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Unit information: Biology 1A: Diversity of Life in 2018/19

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 Biology 1A: Diversity of Life
Unit code BIOL11000
Credit points 40
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Andy Bailey
Open unit status Not open




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


Evolution, speciation and biodiversity; the origins of life; evolution, relationships and diversity of the major groups of organisms (archaebacteria, protists, bacteria, fungi, plants, invertebrate and vertebrate animals); the importance of plants, animal and fungal life to humans; evolution and phylogeny of mammals; human evolution.


To equip students with the broadest range of intellectual and practical skills and to fit them to confront the diverse biological questions they will meet in their future careers. This includes a clear understanding of the factors that mould living organisms, and knowledge of the diversity of the major groups of organisms.

Intended learning outcomes

1. On completion a student will have gained a knowledge and understanding of the diversity and evolution of biological organisms

2. Be able to use methods for independent study

3. Be competent in a range of biological practical skills

Teaching details

  • Lectures: 3x 50 min lectures each week
  • Laboratory classes: 1x 3-hour class each week. These classes include practical work with plants, animals, fungi and microbes.
  • Self-directed learning. Students are expected to spend approx. 2 hours on additional reading per lecture.
  • Demonstrations
  • Videos
  • Field trips
  • Dynamic Lab Manual (DLM)

Assessment Details

The unit mark will be calculated as follows: 50% for the Summer exam (tests ILOs 1 and 2), 10% for the January assessment test (tests ILO 1) and 40% for continuous assessment (CA).

The 40% CA mark is made up as follows:

•20%: Assessed practicals (i.e. post labs). Tests ILOs 2 and 3.

•20%: Practical examination. Tests ILOs 2 and 3.

Reading and References

The recommended textbook is:

  • Campbell Biology, Pearson, 9th revised edition ISBN13: 9781408277379

Also recommended is:

  • A good general biology dictionary, e.g. Henderson’s Dictionary of Biology, Pearson Paperback ISBN13: 9781408234303