University of Chester

Programme Specification
Genetics and Evolution BSc (Hons) (Single Honours)
2016 - 2017

Bachelor of Science (Single Honours)

Genetics and Evolution

Genetics and Evolution

University of Chester

University of Chester

University Centre Shrewsbury

Undergraduate Modular Programme


Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years

7 Years

Annual - September


C400 C182


17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences Chester Medical School


Institute of Medicine

Tuesday 28th July 2015

Genetics and evolution lie at the very heart of biology and therefore inform our knowledge of life on earth. The programme aims to develop an understanding of genetic and evolutionary principles to give a better understanding of how life on earth has changed over time and how it may change in the future. As such it aims:

  • To introduce and develop a solid understanding of core genetics and evolution content that meets national subject benchmarking and the UK Quality Code.
  • To develop early proficiency in the laboratory and research skills.
  • To promote student’s active learning through genetics or evolution focused case-based learning (CBL) sessions.
  • To promote a community-focused approach where students are able to forge links with local organisations and businesses in order to foster their understanding and application of theory to real-world issues and problems.
  • To foster employability and aid students to gain and document generic and employability skills to enable them to function effectively in the workplace.

To provide students with opportunities to engage with current opinions and controversies in genetic and evolutionary research.

Have detailed knowledge and critical understanding of subject disciplines, investigative techniques and research methods relevant to genetics and evolution.

FHEQ Level 4  - provides a foundation for study at levels 5 and 6, and a comprehensive review of key biochemical and genetic concepts and skills for students with a range of backgrounds.  Students will gain the core discipline knowledge and competency within the laboratory environment and essential practical techniques. (MD4001, MD4002, MD4003, MD4004, MD4005).

FEHQ Level 5 - students take modules that involve enhanced skills and develop the key genetics and evolution concepts in greater detail, building on the foundations established in the first year.  (MD5002, MD5003, MD5004, MD5005, MD5007)

FEHQ LEVEL 6 - students take modules that integrate the key genetics and evolution concepts addressed within the first and second year, and heighten awareness of current advances and practice. (MD6002, MD6003, MD6005, MD6006, MD6008).

Be able to analyse, synthesise, evaluate, apply and reflect upon information gained from academic and professional literature, professional organisations, and experiences in the workplace, in order to propose solutions to problems in their scientific context.

FHEQ Level 4

  • Search, find, read and understand biochemical and genetic specific texts and reference them using an appropriate referencing format (all modules).
  • Recognise the differences between primary and secondary literature (MD4006).
  • Understand the scientific method including the formulation of hypotheses (MD4006).
  • Analyse and interpret basic data sets (all modules).
  • Recognise and choose appropriate presentation format for different tyopes of data (all modules).
  • Adopt standard scientific format in all written work (all modules).

FEHQ Level 5 -

  • Critically appraise scientific papers (all modules).
  • Ability to synthesise material using a wide variety of sources (all modules). 
  • Problem solving (all modules)


  • Adopt a strong critical approach to the reading of the scientific literature (all modules)
  • Apply appropriate scientific reasoning to a wide variety of genetics or evolutionary issues (all modules)
  • Comprehend and analyse complex datasets (all modules).
  • Develop the ability to use the literature to propose new hypotheses (MD6001).

Students will be able to deploy academic and practical techniques for the integration of academic knowledge and understanding into effective professional practice contexts, have an understanding of the limits of their own knowledge, and how this influences analysis and interpretations based on that knowledge. They should have skills of self-evaluation to understand own strengths and weaknesses, challenge received opinion, and develop their own criteria and judgement. Students will have key/transferable skills and confidence to undertake further training, develop existing skills, and acquire new competences that will enable the assumption of significant responsibility within relevant organisations.  They will be able to use IT to manipulate quantitative and qualitative information to solve defined problems and be able to manage resources for effective learning. 

FHEQ Level 4

  • Time management (MD4006).
  • An awareness and understanding of research ethics (MD4006).
  • An awareness of ethical issues when working with humans or animals (MD4006).
  • IT skills (all modules)

FEHQ Level 5 -

  • Ability to work effectively in a team (all modules)
  • Project management skills (MD5006)
  • Ability to perform risk assessment and COSHH assments for laboratory work (MD5006).
  • Develop self-confidence in the laboratory (MD5006).
  • Develop self-confidence in synthesising evidence and expressing opinion in written work (all modules).


  • Adopt a strong critical approach to the reading of the scientific literature (all modules)
  • Apply appropriate scientific reasoning to a wide variety of genetics or evolutionary issues (all modules)
  • Comprehend and analyse complex datasets (all modules).
  • Develop the ability to use the literature to propose new hypotheses (MD6001).
  • Ability to adapt presentation style to specific audience (all modules)

Be able to effectively communicate information, arguments, and analysis in a variety of forms to specialist and non-specialist audiences. Be able to work effectively within a team, giving and receiving information and ideas, and modifying responses as appropriate.

