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Description

Programme Specification for the 2021/2 academic year

BSc (Hons) Evolutionary Biology with Professional Placement

1. Programme Details

Programme nameBSc (Hons) Evolutionary Biology with Professional Placement Programme codeUFS4BIOBIOCI
Study mode(s)Full Time
Academic year2021/2
Campus(es)Cornwall Campus
NQF Level of the Final Award6 (Honours)

2. Description of the Programme

The BSc (Hons) Evolutionary Biology with Professional Placement draws from fields that include genetics, animal behaviour and evolutionary ecology, and examines evolution from many perspectives – from the smallest building blocks of life to entire ecosystems. As a fast growing area of study, it is led by some of the UK’s foremost internationally-recognised, research active staff in the Centre for Ecology and Conservation (CEC) on the Penryn Campus. The Centre hosts a large and thriving group of scientists who work at the cutting edge of research on evolutionarily informed organismal biology and run research projects across the globe, from Uganda to Australia. The programme utilises expertise in the Centre to provide you with the skills, concepts and experience to understand all aspects of modern evolutionary biology. The programme encourages an interdisciplinary approach and you will be exposed to a wide range of theoretical and practical techniques used to study evolutionary biology.

On the work placement, you will gain valuable experience by spending a year working within an organisation appropriate to your degree. You will apply for positions with relevant organisations, with the support of the module convenor. You are encouraged to consider a range of organisations, including consultancies, charities, NGOs, research institutes and universities. CEC has established collaborations with local, national and international organisations that you can consider when applying for placement positions. You will gain valuable experience from the professional placement: you will learn to apply the skills learnt during the first and second years, improve personal and transferable skills, make new contacts and enhance employability. Professional placements allow you to develop your career focus and are extremely valued by employers.

When participating in field courses, you will be required to cover any visa costs and, if necessary, purchase anti-malarial medication and relevant immunisations. You will also need to provide your own specialist personal equipment appropriate to the field course destination, eg. walking boots, rucksack, mosquito net, sleeping bag, binoculars. You may incur additional costs dependent upon the specific demands of the research project chosen. Details of specialist equipment, vaccinations and visas that you must supply at your own expense are provided at http://vle.exeter.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=6569.

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

The degree programme aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of key aspects of modern evolutionary biology:

  • the evolutionary origin and history of phenotypic traits throughout the tree of life;
  • how Darwinian selection shapes biodiversity;
  • how genes and the environment interact to shape the development and expression of phenotypic traits;
  • how Darwinian selection, along with trait expression and inheritance, interact to influence ongoing evolution in a changing world.

Plus, on professional placement:

  • the application of evolutionary biology in the work place;
  • how to think critically, evaluate evidence, analyse, challenge, solve problems, work collaboratively, and communicate effectively.

The main aim of our programme is to show how these different approaches are complementary and together lead to a fuller understanding of evolution: the fundamental organisational principle of modern biology. Teaching is delivered by leading researchers who provide a thorough grounding in the core concepts and principles of evolutionary biology, and give lectures and seminars on cutting-edge topics in which they are actively engaged in research.

We use a combination of traditional teaching methods such as lectures, seminars, and tutorials, together with innovative teaching and learning methods such as video-conferencing, web-casting, blogging and online discussion forums. Together these create a stimulating and effective learning environment. Similarly, our assessment ranges from more conventional examinations and essays to writing research reports and proposals, talks and poster presentations. We have standard assessment criteria for coursework essays, exams, oral presentations, posters, dissertations and lab reports. A strength of the programme is the emphasis on field courses and the opportunity to ‘learn by doing’ - to carry out independent research projects on animals in the wild and learn principles of scientific enquiry which can be applied to tackle a range of evolutionary, ecological and practical problems in evolutionary biology.

4. Programme Structure

5. Programme Modules

http://biosciences.exeter.ac.uk/current/

You may take optional modules as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

You may take elective modules up to 30 credits outside of the programme in the first, second and final stages as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

If you have mobility or health disabilities that prevent you from undertaking intensive fieldwork, reasonable adjustments and/or alternative assessment can be considered in agreement with the Director of Education.

