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Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)


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Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection changed the way that we view the world and our own position in it. Over one hundred and fifty years later it is still the very foundation of modern biology; a Rosetta Stone by which the morphological and behavioural characteristics of organisms can be interpreted. This course provides an introduction to how Darwin's work has shaped our evolutionary understanding, how plants and people have evolved, the importance of biodiversity and how species evolve.



Each unit includes practical classes, which allow students to carry out their own data collection and practise simple data-processing skills. Where possible, practical classes make use of local Cambridge resources. Assessed assignments for the course include reports and directed independent reading and background research. These give students experience of searching for scientific papers and develop their ability to read, understand and critically evaluate scientific writing. Discussion sessions throughout the year aim to build students’ confidence in discussing scientific concepts.

Students will have access to online support through the Institute's Virtual Learning Environment, which will accelerate their learning and enhance the experience of the course.

All students are expected to take an active part in the course and submit work showing evidence of learning. In particular, students are expected in each unit to:

  • attend the day-schools, laboratory sessions and fieldtrips
  • participate actively in class work
  • undertake reading and assignments set by the tutors
  • access resources and submit assignments through ICE Online, the Institute’s Virtual Learning Environment.

It is essential that students have an email account and regular access to an internet-connected computer. The course is supported by a web-based Virtual Learning Environment and course communications will be sent via email. Students are expected to submit their assignments online and feedback on assignments is delivered online.

Students retain access to the learning resources in their VLE course spaces for two academic years after they have completed their course.

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 2018 to 22 Jun 2019

Course duration

1 year

Apply by

22 Sep 2018

Course fee


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


Institute of Continuing Education
University of Cambridge
CB23 8AQ
United Kingdom

Qualifications / Credits

60 credits at Level 4

Course code