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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Language Sciences

Postgraduate Course: Foundations of Evolution (LASC11006)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course is an interdisciplinary introduction to the central ideas of evolution. In particular, it covers key theoretical concepts of evolutionary biology and the application of evolutionary approaches to the study of culture.
Course description This course is intended to be accessible and relevant to students whether or not they have a background in evolutionary biology. As well as providing a primer for the core concepts of modern evolutionary theory and practice, the course situates evolutionary biology in a wider context, covering the historical development of evolutionary theory, its philosophical ramifications and its impact on other disciplines.

PLEASE NOTE: this course is primarily intended for students on the MSc in Evolution of Language and Cognition. Any other students should contact the course organiser for permission to take this course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 63 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 100 %, Coursework 0 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One 2-hour examination

Date of exam: To be set centrally
Return deadline: within 3 working weeks
Feedback There will a session devoted to practising examination questions, with students attempting and discussing and the lecturer providing comments to the class.

Comments provided on submitted assessments
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)Foundations of Evolution2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. critically evaluate the application of evolutionary thinking in biology and other disciplines
  2. integrate formal models and philosophical arguments to develop scientific explanations
Reading List
Laland, K. N. & Brown, G. R. (2011). Sense and nonsense: evolutionary perspectives on human behaviour, 2nd edition. Oxford: OUP.

Barton, N. H., et al. (2007). Evolution. Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press

Mesoudi, A. (2011). Cultural Evolution. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press.

Dediu, D. (2013). Genes: Interactions with language on three leveos: inter-individual variation, historical corelations and genetic biasing. In P.-M. Binder and K. Smith (eds.) The language phenomenon. Springer Verlag.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills After successful completion of the course, students will have an understanding of:
- the intellectual history of evolutionary biology
- what evolutionary theory aims to explain
- the mechanisms that give rise to adaptation
- the biological evidence for evolutionary processes
- the major evolutionary transitions in the history of life on earth
- how techniques from evolutionary biology can be applied to the study of cultural systems such as language
- how evolutionary biology impacts on the cognitive and social sciences
Additional Class Delivery Information Attend all lectures and tutorials as scheduled
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Kenneth Smith
Tel: (0131 6)50 3956
Course secretaryMiss Toni Noble
Tel: (0131 6)51 3188
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