You are also permitted to take the 5-credit module LES3910 Professional Development Experience in any year. Registration on this module is subject to a competitive application process. If taken, this module will not count towards progression or award calculation.

Stage 1


75 credits of compulsory modules, 45 credits of optional modules.

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BIO1411 Genetics 15No
BIO1425 Microbes 15No
BIO1429 Evolution 15No
BIO1430 Skills and Careers 15No
BIO1431 Introduction to Human Sciences 15No

Optional Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BioP S1 BSc-MSci EB opt 2020-1
BIO1420 Physiology 15 No
BIO1426 Ecology and Conservation 15 No
BIO1427 Zoology 30 No

Stage 2


90 credits of compulsory modules, 30 credits of optional modules.

a It is compulsory to take a field course in the second year. You must select at least one field course module from BIO2442 and BIO2444. BIO2442 is the default free module and may be substituted with BIO2444. If you are unable to go on a field course, you will be required to take BIO2450 Biosciences Penryn Virtual Field Course instead; BIO2450 is only available if you are not going on the field course.

b You may take either BIO2431 or BIO2437 (you cannot choose more than one module from this group).

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BIO2414 Evolutionary Ecology 15No
BIO2426 Analysis of Biological Data 15No
BIO2427 Animal Ecophysiology 15No
BIO2430 Behavioural Ecology 15No
BIO2446 Molecular Ecology 15No
LES2400 Introduction to Professional Placements 0No
BioP S2 BSc-MSci EB-CBE-Zoo field courses 2021-2 [See note a above]
BIO2442 Scillies Field Course 15 No
BIO2444 Scotland Field Course 15 No
BIO2450 Biosciences Penryn Virtual Field Course 15 No

Optional Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BioP S2 BSc-MSci EB opt 2020-1
BIO2407 Population and Community Ecology 15 No
BIO2423 Wildlife Disease 15 No
BIO2428 Development of Behaviour 15 No
BIO2439 Biology of Birds 15 No
BIO2451 Evolution of Human Societies 15 No
LES2002 Workplace Learning 15 No
BioP BIO2431-BIO2437 [See note b above]
BIO2431 The Biology of Mammals 15 No
BIO2437 Biology of Aquatic Vertebrates 15 No

Stage 3


120 credits of compulsory modules.

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
LES3002 Professional Placement 120Yes

Stage 4


75 credits of compulsory modules, 45 credits of optional modules.

c It is compulsory to take a field course in the final year. BIO3429 is the default free module and may be substituted with either BIO3404, BIO3430, BIO3418, BIO3419, BIO3423 or BIO3425. If you are unable to take a field course, you will be required to take BIO3407 Literature Review in Evolution and Ecology and 15 other credits. BIO3407 is only available if you are not going on the field course.

Compulsory Modules

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BIO3136 Research Project 40Yes
LES3001 Preparing to Graduate 5No
BioP SF BSc-S3 MSci AB-EB-CBE-Zoo field courses 2021-2 [See note c above]
BIO3404 Borneo Field Course 30 No
BIO3407 Literature Review in Evolution and Ecology 15 No
BIO3418 Galapagos Islands Field Course 30 No
BIO3419 Yukon-Alaska Field Course 30 No
BIO3423 Azores Field Course 30 No
BIO3425 India Field Course 30 No
BIO3429 Northern Spain Field Course 30 No
BIO3430 Tropical Biodiversity and Conservation: Costa Rica Field Course 30 No

Optional Modules

 