FHEQ Level 4

  • Describe and discuss genetics and biochemical issues clearly and accurately in oral presentation and in written work (all modules).
  • Ability to use correct scientific format for writen work (all modules).

FEHQ Level 5 -

  • Develop coherent and evidence-based arguments (all modules).
  • Communicate effectively with members of a team (all modules).
  • Collaborate effectively in presenting teamwork (all modules).


  • Fluent and accurate written and oral communication, using clear and critical arguments and evidence-based reasoning (all modules)
  • Ability to adapt presentation style to specific audience (all modules)

The first year provides a foundation for study at levels 5 and 6, and a comprehensive review of key concepts and skills for students with a range of backgrounds.  Students will study the basic principles of genetics, cell biology and evolutionary studies as well as develop competency within the laboratory environment and essential practical techniques. A strong feature of the programme is the emphasis on developing critical analytical skills and stong laboratory skills. These are initiated in Level 4 and will then be built on in Levels 5 and 6,. In the case of critical skills – these are embedded in all modules at Levels 5 and 6. Practical skills are embedded in all modules but are further strengthened in MD5006 and MD6001.


At Level 5, students take modules that involve enhanced skills and study key concepts in greater detail, building on the foundations established in the first year.  Students will study molecular biology in depth and look at evolution in action using specific examples.


The final year modules integrate the key concepts addressed within the first and second year, and heighten awareness of current advances and practice in the discipline of their choice. Students will complete a 40 credit research dissertation in their chosen area related to Genetics and Evolution. The students will then select from the suite of level 6 modules in the Centre.


BSc Genetics and Evolution

Successful completion of:

MD4001, MD4002, MD4003, MD4004, MD4005 & MD4006

MD5002, MD5003, MD5004, MD5005, MD5006 &MD5007

MD6001, MD6002, MD6003, MD6008 & one of MD6005 or MD6006

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
MD4001 4 Genetics and Evolution 20 Comp
MD4002 4 Cell Biology 20 Comp
MD4003 4 Molecules of Life 20 Comp
MD4004 4 Infection and Immunity 20 Comp
MD4005 4 Human Physiology 20 Comp
MD4006 4 Research Methods 20 Comp
MD5002 5 Metabolic Regulation 20 Comp
MD5003 5 Applied Molecular Biology 20 Comp
MD5004 5 Human Genetics 20 Comp
MD5005 5 Microbiology 20 Comp
MD5006 5 Applied Laboratory Skills 20 Comp
MD5007 5 Evolution in Action 20 Comp
MD6001 6 Research Dissertation 40 Comp
MD6002 6 Gene Regulation 20 Comp
MD6003 6 Evolution of Behaviour 20 Comp
MD6005 6 Host parasite interactions 20 Optional
MD6006 6 Genetics and Ageing 20 Optional
MD6008 6 Current Topics in Genetics and Evolution 20 Comp

Certificate in Higher Education

Successful completion of:

MD4001, MD4002, MD4003, MD4004, MD4005 & MD4006


Diploma in Higher Education

Successful completion of:

MD4001, MD4002, MD4003, MD4004, MD4005 & MD4006

MD5002, MD5003, MD5004, MD5005, MD5006 & MD5007

BSc Genetics and Evolution

Successful completion of:

MD4001, MD4002, MD4003, MD4004, MD4005 & MD4006

MD5002, MD5003, MD5004, MD5005, MD5006 & MD5007

MD6001, MD6002, MD6003, MD6008 & one of MD6005 or MD6006



All applications are considered on individual merit in relation to the aims and outcomes of the programme. The table below sets out normal minimum qualifications required. Offers made to mature applicants (over 21) may take account of work and life experience.


UCAS points:

280 UCAS points from GCE A Levels, including a grade C in one of the subjects recommended by the department. Typical offer - BCC/BBC


The Department requires one of the following subjects as essential for entry:

GCE A Level: Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Applied Science


BTEC Extended Diploma (Applied Science): DMM

BTEC Diploma (Applied Science): D*D*

Irish/Scottish Highers:

B in 4 subjects, including Biology, Chemistry or Human Biology

International Baccalaureate:

26 points including 5 in Biology


Access to HE (Science) course to include 15 Level 3 credits at Distinction and 15 Level 3 credits at Merit


OCR National Extended/Diploma: merit profile plus one of the GCE A level subjects listed above

Extra Information:

Please note that we accept a maximum of 20 UCAS points from GCE AS Levels and that the Welsh Baccalaureate (core) and A Level General Studies will be recognised in our offer. We will also consider a combination of A Levels and BTECs/OCRs.


