Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Advanced Animal Behaviour
Academic Year
Semester 1
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Written assessment, paper review  (1,500 words)  35%
Semester Assessment Poster – experimental design  (1,000 words equivalent)  25%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   40%
Supplementary Assessment Poster - experimental design  (1,000 words equivalent)  25%
Supplementary Assessment Written assessment, paper review  (1,500 words)  35%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   40%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Describe critically and coherently the importance of behavioural biology in contemporary scientific and lay society

2. Interpret and communicate accurately the findings and limitations of published studies in the primary scientific literature

3. Objectively describe and discuss key theories in the field of animal behaviour

4. Identify future research areas within the topics covered and the potential for collaboration with other branches of science.

Brief description

This module tackles advanced topics of contemporary importance in the field of animal behaviour. The module will focus on how methods developed in other areas of science can be used to understand the mechanisms underpinning animal behaviour. Content will be aimed at developing skills to critically assess experimental design in animal behaviour.


The module will include research topics of current importance in behavioural biology. Topics will vary to reflect current trends in research, focusing on how behavioural scientists integrate other areas of science into experimental design to determine the mechanisms affecting animal behaviour. Content may vary, but examples of previous topics have included insights into behaviour gained from molecular biology, physiology, neurobiology, parasite biology and artificial intelligence.

The module focuses on the importance of critically appraising the results of scientific studies, and factors to consider in good experimental design. It is taught through a combination of lectures and discussion sessions, providing students with a critical knowledge of, and an ability to interpret and discuss, topics in behavioural biology that are of importance in contemporary science.

Assessments on the module will require students to demonstrate critical analysis of published studies in animal behaviour, and design experiments to assess the mechanisms underpinning variation in animal behaviour.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Not a significant element of this module.
Communication Listening skills developed through lectures, seminars and class/small group discussions. Oral and poster presentation skills will be developed and assessed during the semester. Written skills will be developed in the literature review and examinations.
Improving own Learning and Performance Outside the formal contact hours, students will be expected to research materials, manage time and meet deadlines. Coursework elements will provide the opportunity for students to explore their own learning styles and preferences.
Information Technology Use of word processing software for literature review preparation. Use of PowerPoint for preparation of oral & poster presentations. Accessing the internet for information sources including use of databases (e.g. Web of Science) to find primary literature.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will gain confidence in their ability to evaluate behavioural problems, their ability to present these in a variety of formats to and objectively assess the quality of proposed future research.
Problem solving Through lectures and seminars students will become aware of the methods employed in behavioural research. Presentations and written work addressing students' proposals for future research will allow students to gain experience developing hypotheses and designing methods to test them.
Research skills Students will research topics beyond the depth and scope of the lecture material using both recommended reading and independent study. Information from a variety of primary sources will be subjected to critical review and comment. Students will also gather and evaluate information from seminars by guest lecturers.
Subject Specific Skills Ability to critically assess behavioural studies, identify areas ripe for future research and make theoretical connections between disciplines within and outside behavioural biology.
Team work Students will work in small groups during discussion sessions, preparing arguments for debate.


This module is at CQFW Level 6