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Unit information: Biology 1A: Diversity of Life in 2014/15

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Biology 1A: Diversity of Life
Unit code BIOL11000
Credit points 40
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Andy Bailey
Open unit status Open

A-level Biology (preferred) or good science A-levels



School/department School of Biological Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

Evolution, speciation and biodiversity; the origins of life; evolution, relationships and diversity of the major groups of organisms (archaebacteria, protists, bacteria, fungi, plants, invertebrate and vertebrate animals); the importance of plants, animal and fungal life to humans; evolution and phylogeny of mammals; human evolution.


To equip students with the broadest range of intellectual and practical skills and to fit them to confront the diverse biological questions they will meet in their future careers. This includes a clear understanding of the evolutionary processes that mould living organisms, and knowledge of the diversity of the major groups of organisms.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion a student will have gained a detailed knowledge and understanding of the diversity and evolution of biological organisms, have learnt methods for their study, and have gained self-confidence in written, verbal and organizational skills, including communication, teamwork, and computer literacy.

Teaching Information

  • Lectures: 3x 50 min lectures each week
  • Laboratory classes: 1x 3-hour class each week. These classes include practical work with plants, animals, fungi and microbes.
  • 1 Tutorial
  • Self-directed learning. Students are expected to spend approx. 30-45 minutes on additional reading per lecture.
  • Independent work in computing
  • Demonstrations
  • Videos
  • Field trips
  • Dynamic Lab Manual (DLM)

Assessment Information

The course mark comprises 60% for the end of unit exam and 40% for continuous assessment (CA).

The end of unit exam in May/June comprises 2 papers.

The 40% CA mark is made up as follows:

  • 30%: Assessed practicals (5% of unit marks from each of the 6 practicals)
  • 10%: January assessment test

Reading and References

The core textbook is:

  • Campbell Biology, Pearson, 9th revised edition ISBN13: 9781408277379

Also recommended is:

  • A good general biology dictionary, e.g. Henderson’s Dictionary of Biology, Pearson Paperback ISBN13: 9781408234303