Applicants whose first language is not English must have an appropriate level of English proficiency certification. This should include the name and result of any English language test taken, as well as copies of the appropriate certificates.


UKVI Approved SELT Tests



6.0 (Min. 5.5 in each-sub-skill)

Trinity College London ISE

ISEII - Pass in all 4 components

*IELTS tests must have been taken at a UKVI approved test centre for exams taken on or after 6th April 2015.  

If students have scored below our English entry requirements, they can take the University pre-sessional English course prior to commencement of academic studies.  

We may also accept other country specific English Language proficiency examinations (e.g. WAEC or Indian Standard XII).

This programme complies with the credits per module and for award as recommended in the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) as identified by the QAA, and with the NQF qualifications descriptions for each Level. The module descriptors clearly demonstrate the competencies expected at each Level, and the amount of student effort required. The Level characteristics as described by the QAA in the National Qualifications Framework also relate closely to the overarching characteristics of learning as defined by the University of Chester.

The construction of this programme's learning outcomes, knowledge, skills and content together with the methods of learning, teaching and assessment have been informed by the the QAA benchmark statements for bioscience and biomedical science.


Subject knowledge and understanding

Engagement with the essential facts, major concepts, principles and theories.

MD4001, MD4002, MD4003, MD4004, MD4005

Competence in basic experimental skills

MD4001, MD4002, MD4003, MD4005, MD4005, MD5006

Critical analysis and assessment of data

MD4006, MD5002, MD5003, MD5004, MD5005, MD5006, MD5007

Familiarity with terminology, nomenclature and classification systems.

MD4001, MD4004

Methods of acquiring, interpreting and analyzing information through study of texts, original papers and reports.


Awareness of the contribution of the subject to the development of knowledge of life and evolution.

MD4001, MD5007, MD6003, MD6005, MD6006, MD6008

Knowledge of a range of communication techniques


Engagement with some of the current developments in bioscience and their applications.

MD6001, MD6002, MD6003, MD6005, MD6006, MD6008

Understanding of the applicability of biosciences and genetics to possible careers.

MD5006, MD6001, MD6008

An appreciation of complexity and diversity of life through study of bioscience and genetics.

MD4001, MD4002, MD5003, MD5004, MD5005,MD5007, MD6002, MD6003

Ability to think independently, set tasks and solve problems

MD4006, MD5006, MD6001

Recognize and apply subject specific theories such as relationship between genes and proteins

MD4001, MD4002, MD5003, MD5004, MD5005,MD5007, MD6002, MD6003

Ability to integrate multiple lines of subject specific evidence to formulate and test hypotheses.

MD4006, MD5006, MD6001

An appreciation of the complexity and diversity of life processes through study of human systems, the molecular, cellular and physiological processes involved.

MD4001, MD4002, MD4003, MD4004, MD4005, MD5002, MD5003, MD5004, MD5005,MD5007, MD6002, MD6003, MD6005, MD6006, MD6008

Understanding of gene expression with detailed knowledge of structure, arrangement, expression and regulation of genes and relevant experimental methods.

MD4001, MD5002, MD5003, MD6002

The ability to devise and evaluate suitable experiments.

MD4006, MD5006, MD6001

Describe patterns of inheritance and complex genetic interactions relating to lives of studied organisms.

MD4001, MD5007, MD6002, MD6005, MD6006, MD6008

Ability to explain chemistry that underlies biochemical reactions and techniques used to investigate

MD4003, MD4004, MD5002, MD5003, MD5006, MD6005

Understand 3D structure of macromolecules and how structure enables function,

MD4002, MD4003, MD5002, MD6002

Familiarity with wide range of cells, prokaryotic and eukaryotic and how their properties suit their function.

MD4001, MD4002, MD4004, MD5005, MD5007, MD6002, MD6003, MD6005, MD6008

Devise and evaluate experimental method of investigation

MD4006, MD5006, MD6001

Understand interactions of structure and metabolic function at cellular level.

MD4002, MD4004, MD5002, MD5003, MD5005, MD6002, MD6005, MD6008

Demonstrate knowledge of biochemical cycles and pathways

MD4002, MD5002

Investigate function and dysfunction of organs and systems and biochemical changes in disease

MD4004, MD5004, MD6005, MD6006, MD6008

Causes and consequences of normal and abnormal immune function

MD4004, MD5004, MD6005, MD6006, MD6008

Knowledge and understanding of human anatomy and physiology.

MD4005, MD6006, MD6008

Understanding of cell structure and function at a molecular level.

