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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BLGY1124 The Diversity of Life

10 creditsClass Size: 40

Module manager: Dr Josie South

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

A reasonable science background at A-level or equivalent

This module is mutually exclusive with

BLGY1128Living Planet

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Living Planet provides students with an overview of the evolution and diversity of life, from bacteria to mammals. As well as an overview of the evolutionary processes that have generated the world’s biodiversity, students will also learn about the key features that define key groups and the role of those taxa in ecological processes.


The goal of the module is to introduce all School of Biology students to biological principles from whole organisms to planetary scales. Key features include:
(i) an introduction to evolution as the mechanism by which biodiversity is produced,
(ii) a broad overview of key taxa,
(iii) a summary of ecological principles from population to community to ecosystem to biosphere.

Learning outcomes
By the end of the module, students will be able to
- Understand the principles of evolution by natural selection and how they have created global biodiversity;
- Explain the defining traits of a range of biological taxa, and the mechanisms by which they evolved.

Skills outcomes
- Understanding the origin and diversity of life and why it is studied.
- Developing analytical skills through online MCQs


The module will run over 11 weeks, beginning with the origins of life, then moving through the evolution of key taxa, and finishing with a summary of ecological principles.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours31.00
Private study hours50.00
Total Contact hours19.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

Independent learning will be structured through the provision of online lectures that will contain mini-lecture teaching blocks. Mini-lectures are designed to be paused so that students can read papers as they are mentioned in the lectures. In addition, periodic MRQs are open-book and encourage students to seek out the answers to the questions using wider reading and content from the course (two hours of reading per week). Private study revolves around consolidation of the material learned during the in-class sessions (5-10 hours per week).

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Panels of formative MCQs will be released after weeks of teaching. These will enable practice of the style and content of the summative MCQs during the module.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course MCQMCQ online in Minerva25.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)25.00

Summative MCQs marks are returned to students online. Further guidance on the assessment will be provided in the module handbook/Minerva.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment0 hr 30 mins75.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)75.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 15/11/2022


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