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Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)


This course has been cancelled. Please register your interest by using the ‘Ask a Question’ function and we will notify you when this course, or a similar course, is next run.

Interested in evolution? Ever wondered why life on Earth takes the forms it does? This Certificate course combines the input of evolutionary biologists, geneticists and ecologists from across Cambridge to explore the evidence for evolution in the behaviour, morphology and genomes of living animals and plants as well as in the fossil record. You will learn how the process of natural selection affects the way organisms look and behave, how they survive in a changing world, how they reproduce and how these differences are encoded in the genome. Discover how groups of organisms can co-evolve and interact to form complex ecosystems. Learn the basics of human evolution and the impacts of artificial selection and anthropogenic changes on evolutionary processes.

Our undergraduate courses are now being delivered entirely online, enabling students to study flexibly with the University of Cambridge from anywhere in the world.

We offer a range of tuition fee bursaries to promote access to and participation in continuing education.


Teaching & Assessment

How will I be taught and assessed? 


The content, activities and interaction for each of the three units will be taught remotely using video-based teaching platforms and an online course Virtual Learning Environment. You will have access to resources, discussion forums, and course tasks within ICE's Virtual Learning Environment. Teaching methods may include lectures, presentations by guest speakers and facilitators, interactive and experiential learning activities, reading and assignments to be completed by participants outside classroom sessions and online discussion forums. 

All students are expected to take an active part in the course and submit work showing evidence of learning. Your learning will be enhanced by: 

  • engaging with scheduled teaching sessions;  
  • participating in class activities and discussion; 
  • undertaking reading and assignments set by the tutor; 
  • accessing resources and submitting assignments through the VLE. 

Course Timeline 

  • Course (Unit 1) Start Date:  6th October 2023
  • Unit 1 submission deadline:  3rd January 2024
  • Unit 2 start date: Week commencing 1st January 2024
  • Unit 2 submission deadline: 20th March 2024
  • Unit 3 start date: Week commencing 1st April
  • Unit 3 submission deadline: 14th June 2024


Unit 1: 

  • 14/10/2023 10am-4pm
  • 28/10/2023 10am-4pm

  • 11/11/2023 10am-4pm

  • 25/11/2023 10am-4pm

Unit 2: 

  • 20/01/2024 10am-4pm

  • 03/02/2024 10am-4pm

  • 17/02/2024 10am-4pm

  • 02/03/2024 10am-4pm

Unit 3:

  • 13/04/2024 10am-4pm

  • 27/04/2024 10am-4pm

  • 11/05/2024 10am-4pm

  • 25/05/2024 10am-4pm


At the end of each unit you will submit assignments that allow you to demonstrate your learning and show that you have met the learning outcomes of the course. The types of assessment vary, but each unit assessments are the equivalent of a 3,000 –4,000 word essay. Further details will be made available in the course guide following enrolment.

Independent study is an essential part of the course. Guidance from the Quality Assurance Agency recommends that a  60-credit course, like this one, involves around 600 hours of study. This might include pre-class preparation, synchronous sessions, engagement with the VLE and asynchronous material; peer-to-peer interaction, preparations for assignments, assignment writing and feedback and self-directed learning. 

What is the status of this qualification? 

The course is taught and awarded at first-year undergraduate level (FHEQ 4) and offers 60 credits within the Higher Education Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS). This is equivalent to half of the first year of full-time undergraduate study.


Unless otherwise stated, teaching and assessment for ICE courses are in English. If your first language is not English, please refer to our Information for Applicants pages for further guidance.

Course dates

06 Oct 2023 to 14 Jun 2024

Course duration

1 Year

Apply by

04 Sep 2023

Course fee


Academic director

Academic Directors, Course Directors and Tutors are subject to change, when necessary.


Virtual Classroom
(via Zoom or equivalent)

Qualifications / Credits

60 credits at Level 4

Course code