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Unit information: Advanced Practical Skills in 2020/21

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 Advanced Practical Skills
Unit code BIOL30006
Credit points 30
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Murray
Open unit status Not open

Normally 120 CPs of appropriate level 2 units in Biological Sciences


Biology or Zoology programmes

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


A combination of short practical projects covering a broad range of biological topics and transferable skills. Students normally work in small groups. The aim of this unit is to develop a broad set of advanced practical skills to prepare students for research projects in their final year.

Intended learning outcomes

The emphasis during this unit will be on building a breadth of practical skills. During the unit you will learn a wide diversity of skills through independent work, some specific to a particular subject area and others that are generic and applicable to biological research across its spectrum. Through the different experimental tasks, you will have the opportunity to develop a diverse set of abilities through different approaches to experimental design, planning and efficient organisation of work as well as different, specific, practical and technical skills relevant to each area. Most tasks will involve recording, analysing and interpreting data. This will form the basis for poster presentations and for written summaries.

Teaching details

The Advanced Practical Skills unit takes 12 weeks during which each student will complete a number of directed mini-projects including research activity, self-directed learning and preparation of materials for assessment of research outputs (e.g. writing of abstracts, data analysis/presentation, poster presentation, discussion). The unit will include a mixture of introductory lectures, workshops and seminars, lab work and field work.

Assessment Details

Continuous assessment mark (40%); assessment of research outputs, covering: abstracts, data analysis/presentation, poster presentation, discussion (60%)

Reading and References

For each topic, students will be directed to appropriate references from the primary literature. Other references will be chosen by the students