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Life on Earth - BIO00024C

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  • Department: Biology
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Richard Waites
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

Life on Earth covers all the most exciting and fundamental aspects of the biosciences in the context of the world in which we live. This module explores key concepts in biology through the diversity of organisms, processes and interactions at all levels of the ecological hierarchy, from individuals and populations to ecosystems and biomes. Students will go on a journey through time and space to learn where life came from, what it looks like now, how and why it functions, and what might happen next.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

This module explores different aspects of biology from diverse perspectives, using weekly case studies from a wide variety of biomes and habitats to set the scene for active learning in workshops and practicals. From the primordial goo to complex life, through mass extinction events, natural disasters, environmental variation and from the equator to the pole, students will compare and contrast strategies for life on earth and consider the effect of global challenges such as food, disease and climate change. The module culminates in the development of a new case study, in which students have the opportunity to reflect on earlier case studies, their learning and their role as scientists.

Module learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this module will be able to:

Describe the evolutionary history of life, with respect to major groups of living organisms and the development of modern ecosystems.

Explain the adaptive significance, organisation and function of living organisms, and how these vary among diverse organisms and environmental circumstances.

Explain the significance of the evolution of plants to life on earth, food, medicine and fuel

Explain how animal behaviour and species interactions can be studied, and how they affect community structures in relation to the environment.

Explain current and future threats to biodiversity.

Design simple experiments in biology, and collect, analyse and present the results in an appropriate format.

Identify and explain case studies relevant to employment, employability and science communication

Identify and explain case studies relevant to equality, diversity, inclusion and wellbeing


Task Length % of module mark
Open Assessment : Life on Earth
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Open Assessment : Life on Earth
N/A 100

Module feedback

Marks for all summative assessments will be made available to you and your supervisor via e:vision. Feedback will be either individual or cohort-level, depending on the assessment format. You should take the opportunity to discuss your marks and feedback with your supervisor.

For exam-style summative assessment, model answers will be provided for all questions along with cohort-level feedback indicating how students answered questions in general. Marks achieved per question will be added to your script.

For coursework assessments (eg. reports or essays) you will receive individual feedback on your work. This will usually be in the form of a feedback sheet that will include suggestions for further improvement.

During the teaching of the module you will receive formative feedback that may be at a whole class or individual level. Such feedback may include: model answers and discussion of workshop questions, summaries of performance in practicals, VLE-based quizzes, individual spoken comments during workshops, individual written comments on formative work.

Indicative reading

These are available through the VLE module site.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.