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Unit information: Key Concepts for Biologists in 2021/22

Unit name Key Concepts for Biologists
Unit code BIOL10002
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Bell
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

This unit aims to introduce a range of key concepts that provide important background knowledge for those wishing to study Biology/Zoology, but which are not covered elsewhere in our first-year course. The unit includes aspects such as study skills for an effective student, data collection and handling, plotting figures and tables, finding and interpreting scientific literature, getting the most out of lectures, risk analysis, as well as writing scientific reports and essays. Therefore, providing a common foundation in these areas on which all other Biology units can then build; this is important given the diversity of educational backgrounds amongst those studying Biology, Zoology or Plant Sciences. On completion of the unit, students will be familiar with the terminology used within Biology/Zoology/Plant Sciences disciplines, be able to handle, summarise and present biological data and have an appreciation of the relevant methods and concepts which are applied in biological analyses and which will underpin their studies through the degree programmes. Students will come away with an appreciation of the framework in which science is performed today.

Intended Learning Outcomes

At the end of this unit a successful student should:

  1. Recognise terminology used within biology/zoology disciplines.
  2. Have an appreciation of relevant technical and conceptual issues and how these are often applied to biological analysis.
  3. Identify and appreciate the various risks that can be associated with scientific work and recognise the importance of conducting a risk assessment.
  4. Be able to handle, summarise and present biological data.
  5. Be able to find, interpret and critically assess sources of scientific information.
  6. Have gained experience in written and verbal communication skills with an ability to relay scientific information with clarity.

Teaching Information

Lectures, interactive sessions (workshops/practicals), tutorials, data collection activity, along with self-directed study.

Assessment Information

  • 10%: submission of two reflective skills portfolios (tests ILO 6)
  • 5%: a 5 minute oral presentation (tests ILO 6)
  • 20%: essay (tests ILOs 5 & 6)
  • 50%: project report presented in the form of a scientific research paper which will incorporate elements from the material covered in the unit (tests ILOs 3, 4, 5 & 6)
  • 15%: Multiple choice tests to be completed in self-directed study time.

ILOs 1 & 2 are addressed across all assessments.

Students will receive feedback on all elements of summative assessment through the tutorials associated with the unit and built-in within feedback on Blackboard for MCQ. There will also be opportunities for formative feedback during interactive sessions.


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. BIOL10002).

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.