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Unit information: Current Topics in Biology in 2021/22

Unit name Current Topics in Biology
Unit code BIOL10001
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Whitney
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

Biology is frequently in the news, often within the headlines. The subjects covered are numerous and often controversial, yet rarely explained in any depth. Within this unit we aim to introduce the current topics in an unbiased manner, introducing all the arguments so that Biology students are well informed about these subjects and can access peer-reviewed factual information on which to base their opinions. This will enable the students to participate in conversations on such topics in an informed manner. The topics will vary from year to year based on what is timely and getting press attention, but it is likely to include subjects such as the use of animals in research, use of GM crops, relevance of conservation work, cloning/stem cell research etc etc. The unit will also showcase new research outputs from the school and broader subject area. The aim of the unit is to help inform our student of the unbiased background to the current controversies in Biology and give a grounding in the current research from the School to allow them to develop a better appreciation of the scientific approach within Biology.

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of this unit a successful student should:

1. Have gained experience in critically assessing the quality, scope and impacts of new research findings;

2. Have good comprehension of the framework in which science is now performed within the context of personal, social, ethical and cultural standards;

3. Have an appreciation for the impacts that new scientific findings can have on society, individuals and the environment;

4. Be able to find, interpret and critically assess sources of scientific information;

5. Have gained experience in written communication skills with an ability to relay scientific information with clarity.

Teaching Information

Lectures and practical workshops.

Assessment Information

The unit mark is based on two essays, each worth 50% of the unit mark. These assess ILOs 1-5.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. BIOL10001).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.