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BSc Biology and History and Philosophy of Science

Year 2

(Award available for year: Diploma of Higher Education)

Learning outcomes

On completion of the year/programme students should have provided evidence of being able to:

- demonstrate a broad understanding of the concepts, information, practical competencies and techniques which are standard features in a range of aspects of the discipline;

i) Concepts & information,
a) the concepts of theory, observation, progress and revolutions in science are presented in the modules
'Progress and Revolutions', 'Theory and Observation'.

b) the concepts of 'society' and 'technological change' in the modules 'Philosophy of the Social Sciences', and 'Technological Change in History'.

c) detailed information on a particular area of history of science/medicine is presented in the modules 'History of Genetics' and 'The Body in Western Medicine I'. All other modules present illustrative case studies or episodes to inform discussion of the concepts that they examine.

ii) practical competencies and techniques
i) the detailed close reading of historical primary sources is a skill developed in 'Scientific Texts in Context'

ii) the ability to construct historical explanations is cultivated in 'Technological Change in History'.

iii) all modules further extend essay writing skills developed by students at Level 1.

- apply generic and subject specific intellectual qualities to standard situations outside the context in which they were originally studied;
i) tutorial materials give opportunities to student to extend critical thinking skills beyond lecture materials

ii) the provision of wide-ranging reading lists give students the opportunity to develop independent perspectives beyond lectures and tutorial themes.

- appreciate and employ the main methods of enquiry in the subject and critically evaluate the appropriateness of different methods of enquiry;
i) evaluative analysis of philosophical accounts of science is developed in the modules 'Progress and Revolutions' and 'Theory and Observation'.
ii) evaluative analysis of accounts of historical change is developed in the module 'Technological Change in History'.

- use a range of techniques to initiate and undertake the analysis of data and information;
Students should be able to undertake analysis of particular historical or philosophical topic by reference both to critical reading of sources and reference to relevant analytical commentaries and other materials either as provided by teacher or available in the University library.

- adjust to professional and disciplinary boundaries;
Students are introduced to relatively recent publications in history and philosophy of science and thus develop an awareness of the standard debates in the field and become familiar with the major research topics of interest to professional historians and philosophers of science, and the intellectual standards with which academic debates are conducted.

- effectively communicate information, arguments and analysis in a variety of forms;
Students make oral presentations in tutorials, write essays for formative and summative assessment, and write answers to unseen examination papers.

Transferable (key) skills

Students will have had the opportunity to acquire, as defined in the modules specified for the programme:

- qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment related to the subject area(s) studied;
- skills necessary for the exercising of personal responsibility;
- decision making.


Achievement will be assessed by a variety of methods in accordance with the learning outcomes of the modules specified for the year/programme and will include:

1. demonstrating the ability to apply a broad range of aspects/competencies of the discipline/profession to complex, albeit standard, situations and simple, albeit novel or atypical, instances;

2. work that is often descriptive in nature but drawing on a wide variety of material;

3. demonstrating basic professional competencies relevant to the discipline;

4. the ability to evaluate and criticise received opinion;


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