University College for Interdisciplinary Learning

An Introduction to Current Topics in Biology

Course Code


Course Details

  • Level: 2
  • Credits: 10
  • School: Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health


Biological topics often feature in the news or entertainment media and are frequently sensationalised or subject to inaccurate reporting. We will consider the science behind the headlines to help you develop an informed opinion regarding the complexities of current biological issues.

So, if you have an interest in biology but haven't had the opportunity to study it at a higher level, then this is the course unit for you.

Topics covered in previous years include DNA and evolution, genome sequencing, stem cells, biodiversity, brain function and emerging infectious diseases.

Students will study six major topics of biological science, delivered by six different members of FLS academic staff. These topics are the following:

Topics covered in previous years include:

  • DNA
  • Development and stem cells
  • Biodiversity
  • Personalised Medicine
  • Brain function
  • Emerging infectious diseases


Summary of Learning Outcomes



  1. Coursework (20%)
  2. Examination (80%)

The end of unit examination (90 min) will consist of 50 % MCQs (to cover basic content) and 50 % Short-answer Questions (to cover understanding of concepts). These questions may include reading extracts from papers or understanding data in a particular field. The examination is online.


None required. This unit is only available for students outside the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health we welcome students from all disciplines and science backgrounds, although Biology or single science award GCSE or equivalent knowledge is assumed.

This course is only open to undergraduate students.

University College course units are available to take on programmes which have 'free choice' options available to them (i.e programmes which allow you, as part of the degree programme, to take a number of credits from subject areas outside of your home school). As these courses are credit bearing, you therefore must enrol by following the standard procedure for your school when adding units outside of your home school.

If you are not sure whether you will be able to enrol in University College courses, please contact your School Undergraduate Office to find out whether these options are available for your degree programme.


Professor Amanda Bamford

Dr Bipasha Choudhury

Dr Susan Cochran

Dr Maggy Fostier

Dr Ruth Grady (unit coordinator)

Teaching and Learning Methods


1-12Mon16:00 - 17:00Lecture
1-12Thurs16:00 - 17:00Lecture

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