also available in 2018
A Level Requirements
see all requirements
see all requirements
Full time 3 Year(s)
Taught jointly by our Biology tutors and academics from the Department of Psychology, this degree explores the biological processes which underpin human behaviour. You will gain a core knowledge of Biology and Psychology and can choose from a wide selection of modules, starting with modules such as Human Physiology and Cognitive Psychology in your first year and moving on to modules including Genetics and Brain and Behaviour in your second year. Animal Behaviour and Advanced Neuropsychology are options in your final year. Both elements of this degree programme equip you with a range of transferable communication, analytical and interpersonal skills.
A Level AAB
Required Subjects 2 science subjects from Biology, Chemistry, Computing, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, Human Biology, Mathematics, Physics or Psychology.
GCSE Mathematics grade B or 6, English Language grade C or 4
IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 6.0 in each component. For other English language qualifications we accept, please see our English language requirements webpages.
International Baccalaureate 35 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects including 6 in 2 HL science subjects from Biology, Chemistry, Computing, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, Human Biology, Mathematics, Physics or Psychology.
BTEC Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in Applied Science including sufficient Biology and Chemistry content
We welcome applications from students with a range of alternative UK and international qualifications, including combinations of qualification. Further guidance on admission to the University, including other qualifications that we accept, frequently asked questions and information on applying, can be found on our general admissions webpages.
Contact Admissions Team + 44 (0) 1524 592028 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of Lancaster's degree programmes are flexible, offering students the opportunity to cover a wide selection of subject areas to complement their main specialism. You will be able to study a range of modules, some examples of which are listed below.
This module is an introduction to the structure and function of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. The first five lectures of the module will examine the main components of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and the way eukaryotic cells are organized into tissues. The techniques used to study cells will also be reviewed. The next two lectures will look in detail at the structure and function of mitochondria and chloroplasts and the chemiosmotic theory. This will be followed by a lecture on the way cells are organised into tissues. The final four lectures will cover reproduction in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and the eukaryotic cell cycle. The lectures are supplemented by two practical sessions, the first on light microscopic technique and the second covering organelle isolation
Introducing students to the development of evolutionary theory and the evidence for the evolutionary processes of natural and sexual selection, this module examines the evolutionary relationships of the major groups of organisms, and deals with speciation and human evolution.
Using specific examples of animal behaviour, we demonstrate how an understanding of natural and sexual selection can explain the diverse evolution of body structures, reproductive behaviours and life-history strategies.
In this module students will be introduced to the basic principles of experimental research design. We familiarise students with the principals underpinning the statistical analysis of quantitative data using examples from experimental studies in practice. We also offer students the opportunity to use basic statistics to analyse experimental data using statistical software (IBM SPSS). These practical sessions give students an opportunity to acquire data analysis skills. We cover the logic behind generating and testing hypotheses in experimental design and provide students with guidance on how to critically appraise published experimental research. Students will gain an appreciation of the importance of experimental design in the study of human health; develop team-working skills; develop skills in self-directed learning using a virtual learning environment; experience the use of statistical software for performing statistical calculations; develop an ability to summarise and critique information from different sources in a coherent manner along with an understanding of how to report statistical results.
This module examines the way in which genetic information, encoded by the DNA of the cell, is replicated and passed on to each new generation of cells and whole individuals. The ways in which genes affect the characteristics of a cell or organism are explored at the molecular level. The fundamentals of these processes are very similar in all organisms but the unique features of eukaryotes and prokaryotes are highlighted. We will also examine the consequences of mutation and look at some examples of diseases and conditions caused by defective genes and alterations in chromosome number or structure.
Physiology is the study of how the body works, and is largely concerned with homeostasis – i.e. how body function is maintained at a relatively constant level in different environments and circumstances. This course considers the physiology of the brain and the nervous system; the heart and the circulatory system; the external respiratory system (lungs, together with transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood) and the gastrointestinal system. There is also some limited information on the pathophysiology of relevant human diseases. Other aspects of human physiology, involving different tissue and organ systems, are covered elsewhere.
There is a workshop on neurophysiology (the Nernst equation), and practical classes that demonstrate the effects of exercise on blood pressure, the ABO blood grouping system, and the effects of pH on the activity of some key enzymes involved in digestion.
Covering a wide range of infectious organisms from viruses to worms, this module provides a comprehensive introduction to infection and immune responses of the host. The biology of the infecting organisms and the host’s immune response will both be examined as these are vital components in understanding the nature of the different types of infection.
Selected infections will be studied in detail in lectures and practicals and used as paradigms to illustrate principles of the host/pathogen interaction.
