Biological Evolution

A general review of modern evolutionary biology and evolutionary theories, encompassing micro- and macro-evolution. The course centres on genetic and environmental processes that operate in natural populations and among species. It explores the history and development of evolutionary thinking, the origins and age of life on earth, and prehistoric biodiversity. Other topics include evolutionary changes in DNA, human evolution, origin of life, the nature of species and how species arise. Laboratory classes include a range of theoretical, practical and computing exercises in population genetics, phylogenetics and data management.

Course code

Qualifications are made up of courses. Some universities call these papers. Each course is numbered using six digits.



The fourth number of the course code shows the level of the course. For example, in course 219206, the fourth number is a 2, so it is a 200-level course (usually studied in the second year of full-time study).



Each course is worth a number of credits. You combine courses (credits) to meet the total number of credits needed for your qualification.




Course planning information

Course notes

Attendance at all laboratory classes.

Prerequisite courses

Complete first
162101 and (123101 or 123103 or 123104) and (199101 or 199103)

You need to complete the above course or courses before moving onto this one.


Choose just one

The courses listed above have similar content to this one meaning you can only enrol in this course or one of the listed courses. Only one of the courses can be credited towards your qualification.

General progression requirements

You must complete at least 45 credits from 100-level before enrolling in 200-level courses.

Learning outcomes

What you will learn. Knowledge, skills and attitudes you’ll be able to show as a result of successfully finishing this course.

  • 1 Articulate the geological, biological, phylogenetic and rational evidence for evolution.
  • 2 Express the concepts and implications of natural selection as a mechanism in evolution and describe examples.
  • 3 Explain the evolutionary genetics of populations and the genetic processes that underlie speciation.
  • 4 Synthesise information learnt throughout the course and effectively integrate evolutionary theory across the life sciences.
  • 5 Interpret the information conveyed by phylogenetic trees, and show how they can be used to test evolutionary ideas.
  • 6 Show how the scientific method of hypothesis formulation and testing is used in evolutionary biology.

Learning outcomes can change before the start of the semester you are studying the course in.


Assessment Learning outcomes assessed Weighting
Written Assignment 1 2 6 15%
Test 1 2 6 5%
Written Assignment 2 3 6 15%
Test 2 3 6 5%
Written Assignment 4 5 6 15%
Test 4 5 6 5%
Exam (centrally scheduled) 1 2 3 4 5 6 40%

Assessment weightings can change up to the start of the semester the course is delivered in.

You may need to take more assessments depending on where, how, and when you choose to take this course.

Explanation of assessment types

Computer programmes
Computer animation and screening, design, programming, models and other computer work.
Creative compositions
Animations, films, models, textiles, websites, and other compositions.
Exam College or GRS-based (not centrally scheduled)
An exam scheduled by a college or the Graduate Research School (GRS). The exam could be online, oral, field, practical skills, written exams or another format.
Exam (centrally scheduled)
An exam scheduled by Assessment Services (centrally) – you’ll usually be told when and where the exam is through the student portal.
Oral or performance or presentation
Debates, demonstrations, exhibitions, interviews, oral proposals, role play, speech and other performances or presentations.
You may be assessed on your participation in activities such as online fora, laboratories, debates, tutorials, exercises, seminars, and so on.
Creative, learning, online, narrative, photographic, written, and other portfolios.
Practical or placement
Field trips, field work, placements, seminars, workshops, voluntary work, and other activities.
Technology-based or experience-based simulations.
Laboratory, online, multi-choice, short answer, spoken, and other tests – arranged by the school.
Written assignment
Essays, group or individual projects, proposals, reports, reviews, writing exercises, and other written assignments.

Textbooks needed

Textbooks can change. We recommend you wait until at least seven weeks before the semester starts to buy your textbooks.

Highly recommended


2ND, 2014
Roberts & Company, Colorado

Campus Books stock textbooks and legislation. Current second-hand textbooks are also bought and sold. For more information visit Campus Books.

Course delivery details

No offerings available

There are currently no offerings available for this course. Search for a different course.