LSC-20074 - Current Topics in Biology
Coordinator: David R Hulse Room: HUX204B Tel: +44 1782 7 33640
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 5
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office: 01782 734414

Programme/Approved Electives for 2020/21


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2020/21

In this module you will consider a broad range of biological issues facing society today and how scientific research is addressing those issues. The module will be taught via a series of seminars given by invited speakers from within and outside of the University, each of whom will be an expert in their field. After each seminar you will then have an opportunity to discuss what you have heard with your peers and to decide what question will be addressed in the relevant summary. You will summarise, via a 1000 critical literature review, and three of the topics of your choice and then present a synthesis where you will identify the themes, concepts, challenges and solutions that might connect your three chosen topics. This means that you will have control over the assessment of the module in a unique way.
You will also be able to develop your information retrieval skills to locate relevant peer-reviewed literature and to prepare a brief, referenced summary of the topic of the week . Developing higher level study skills like critical thinking and synthesis will be very useful as you progress from level 5 onto level 6. This module will give you the transferable employability skills of being able to work in a group to refine a topic, to carry out research into the topic via the published literature and to synthesise the information into a concise report.

To give the students an understanding and critical awareness of the many biological issues facing Society and the contribution that biologists can make to resolving these issues. The depth and breadth of biological research will be examined in detail using selected examples in areas of current research utilising presentations by visiting experts and resident scientists, allied to discussion sessions and private study.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

critically discuss the breadth and depth of the biological challenges facing society: 1,2
locate, select and provide a concise summary of the key literature on a range of topics: 1
evaluate the methodology and results of scientific studies and critically discuss the conclusions presented in the literature: 1,2
discuss applications of biological research and how they contribute to the advancement of science: 1,2
critically discuss the science underpinning the topics covered and present a synthesis connecting these topics: 2

Study hours

10 hours lectures
12 hours tutorials
128 hours independent research and study

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Portfolio weighted 60%
A portfolio of 3 x 1000 word summaries of the literature relating to chosen themes of the module
Students will produce a very brief review of the scientific literature relating to any three of the topics covered in lectures by our visiting and resident experts. The word limit for each of three summaries is 1000 words, and each summary is worth 20% of the module mark.

2: Portfolio weighted 40%
Synthesis of critical literature reviews (1000 words)
The synthesis will enable students to identify common themes that connect their separate literature reviews. Common issues may lie at the heart of each topic or there may be interdisciplinary solutions needed in a way forward. The synthesis will be research-informed and evidence-based. It will train and encourage students in the higher level thinking skills they will need as they enter level 6. Though the word count (1000) is the same as for the critical literature reviews, the intellectual challenge is deemed higher, hence the higher weighting.