Module Catalogue 2015/16

PSY3001 : Evolution & Behaviour

  • Offered for Year: 2015/16
  • Module Leader(s): Prof. Candy Rowe
  • Owning School: Psychology
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



1. To provide knowledge about how animals behave, why behaviours have evolved, and why the study of animal behaviour is important for research in other disciplines.
2. To use a variety of topics to illustrate how to measure and study behaviour, and enable students to understand and interpret primary research papers in various areas of animal behaviour.

Original Summary:
Why do birds sing? Why do meerkats look out for each other? Why do we study animal behaviour, and what does it tell us about our own behaviour? This course take an evolutionary point of view to answers these (and many other) fundamental questions, and looks at how we can understand why animals do what they do.

Outline Of Syllabus

The course will be made up of seminars and lectures on a variety of topics, including:

Sexual selecton
Predators and prey
Evolution of complex cognition and behaviour
Animal personality
Social learning and behaviour
Evolution of human behaviour

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

1. To increase the understanding of the important role that evolution has played in influencing the animal behaviours that we see today.
2. To improve students’ appreciation of the methods used to study animal behaviour, and provide them with a wealth of scientific studies that are the basis of this knowledge.
3. To build on knowledge of animal behaviour and evolution taught in Stages 1 and 2.

Intended Skill Outcomes

1. To critically evaluate theories and data using the primary research literature.
2. To develop and discuss solutions to research problems in seminars.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Data Synthesis : Assessed
    • Active Learning : Present
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Assessed
      • Use Of Computer Applications : Present
  • Self Management
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Decision Making : Present
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Problem Solving : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Present
      • Interpersonal : Present
      • Written Other : Assessed
    • Team Working
      • Relationship Building : Present
      • Peer Assessment Review : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion31:003:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading51:005:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study761:0076:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
BIO3014Evolution and Behaviour
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The weekly lectures will provide the basic theoretical framework for the course, and introduce students to current concepts and ideas in behaviour and evolution. They will also use recent data to support these ideas, and provide students with fundamental knowledge of the subject area.

The seminars will provide students with an opportunity to discuss current issues in animal behaviour and use what they have learned in the lectures. Seminars will be based upon group problem-solving, and will ensure students’ fluency with interpreting data within a theoretical framework.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A100Unseen, no books, 2 answers from a choice of 6
Exam Pairings
Module Code Module Title Semester Comment
BIO3014Evolution and Behaviour1N/A
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Methods of Assessment:

Methods of Assessment:

Other Information-
The resit exam will have the same format.

Rationale and Relationship of assessment methods to learning outcomes:

The written examination is used to assess: knowledge, independent learning and understanding of material relevant to the module; gathering of information from a variety of sources; understanding and application of theoretical concepts; critical evaluation of arguments and evidence; the ability to communicate effectively in writing; understanding and articulation of critical issues in animal behaviour; understanding and interpretation of primary research data in a wider theoretical context; the ability for critical thought and original approach.

FMS Schools offering Semester One modules available as ‘Study Abroad’ will, where required, provide an alternative assessment time for examinations that take place after the Christmas vacation. Coursework with submissions dates after the Christmas vacation will either be submitted at an earlier date or at the same time remotely.

The form of assessment will not vary from the original.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Note: The Module Catalogue now reflects module information relating to academic year 15/16. Please contact your School Office if you require module information for a previous academic year.

Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.