafaring and colonisation, resource exploration and ocean governance, while also demonstrating different approaches to knowledge and how different disciplines work. Supervised workshops give the opportunity to interact with others from a wide range of backgrounds and provide a diverse set of learning experiences with feedback from teaching staff and your peers. Choice of the form of presentation of your project work gives you an opportunity to play to your strengths and develop transferable skills.

SX1017: GLOBAL ISSUES / GLOBAL RELIGIONS

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

What is the place of religion in the 21st century? How does religion contribute to major, global political issues? Will secularization eventually make religions obsolete? Can you be a scientist and be religious? Is religion bad for the environment? How does religion relate to human rights? How can the religions engage in dialogue? These pressing questions for our world are explored in this course from a variety of academic disciplines and methods, with tutorials focused on debate and interrogation of the place of religion in the contemporary world. Assessment is through two short reflection papers and a poster project. Download course guide.

SX1021: SUSTAINABLE INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

15 credits

Level 1

First Sub Session

The course explores global sustainable development by focusing on how development is advanced in international and national protocols and policies, mainly the Global Goals, which are championed by the United Nations and various agencies and national governments. Academic and policy texts as well as films are used on the course. Throughout the course there will be a focus on ethical development, equity and social inclusion, peace and justice, quality health and education and climate action. Case studies will be used to illustrate different actions and practices for sustainable development. Cultural, social, economic and political barriers to progress will be identified and critiqued. The course will conclude with critical suggestions for the realization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SX1505: SCIENCE AND THE MEDIA - SIXTH CENTURY COURSE

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

• this 6th century course, this is designed to consider the often complex and conflicting interface between science and the media

• as such it complements the development of graduate attributes and enhanced study by providing an opportunity to move outside disciplines and consider broader contexts

• using various examples, we determine how "the science" is determined and how different strands of the media, from academic to social, filter that message

• the themes addressed are topical for today’s society including scientific and media methods, genetically modified foods, vaccination, covid-19, global warming and fracking

• varied and novel assessment strategies further enhance the student experience providing a range of challenges for students from any discipline

SX1507: FEARSOME ENGINES

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

The course aims to help the students understand how technological changes of the past have influenced subsequent social development and how social attitudes of the past have provided drivers and inhibitors of technological advances. The students will be able to apply their understanding of these interactions to the analysis of modern society to identify and address threats and opportunities presented by technological changes.

A variety of “fearsome engines” are studied from both the technological and social standpoints and provide students with examples of the process of technological development. The course is continuously assessed and includes student presentations.

SX1521: SUSTAINABLE INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

The course explores global sustainable development by focusing on how development is advanced in international and national protocols and policies, mainly the Global Goals, which are championed by the United Nations and various agencies and national governments. Academic and policy texts as well as films are used on the course. Throughout the course there will be a focus on ethical development, equity and social inclusion, peace and justice, quality health and education and climate action. Case studies will be used to illustrate different actions and practices for sustainable development. Cultural, social, economic and political barriers to progress will be identified and critiqued. The course will conclude with critical suggestions for the realization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

SX1802: THE MIND MACHINE - SIXTH CENTURY COURSE

15 credits

Level 1

Second Sub Session

 • this 6th century course considers brain and mind from a variety of cross-disciplinary perspectives, with teaching delivered in an interactive and innovative manner

• the themes covered in the course include elementary brain structure and function, language, consciousness, creativity, and the power of the brain over disease

• assessments types are varied to increase the scope and diversity of the module design, and the transferable skills it delivers

• taken together this exciting course enhances curricular breadth, develops graduate attributes and widens perspectives beyond discipline boundaries in a unique and dynamic manner as we explore this fascinating subject.

SX3002: SCIENCE AND SOCIETY

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

Science is constantly in the news, but how much do you know about how research gets to be news? How do you know you can trust what you read? If you have a great idea, do you know how to protect it and start a company? Science and Society will explain how the scientific media work and how to critically assess what you read. You will learn about scientific ethics by studying high profile cases of fraud. You will learn about intellectual property, how to protect it and how to use it from real-life entrepreneurs and those who support them.




SX3007: MATHEMATICAL FOUNDATIONS OF EVERDAY LIFE

15 credits

Level 3

First Sub Session

In this course, students will learn about the mathematics which underpins our everyday lives. Each lecture will be taught by a different member of staff, some from the mathematics department, and some from other departments. Actual topics covered will depend on the staff involved, but may include Cryptography, Robotics, Probability and Special Relativity. Students will also learn how to use the computer program Mathematica.

SX3504: CONSCIOUSNESS

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

The mystery of consciousness is one of the most exciting and challenging fields in human endeavour. Consciousness provides a truly inter-disciplinary topic with relevance across both the sciences and the humanities. This Sixth Century course aimed at level 3 and level 4 students will present cutting-edge research using a clear inter-disciplinary perspective. The course brings together the disciplines of divinity, psychology, and medicine, with a particular focus on the clinical and health-based aspects of consciousness studies. The assessment is a mixture of non-traditional (e.g. Self-reflective journal) and a traditional (essay).

SX3505: WORLDS OF FOOD: BIOLOGICAL, SOCIAL, CULTURAL

15 credits

Level 3

Second Sub Session

Food sustains us, but contributes to climate change. There’s enough for everyone, yet many go hungry. It’s a vital cultural signifier, but its connections get overlooked. This course provides a multi-disciplinary exploration of food through regular small-group tutorials, self-directed learning, and lectures by staff from across the University. Topics covered vary according to staff availability, but typically include: the political economy of the food system; agriculture and climate change; food (in)security; food and the body; the right to food; the social construction of food choice; food and sustainability. Anyone studying at programme levels 3-5 is welcome on this course.

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