This module introduces and provides training in the general skills necessary for the study of bioscience. These include use and care of laboratory equipment such as microscopes, spectrophotometers, micropipettes and centrifuges. It will also teach liquid-handling skills, and to calculate concentrations, volumes and dilution of solutions, particularly the importance and use of the mole concept. MS Excel will be used to generate statistics and to plot curves.
The other main area covered is that of scientific reading and writing. You will learn to recognize good and bad sentences, use correct paragraph structure, to search for, acquire and know how to read scientific literature, and to avoid plagiarism. Finally students will learn the various forms in which science is communicated and the ways public understanding of scientific findings can be distorted.
At the end of this module you will be able to record scientific investigation, collect data, present results, place them in the context of existing scientific literature and write a short scientific report.
You will be introduced to the fundamental principles of psychology that will underpin your degree: Developmental and Social Psychology, Brain and Behaviour, Cognitive Psychology, Individual Differences and Historical and Conceptual Issues.
Through a mixture of lectures, seminars and practical classes, you will learn about the theories and findings in each of these areas.
You will be taught about different research approaches, how to access and evaluate scientific journal articles, and how to construct arguments formally in essays.
The module runs in parallel with Investigating Psychology (PSYC102)
This module aims to introduce Biomedical Science students to laboratory-based investigations of human health and disease.
The basic principles of Cellular Pathology, Medical Microbiology, Clinical Biochemistry and Haematology and Transfusion Science are investigated. Laboratory practical work enables students to investigate Cellular Pathology, Medical Microbiology and Clinical Biochemistry.
Students will develop an understanding of how common diseases such as cancer, chronic heart disease and diabetes mellitus develop. Finally, hospital-acquired infection will be explored. Understanding of several topics on this module will be consolidated during a case study workshop.
This module examines how biomedicine links into society. It initially looks at the historical developments of biomedicine, and key changes that have occurred often as a result of a dramatic change to society such as war. Students look at how ethics in particular have developed and how thinking and ultimately legislation has evolved in relation to unethical practice. Key ethical principles are explored in relation to both the treatment of humans and animals. To help understand the role of biomedicine in society the module examines the role of animals in experimentation, the ethics associated with running clinical trials with humans, issues related to contraception and the role the media plays in how society makes sense of developments in health care.
The module has a main weekly lecture but much learning and consolidation of knowledge occurs in smaller seminar groups where students are given the opportunity to share their learning through presentations and debates.
Biotechnology is one of the fastest moving fields in the biosciences. Genetic engineering techniques have allowed the manipulation of microorganisms, plants and animals to produce commercially important compounds, or to have improved characteristics. This module examines the techniques that are used in genetic manipulation and looks at examples of how the technology has been applied. The practical outcomes of genome sequencing projects and the way in which knowledge of the human genome can be applied to medicine and forensics are also considered. Practical classes and workshops allow students to perform some of the key techniques for themselves.
This module will explore the theoretical basis for many methods routinely used in the medicine for diagnosis of immune system dysfunction, gastrointestinal tract diseases and endocrine disorders. The module will also enable investigation of methods employed to assess kidney function, haemostasis and drug use.
During workshops, case studies will be used in order to apply new knowledge to real life examples and a practical session will give students the opportunity to carry out an ELISA experiment.
The aim of this module is to introduce students to the mechanisms cells use to communicate with one another.
The structure and functions of several endocrine (hormone-producing) glands are investigated in lectures and workshops, such as the pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands. The hormonal control of human reproduction is explained, followed by investigating the topic of fertilisation. Early embryogenesis is compared in a variety of organisms, supported by a laboratory session which enables a comparison of early embryogenesis in starfish, frog and chick. Finally, human pregnancy, development and fertility are examined with emphasis upon causes and treatment of infertility.
The purpose of this module is to expand upon the introduction to proteins given in BIOL111. Our approach is to use specific examples to demonstrate different aspects of protein structure, and to illustrate the way that the different properties of individual amino acids contribute to the function of the proteins they make up. The course is split into two linked themes. Firstly, an introduction to the major structural features of proteins is given, with an emphasis on how protein structure relates to function. Secondly, an introduction to enzyme biochemistry is presented. We consider how enzymes catalyse biochemical reactions, how their activities can be described quantitatively, and how enzymes are regulated within the cell.
This module explores the interactions that take place both within and between cells and which allow them to perform their function in the whole organism. Students will consider five key topics within cell biology:
This laboratory-based module provides both a theoretical and experimental basis for further studies and research in cell biology. It will enable students to gain experience in a range of laboratory techniques including: handling mammalian cells, cell signalling, identification of subcellular molecular localisation by immunofluorescent microscopy, and cell cycle analysis by flow cytometry.