MD4002, MD4004, MD5002, MD5005, MD6002, MD6005, MD6006, MD6008

The programme will be delivered by combination of lectures, seminars, practical laboratory sessions and tutorials. Members of the Institute of Medicine have many years of experience in offering distinctive programmes of study at diploma, undergraduate, postgraduate and post-experience levels. The Department has considerable experience of supporting the learning needs of mature students and of students generally with ‘non-standard entry’ qualifications. Considerable experience has been achieved with students with limited entry qualifications both in terms of academic performance and personal development.   

Learning Packages

(a) The main learning materials will be in the form of Module Texts supported by a Programme Handbook. The Module Texts will contain a range of materials (e.g. text, articles, data handling exercises and so on) and will be augmented by on-line learning. Students will be encouraged to complete formative assessments which will be progressively developed through regular seminars giving valuable on-going feedback to the students as they progress.

(b) On-line learning

On-line facilities (using moodle on the University intranet IBIS) will be used to provide the following:

 ·        A structured weekly guide to the module content

·        Assessment details and guidance (e.g. on presenting the assignment(s))

·        Access to distant, appropriate websites

·        Access to Library resources

·        Access to the Discussion Board

·        e-mail links to the tutors

·        Text references.

·        Access to the support infrastructure.


Practical work 

Regular practical sessions form an important component of the learning experience and attendance is expected at all these sessions.

Visiting Lecturers

Visiting Lecturers will be used to support the delivery of the programme. This will provide expertise in specialist areas and will include contributions from a range of personnel involved in various disciplines of Biosciences.


The assessment methods employed all place great emphasis (as shown in their assessment criteria) on the learner's ability to demonstrate skills through the production of coherent responses either to problems or tasks set.

Examples include;

  • Written assignments that critically review and cite key research papers;
  • Case studies which identify and formulate appropriate responses and intervention strategies to biomedical issues;
  • Preparation of research proposals;

Specific details are available in individual module descriptors.

This programme is designed to equip graduates with the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to pursue careers in the area of bioscience, medicine, healthcare, or biomedical science either in industry or within the health sector. In addition, the transferable skills embedded throughout the programme will benefit graduates considering a change of career and equip them to enter other areas of employment (e.g. management, medical writing, etc.).

Graduates of this BSc programme should be able to:

  • deal with complex issues systematically and creatively, and communicate findings to specialists and other professional groups;
  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in problem-solving across a variety of areas;
  • continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level and possess the necessary qualities and transferable skills at an advanced professional level.  

Students will be well paced for continuing to postgraduate study either taught or research focused on genetics or evolution. Graduates will also be sought after by pharmaceutical companies – either as research scientists or sales. Others may choose an academic career after completing a research degree.

The programmes of study in the Institute of Medicine fully embrace the University’s commitment to the active promotion of equality of opportunity. The  University seeks to ensure that no student is disadvantaged or discriminated against on the grounds of: gender; age; marital or parental status; sexual orientation; racial group (race, colour, nationality, ethnicity or national origins); creed (religious, political or personal beliefs or principles); membership or non-membership of a trade union; and socio-economic background. It also aims to ensure that disabled people and those with special needs do not suffer unfair discrimination, and that they are enabled to achieve their full potential as students.  The ultimate objective of the programmes delivered are to ensure all aspects of delivery are open to all sections of society and in whose activities all students can participate to the best of their ability. This programme is designed to ensure inclusivity and to ensure that the diverse needs of our students are provided for.  At a departmental level all programmes are developed and delivered with the following aspects in mind:

  • Admission requirements are clearly set out in promotional materials and due consideration is given to a policy of widening access, participation, diversity and equality. 
  • Each module and programme is developed in line with University policy to both promote equality and diversity and encourage all students in the development of their learning.
  • There is flexibility in materials and delivery of teaching to support students with disability or from culturally diverse backgrounds and the Department works closely with Learning Support in delivering this support through Learning Support Plans.
  • The induction week activities are designed to integrate all students both academically and socially and to make academic staff aware of any issues.  Students are made aware of avenues of support if they a have any issues regarding diversity and equality.
  • Supportive formative exercises are presented in modules in the first year to give all students an equal chance of succeeding.
  • Assessments are designed to afford equal opportunity to all students to display their knowledge and skills. The introduction of anonymous marking and the blue sticker scheme also enhance equal opportunity to all students.
  • In order to ensure that the needs of all students are met any barriers to access (physical, environmental and curriculum) are identified and removed or reasonable adjustments will be made based on requirements.
  • All learning materials and teaching and learning sessions are designed to be free from racist, sexist and other discriminatory assumptions and practices.

All lecturers are aware of diversity issues and discharge their PAT roles with knowledge and sympathy and all students are made aware of the Department structures to discuss issues should a concern arise. 

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