AP0310 - Introduction to Biology

What will I learn on this module?

As Biology is the “Study of Life”, in this module we will explore different aspects of the living world around us. In the first teaching block, we will delve into evolution – how did all the different life forms we see around us come into being? How does evolution work? In order to study life, we need to have a good overview of what different life forms there are. This brings us into the realm of Biodiversity and Classification. We will give an overview of the different Kingdoms that dwell on Earth, and with whom we share this planet and are connected in multiple ways.
We then look inwards, and unravel the secrets of our genomes. Our genetic information is stored in our DNA – but how are genes organised, and how do they work? Can the study of genetics help us to understand the world in- and around us, can it help us to “improve” the world by genetic manipulation?
In the last teaching block, we focus on human beings, and explore aspects of our physiology and neurobiology. How does the human body function, how does our nervous system work?
Though the teaching is organised in three blocks (Evolution and Diversity, Genetics, Human Biology), this division is somewhat arbitrary as there are multiple links connecting these areas of study. “In the living nature, nothing happens that isn’t somehow connected to nature as a whole” (Goethe, 1749-1832) In this module, we will regularly explore these connections.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn in lectures in which the scientific topics are introduced and explored. In our practicals, we will apply the knowledge obtained in the lecture sessions. The practicals will at the same time illustrate the topics discussed in the lectures. During our field trip to the local Natural History museum, you will be able to interpret your knowledge of evolution, taxonomy and evolution. Learning does not only take place in scheduled organised sessions – like in every other module, there is a considerable amount of independent learning associated with this module. Using the information on Blackboard and the electronic Reading List present there, you can have access to a range of relevant learning materials such as textbooks, scientific papers, videos, and others.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

All lecture material will be available on the University eLearning Portal (Blackboard). There will also be additional information on the sessions, and guidance on further reading relevant to the subject matter as well as links to other online resources. Electronic feedback on assessments will be provided via the eLP to allow you to understand how you performed and how you can build on this performance in subsequent assessments within your programme.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Gain insight in and knowledge of evolutionary processes that led to the diversity of life, and get an overview of the taxonomy and classification of life on earth
2. Gain insight in the basic genetic principles and processes, and how they can be manipulated
3. Get insight in the structure and function of the human body, and into the basics of the science of neurobiology

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
4. Be able to carry out experimental work, while working in a safe and responsible manner, and record, process, and interpret the outcomes of experimental work in a scientific manner;

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Demonstrate curiosity and spirit of enquiry through directed and independent study and research, and awareness of the different challenges mankind faces in the area of biological science

How will I be assessed?

This module is assessed by coursework. There will be two assignments in this module:

Coursework I – online test covering teaching block I: Evolution and Diversity of Life. There will be questions related to lectures, practicals and excursions, and directed reading. This assignment counts for 50% of the module mark. KU1, IPSA4, PVA5

Coursework II – online test covering Teaching Blocks II and III: Genetics and Human Biology. There will be questions related to lectures, practicals and directed reading. This assignment counts for 50% of the module mark. KU2-3, IPSA4, PVA5.

Formative assessment will be provided by informal / formal discussions in the laboratory classes and external visits. Supporting MLOs KU1, KU2, KU3, IPSA 4 and PVA5.




AP0306, AP0307, AP0308 and AP0309

Module abstract

“What is Life?” George Harrison asked this question in his famous song in 1970, long before most of your lives began… What IS life, and how did the dazzling array of life we see around us come into being? In this module, we will study the evolution of life, and explore where this has led us when we look into the biodiversity of life in the different kingdoms. We will open the door to the genetic background without which life and evolution would have been impossible, and try to have a look into the future: what are the opportuinities to manipulate genetic information? Finally, we end by exploring aspects of a rather complex life form by the name of Homo sapiens.

Course info

UCAS Code Y002

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 1 year Full Time followed by a further 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Applied Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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