Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 2 x 1 houir lectures per week


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Seen examination  100%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Seen examination  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Identify significant developments in the history of biological thought

2. Recognize the advances in technology that have contributed our understanding of biological systems

3. Discuss the role of the biological sciences for the future of mankind and the biosphere

Brief description

This module covers the history of our understanding of biology and how biological thought has developed over time. The evolution of scientific methods, thinking and philosophy provide the background in which the most significant current questions facing biologists are discussed. These current topics in biology are presented by the IBERS’ professoriate, each focusing on their own area of expertise. The module is concluded by considering how science is presented in the media and what are the future challenges for biology.


The content of the module is primarily delivered through lectures.
The initial section covers the history of biological thinking and methods and the interactions between these. This section starts in classical times, and covers the development of classification, and discoveries from microscopic life to global ecological process.
The heart of the module consists of a series of lectures covering the most significant issues in current biological thinking including: how can we feed the expanding human population, the role of animals in human society, the impacts of humans on the environment, evolution, the battle with diseases and parasites, genetics and the new biology.
In the concluding section of the module: ethics, politics, biology in the media and the future challenges facing biology are discussed.
The lecture series is also supported by a series of class debates, which focus on controversial developments in biology.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Not a significant component of the module
Communication Oral communication skills are developed during debates and written communication skills through essay writing
Improving own Learning and Performance Informal feedback is provided during class debates
Information Technology Not a significant component of the module
Personal Development and Career planning This module develops an understanding of biological thinking and requires students to consider future scientific developments
Problem solving Problem solving is developed through comparing different extant questions in biology
Research skills This module requires students to research the literature to be able to develop their knowledge of biological thought
Subject Specific Skills
Team work Students are required to debate current topics in biology


This module is at CQFW Level 4