CodeModule Credits Non-condonable?
BioP SF BSc-S3 MSci EB opt 2020-1
BIO3131 Trends in Ecology and Evolution 15 No
BIO3135 Human Behavioural Ecology 15 No
BIO3400 Living in Groups 15 No
BIO3401 Coevolutionary Interactions 15 No
BIO3409 Symbiosis in Marine Systems 15 No
BIO3410 Sensory Ecology 15 No
BIO3411 Science in Society 15 No
BIO3413 Animal Life Histories 15 No
BIO3415 Ecological Responses to Climate Change 15 No
BIO3420 Evolutionary Biology of Health and Disease 15 No
BIO3421 Animal Migration 15 No
BIO3422 Animal Cognition 15 No
BIO3426 Primate Biology and Conservation 15 No
CSC4011M Living with Environmental Change 15 No
CSC4013M Frontiers of Global Health 15 No
BIO3428 The Complexity of Human Societies 15 No

6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning and Assessment Methods

Intended Learning Outcomes
A: Specialised Subject Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

1. Describe basic ecology, evolutionary biology and animal behaviour, and aspects of organismal and molecular biology that are relevant to the study of evolutionary biology.
2. Conduct laboratory and field work research and investigations appropriate to the subject of animal biology, ecology, behaviour and evolution.
3. Develop a rigorous scientific approach in synthesising information and concepts, exercising evaluative judgement and rational analysis. Students will be trained in written and verbal communication of scientific information and ideas.
4. Apply logical thinking, problem solving and numeracy skills.
5. Understand and apply evolutionary biology in a work environment.

Teaching and learning activities are designed to encourage a progressive acquisition of subject knowledge and skills by moving from study methods that have a greater degree of support and assistance towards more independent learning. Teaching and learning activities include: lectures, laboratory classes, research project or dissertation, and a residential field course. Students undertake a range of modules combining explicit subject-based learning to general training in scientific reasoning, critical thinking and transferable skills.

ILO1 – First and second year modules provide a broad and solid foundation in relevant biological subject areas and are assessed via examinations, short lab reports, assessed discussion, tutorial, and multiple choice tests.

ILO2 – Lab skills and experience are assessed through laboratory reports and practical tests. Field skills and experience are assessed through in situ discussion groups, individual and group oral presentations, short research projects, formal poster displays, and post-field trip examinations.

ILO3 – Assessment via essay assignments and review papers, laboratory reports and examinations, and oral presentations.

ILO4 – Assessment via laboratory and field assignments, and an independent research project or dissertation.

ILO5 – Reflective report, poster, employer assessment and an oral presentation.

Intended Learning Outcomes
B: Academic Discipline Core Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

6. Demonstrate a broadly based knowledge and understanding of the science of evolution, with detailed knowledge of essential facts and theory
7. Demonstrate some knowledge and understanding in all levels of biological organisation (molecular, cellular, organismal and ecological)
8. Describe and critically evaluate aspects of current research in biosciences with reference to reviews and research articles
9. With limited guidance, deploy established techniques of practical investigation, data collection, and the analysis and interpretation of these data within the science of evolutionary biology.
10. Apply knowledge and understanding of evolutionary biology to the solution of problems in the work place.

Explicitly introduced as a concept in first year Key Skills module, and expanded through subject-based learning in second year modules core to the Evolutionary Biology Degree. Explored in field trips including specialised training in practical study of evolutionary biology. Further explored in final year research projects.

ILO6 – Explicitly through module-based assessment in all years. Assessment of performance in modules takes place through essay examinations, short answer and multiple-choice tests; practical work and reports; quantitative problems; project report or dissertation; oral presentations; and assessed contribution to group work.

ILO7 – First year is explicitly broad and covers the key skills necessary for any biological discipline, as well as the fundamental principles governing evolution, behaviour and ecology.

ILO8 – Assessment will be through essay and review assignments. Students are made aware of the marking criteria for all major pieces of work and receive detailed feedback on their performance.

ILO9 – Practical classes in second and final years and field courses will emphasise the development of independent research skills and the writing-up of lab and fieldwork in the form of scientific reports, using published papers as a model.