The module is delivered through mixed media platforms such as lectures and videos, with consolidation of the practicals in a final overarching data analysis workshop. Students will be able to apply these skills to design and carry out experiments for their own subsequent research projects.
Taught by internationally recognised researchers, you will learn about the study of mental processes; how we perceive, think, talk and behave. You'll explore the current issues, debates and approaches in the key areas of cognitive psychology: human memory, attention, language and perception under the guidance of lecturers who are experts and innovators in this field. You will also look at up-to-date theoretical debates and their evaluation in terms of conceptual coherence and empirical support.
You will explore learn cutting edge topics in developmental psychology, including the latest development in foetal research, new theories of communication and learning in infant and children, social cognition, face perception, perception of elementary physic and the theory of the mind.
The presented empirical research in the lectures, spanning from foetal research to toddlers, will provide you with an invaluable insight on how to conduct research into developmental psychology issues.
Information for this module is currently unavailable.
This module will introduce you to the fundamental neural principles of brain and behaviour relationships, with particular emphasis on the perceptual and cognitive functions that underpin many psychological processes. You will explore in more depth neural transmissions both within the neuron and at synapses, and gain a basic knowledge of the anatomy, physiology and functions of the central and peripheral nervous systems.
You will learn about a range of theories and research methods in cognitive neuroscience, and to demonstrate how knowledge of the psychological processes can aid our understanding of a wide scope of human behaviour.
The aim of this module is to build on knowledge gained in earlier first year modules: Anatomy and Tissue Structure and Human Physiology. Students will focus on four weekly themes: heart and circulation; muscle and fatigue; nervous system and the urinary system. Students independently learn theoretical background information using online and text-based resources, supported by weekly case study discussions during seminars. Muscle electrical activity and fatigue, ECG and nerve conduction velocity will be explored through experimentation on student volunteers and online simulations.
This module takes a molecular approach to understanding heredity and gene function in organisms ranging from bacteria to man. It begins by reviewing genome diversity and how genomes are replicated accurately, comparing and contrasting replication processes in bacteria and man. The module discusses in detail molecular mechanisms, particularly those that ensure information encoded in the genome is transcribed and translated appropriately to produce cellular proteins.
Students will focus on the importance of maintaining genome stability and damaging effects of mutations in the genome on human health. Examples are drawn from a range of inherited genetic diseases such as phenylketonuria and sickle cell anaemia, paying particular focus to how mutations in key genes are driving cancer development.
Teaching is delivered by a series of lectures supported by varied practical work, workshops, guided reading and online resources. Laboratory practicals include investigating how exposure of bacteria to ultraviolet light induces mutations – providing a model for understanding how skin cancer may develop as a consequence of excessive sun exposure.
This course examines the relationship between microbe and host; with particular focus on bacterial and viral pathogens. The diversity of structure, function and metabolism of bacteria, in relation to their role as a cause of disease, is explored and practical skills in bacteriology are introduced. Morphology and reproductive strategies of viruses are examined and methods for controlling viral infections by vaccination or anti-viral therapies are described. The course introduces principles of clinical microbiology by focusing on epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment of infection and host immune defences. The theme is one of "emergence" illustrating how some new infections have come to be a problem in health care and the importance of protective commensal microbes. The laboratory classes focus on diagnostic processes and illustrate the contribution which the microbiology laboratory can make to clinical decision making and epidemiology. This course also deals with the way in which pathogens (mainly bacteria) survive, and sometimes grow, in the environment and the implications this has for health in the community. The course is given in collaboration with health service consultants and workers from the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust.
This module explores how and why animals behave in the way that they do, building on many of the major themes of the Evolution module to highlight the links between behaviour, ecology and evolution. The central aim will be to understand the fitness consequences of behaviour - by focusing on three of the most important topics in behavioural research (reproduction, sociality and communication), we will investigate how the behaviour of an individual has evolved to maximise its survival and reproductive success.
