Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BLGY3222 Social Biology

10 creditsClass Size: 140

Module manager: Dr Elizabeth Duncan

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25


BLGY2220Evolution, Adaptation and Behaviour

Module replaces

BLGY3122 Social Insect Biology

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module is designed to integrate knowledge from across a range of first and second year modules, expanding this to focus on current research in the area of social biology. The fundamental backbone of this course will focus on aspects of social insect biology encompassing ecology, ecosystem services and evolutionary theory. This will be supported by lectures on other social animals such as current research on social networks in vertebrates.


This module builds on a range of our first and second year modules and integrates information from a variety of disciplines to give students an understanding of the breadth and importance of social biology in animals. The lecture course is designed to deliver core information, addresses the current state of the field and to act as a springboard for independent learning and critical thinking. There is an interactive practical designed to promote data interpretation and critical analysis skills in the students, this is supported by a seminar.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
1. Summarise the major aspects of social animal biology, including kin recognition, the organisation of work and communication.
2. Appraise the evidence for (and against) the mechanisms that are proposed to drive the evolution of sociality and the conflicts underlying social groups
3. Critically discuss social animals as models for understanding a range of important concepts in behavioural ecology and evolutionary biology.

Skills Learning Outcomes:
On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
4. Gather information from a range of sources, analyse, and interpret data to aid understanding and anticipate problems.


Details of the syllabus will be provided on the Minerva organisation (or equivalent) for the module.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours3.00
Private study hours79.00
Total Contact hours18.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The module runs an active discussion board moderated by the academic staff which encourages students to engage in critical analysis of the literature and to discuss current research papers, where appropriate the academic staff will post to ask probing questions.

There is a 2hr seminar session which runs based on a flipped classroom approach with an online lecture watched in preparation and a 2 hr interactive discussion of two research papers, this emphasises the importance of critical analysis and students and is run in an active learning style with the assistance of demonstrators. Formative feedback is given verbally during this session.

Methods of assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment3 hr 100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

Two sections A. problem based / data analysis and interpretation – integration with current literature and B. Short Answer Questions

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2024 16:11:53


Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2019