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Animal Biology

Programme Specification: Part IB Animal Biology

This course is taught by the Department of Zoology.


  1. to show how the form, function and behaviour of animals become adapted to the environment through evolution;
  2. to elucidate general biological principles through the study of specialised or experimentally tractable systems;
  3. to prepare students for Part II courses that require knowledge of animal biology at the systems and organismal levels;
  4. to develop students' practical scientific skills.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students should be:

  1. able to appreciate the complexities of biological organisation and be able to address scientifically controversial issues in a rational way;
  2. able to interpret material in terms of biological function and the effect of natural selection;
  3. able to analyse and report on material learned;
  4. able to assess the scope of animal biology and be able to select particular areas for further study;
  5. aware of the breadth of studies on the biology of animals as they relate to the evolution, function, behaviour and behavioural ecology of animals;
  6. able to integrate related topics from separate parts of the course.

Teaching and learning methods

These include lectures, supervisions and practical classes.


Assessment for this course is through

  • two unseen written examinations, based on lecture material (for aims 1-3 and learning outcomes 1-6);
  • continuous assessment of practical work (for aims 1-4 and learning outcomes 1- 6).

Courses of Preparation

Essential: None.

NST Part IA Evolution and Behaviour (particularly helpful); 
NST Part IA Biology of Cells (helpful); 
NST Part IA Physiology of Organisms (helpful).

Additional Information

Further information on each subject is available in the Subject summary and on the Course Websites pages.