Students will gain an understanding of how and why we study animal behaviour, at the same time developing their appreciation of scientific best practice. Students will be encouraged to relate specific knowledge to broader issues in ecology and evolution, and to critically reflect on what animal behaviour can tell us about behaviour in our own species. Additionally, students will be able to describe what behaviour actually is and understand the major factors that influence how animals (including humans) behave. Students will also develop the level of knowledge necessary to discuss a wide diversity of animal behaviours in a broad range of species, and describe the major approaches to understanding behaviour and apply Tinbergen's four questions to behavioural processes. Students will gain an enhanced understanding in a range of areas, including the importance of both nature and nurture in the evolution of behaviour, the ecological pressures that shape behaviour, the importance of the fitness consequences of behaviour at the individual level and the concepts of kin selection and inclusive fitness
You will explore recent developments in research methods in neuroscience and develop the skills needed to evaluate critically the assumptions underlying these techniques. Additionally, you will gain in-depth knowledge of selected important real world disorders, such as schizophrenia and Parkinson’s Disease. You will be able to integrate research on demographic, neuropsychological and neuroanatomical aspects of these disorders.
Nervous system function, from formation in the embryo to sensory systems and the neural control of complex behaviours, is the focus of this module. The emphasis is on model systems and the use of genetic tools to elucidate developmental pathways and neural circuits. Practical exercises are used to illustrate some of the functions of nervous systems and how these can be manipulated by genetic intervention.
Students are encouraged to access and evaluate information from a variety of sources and to communicate the principles in a way that is well-organised, topical, and recognises the limits of current hypotheses. On completion of the module, students will be equipped with practical techniques including data collection, analysis and interpretation.
You will be introduced to the concepts of human psychopharmacology, and to the theoretical background of drug-induced modification of nervous system function and behaviour. You will gain insight into psychoactive drugs and how they act upon the brain to influence behaviour.
We'll teach you about the biological bases of drug actions and how these might contribute to our knowledge of psychological function in general, the acute and long term consequences of psychoactive drug use and current pharmacological treatment strategies for Alzheimer's, depression and schizophrenia.
You will explore why individuals differ in responsiveness to psychoactive drugs and discuss current controversies in the area of psychopharmacology.
For 50 years, thanks to evolutionary theory, we’ve known why we are fated to age and die, but our understanding of the mechanisms has been a lengthy evolution in itself. Only relatively recently, with the use of modern molecular biology tools, do we begin to understand the mechanistic basis of the ageing process, from early notions about rates of living to current ideas about modular yet interacting mechanisms including autophagy, protein synthesis, nutrient sensing, insulin-like signalling and disease resistance. Even now we do not clearly know what makes us age. Ageing is perhaps the most multidisciplinary area of study and is certainly one of the last great mysteries in biology.
This module introduces the area and the methodologies with which ageing is studied. Teaching is through lectures, workshops, practical work, individual and group-based coursework and private study.
In this module students are given an overview of the cellular and molecular processes that underpin the development of cancer. This will enable students to discuss the various factors that can affect cancer susceptibility. Students will look at the approaches taken to treat cancer, including some of the new generation of molecularly-targeted cancer therapies.
This module looks at the fundamental mechanisms regulating cell proliferation and differentiation and how the cell cycle is central to the development and maintenance of cells and tissues including the role of stem cells. It covers the mechanisms by which cells become terminally differentiated to perform specialised functions and how this process depends on coordinated regulation of the cell cycle, gene expression and apoptosis. The cell cycle’s role in the regulation and differentiation of both somatic and stem cells will be covered. Students will examine the roles of embryonic stem cells in development, and the roles of adult stem cells in the maintenance of various tissues in the adult organism. The module will look at both established and recently developed stem cell technologies. This includes adult, embryonic, cloned embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cell technologies. The pros and cons of autogenic and allogenic therapies will be discussed. The results of the latest clinical trials and the ethics of the different stem cell technologies will also be covered.
The ability of cells to communicate with one another using signalling pathways is of fundamental importance in multicellular organisms such as mammals. Cell signalling enables the transmission of information that is required for the correct co-ordination of metabolism, growth and development.
This module revises the basic principles of cellular communication, exploring the molecular basis of signalling in detail by using key signalling pathways as examples. The combination of Lectures and Workshops allows students to evaluate influential scientific discoveries, whilst Laboratory practicals provide the opportunity to put theory into practice.
This module explores some of the key roles played by ion channels and calcium ions in the communication that takes place within and between cells. The module is split into two linked themes. Firstly, an introduction to the diversity of ion channel families and their biological functions including the many different cellular processes throughout the life history of cells that are regulated by calcium ions as signals. Secondly, an investigation of the importance of ion channels and calcium signalling in animals, and human physiology in particular, using examples of diseases that are caused when ion channels malfunction (e.g. myotonia, malignant hyperthermia, sudden heart arrest caused by long QT syndrome.) or calcium signalling is disrupted (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease, polycystic kidney disease, pancreatitis). Students also gain hands-on experience of the techniques used to study ion channels and calcium signalling in cells.