ILO10 – Reflective report, poster, employer assessment and oral presentation

Intended Learning Outcomes
C: Personal/Transferable/Employment Skills and Knowledge

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
On successfully completing this programme you will be able to:
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be...
...accommodated and facilitated by the following learning and teaching activities (in/out of class):...and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

11. Communicate ideas effectively and professionally by written, oral and visual means
12. Study autonomously and undertake projects with minimal guidance
13. Select and properly manage information drawn from books, journals and the internet
14. Develop experience and awareness of IT skills as appropriate to the discipline
15. Evaluate the wider social and environmental implications of relevant ecological and evolutionary processes, and debate issues in relation to specific biological, environmental, social and ethical perspectives.
16. Interact effectively in a group.
17. Work and study in a professional environment

Personal transferable employment skills and knowledge are embedded in all modules. All first and second modules are strongly focused towards developing applied skills for use in the dissertation and in real life situations. Practical skills are taught during directed practical exercises in first and second years, through the field courses in second and final years, and developed during independent and collaborative research projects in the final year.

ILO11 – Laboratory and field reports, independent research project dissertation, oral presentations, and essay examination. Students will be encouraged to take modules in their study abroad host institution that will develop their critical and analytical skills. Study abroad trains the student to think differently about presenting ideas to a different audience in the host country.

ILO12 – Independent research project in the final year and short field projects during field trips in second and final years and throughout the final year.

ILO13 – Laboratory write-ups, field reports, independent research dissertation; paper discussion groups.

ILO14 – Module-specific training in relevant IT skills, University provision for personal development in IT and other transferable skills.

ILO15 – Discussion seminars, practical classes, field course assessed discussions, class debates.

ILO16 – Field and practical class group tasks, field course assessment of individual interaction and teamwork.

ILO17 – Reflective report, poster, employer assessment and oral presentation.

7. Programme Regulations

Programme-specific Progression Rules

To progress to Stage 2 you must normally achieve an average mark of at least 60% in Stage 1. If you do not achieve an average mark of 60% in Stage 1, you will be interviewed to determine whether you can continue on the Professional Placement programme; if you do not succeed in that interview you will be required to transfer to the three year programme. This is to ensure that only those students who are likely to succeed in their professional placement are selected. If you are unsuccessful in your application for a professional placement, you will be transferred to the three year programme.

LES3002 Professional Placement counts as a single 120 credit module and is not condonable; you must pass this module to graduate with the degree title of BSc Evolutionary Biology with Professional Placement. If you fail the professional placement your degree title will be commuted to BSc Evolutionary Biology.

Classification

8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

You will be located in the Centre for Ecology and Conservation (CEC) (Penryn Campus), where close working relationships are fostered. You can expect reasonable access to all teaching staff through appointments and will in addition receive formative feedback from various discussion groups/in-lecture exercises throughout the delivery of each module and therefore receive essentially continuous feedback during the taught component of the programme. Project supervisors provide academic and tutorial support once you move on to the research component of the programme. In addition, the Programme Director will offeryou a meeting each term with an academic who provides guidance and feedback on assessment performance. Your progress will be monitored and you can receive up-to-date records of the assessment, achievements and progress at any stage.

Students undertaking a placement in the UK will receive one personal visit and you will be expected to participate in monthly email updates. You will have access to support from the Professional Placement module supervisor who can be contacted via e-mail or phone as required.

9. University Support for Students and Students' Learning

10. Admissions Criteria

11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

12. Indicators of Quality and Standards

The programme is not subject to accreditation and/ or review by professional and statutory regulatory bodies (PSRBs).

13. Methods for Evaluating and Improving Quality and Standards

14. Awarding Institution

University of Exeter

15. Lead College / Teaching Institution

College of Life and Environmental Sciences (CLES)

16. Partner College / Institution

Partner College(s)

Not applicable to this programme

Partner Institution

Not applicable to this programme.

17. Programme Accredited / Validated by

0

18. Final Award

BSc (Hons) Evolutionary Biology with Professional Placement

19. UCAS Code

C186

20. NQF Level of Final Award

6 (Honours)

21. Credit

CATS credits ECTS credits

22. QAA Subject Benchmarking Group

[Honours] Biosciences

23. Dates

Origin Date

28/04/2015

Date of last revision

11/11/2020