Every day our body does something remarkable, but we are completely unaware of it most of the time: our immune system is constantly protecting us from pathogens in our environment as well as threats from within. This highly evolved, interdependent collection of organs, cells and chemical messengers is continually scanning our tissues for any unwanted intruders or abnormal cells. When we get ill, with a cold for example, full mobilisation of our immune system sends armies of cells and molecules to fight the problem in what can sometimes literally be a fight to the death. Fortunately for us, our immune system wins the battle almost every time!
In this module we examine the various components of the immune system – the organs, cells, and messengers, and how they function in health and illness. We look at particular threats such as allergies, infectious diseases and cancer, providing students with a good understanding of how this vital component of our bodies keeps us well.
Research and practice in biomedicine continues to evolve more rapidly than at any other time in history, raising fascinating but complex moral and ethical challenges for those studying and working in the field. Understanding ethics in biomedicine and the relationship between science and society has become an essential element in biomedical degree training.
This module builds on the Biomedicine and Society module, aiming to help students develop a deeper understanding of key ethical principles used in biomedicine and some major cultural, social and political influences that define research agendas and fuel ethical debates in the public perception of biomedicine.
The module takes on a seminar format structured around three core themes:
In this module students will work together as a team to propose a solution to a problem of biological relevance, for example antibiotic resistance, invasive species or healthy ageing. The solution may be a patentable, commercial product or a policy proposal. Weekly workshop sessions will be held for the whole class which will include presentations from external speakers on topics such as intellectual property, project management and negotiating skills. Each team will choose a leader who will be responsible for organising regular meetings in which ideas are developed, tasks assigned and information gathered. The team will produce a report in the form of a patent application or policy document which will form part of the module assessment. The remainder of the assessment will be based on an oral presentation. Peer-assessment will be used to adjust tutors' marks according to individual contribution to the project.
This course considers the aetiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment of some of the major chronic diseases (excluding cancer) that affect human health, including: neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease; osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis; cerebrovascular disease; and the two major types of diabetes. Some of the lectures are delivered by experts who treat patients with these diseases in local hospitals. Teaching is through lectures, practical work, and group-based student discussions and presentations.
Talks given by the students themselves expand understanding to cover the pathobiology of many different chronic human diseases that are not covered formally in the lectures. There is also a practical class on diabetes that complements the lectures and teaches how some simple biochemical tests can be used for diagnosis and management of this condition.
This module will enhance your knowledge of developmental psychology, building on knowledge gained during Year 2. You will explore in more depth developmental theoretical problems such as Nativist vs. Empiricist accounts on infant knowledge and reasoning, and the development of empathy and prosocial behaviour. You will also look at moral reasoning and emerging understanding of moral rules, and social and emotional development in adolescence.
A longer period of development is covered compared to PSYC205, spanning from infancy through early and late childhood, and through to adolescence.
You will examine in depth the different topics within developmental psychology from a social neuroscience approach. You will be presented with various key aspects of typical and atypical socio-emotional development, and how social cognitive and affective neuroscience core principles and methods have helped advance their understanding.
A specific emphasis will be put on how different processes interact during development, and how this influences the outcome at different points during their ontogenic trajectory.
This module discusses the use of the term ‘attention’ in a variety of settings. Attention is relevant to a wide range of psychological phenomena, and this course provides the opportunity to consider what attention is (and what it isn’t) in more detail than is commonly provided. The course discusses various theoretical models of attention, but also examines how attentional concepts have been used in areas that include atypical development in childhood (specifically, autism and ADHD), anxiety states and disorders of attention.
The module bridges laboratory research with applied behaviour, and this is reflected in the curriculum content and also in the assessment. Thus coursework involves short group presentations on attentional research, and individual analysis of media stories for their potential attentional relevance
This module is presented by academics with many years’ experience working on international tropical disease research. In the era of increasing international travel and trade, and considering the potential effects of climate change, parasites and pathogens that cause tropical diseases are an increasingly important group of organisms globally. These pathogens include viruses, bacteria, protists, worms and arthropods of various kinds.
Students will focus on the biology of the major pathogens including their life cycles, transmission mechanisms, pathology, diagnosis, treatment and control. There will be an emphasis on insect transmitted diseases such as malaria, dengue and neglected diseases such as leishmaniasis. Students will discuss international public health, and specific factors that prevent successful control within economically deprived communities.
Molecular approaches will not be covered in detail. Case study workshops will look at disease outbreaks, and practical sessions will explore and develop concepts from lectures and demonstrate some practical techniques that can be used to facilitate research into tropical diseases.
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and others which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme. We divide academic study into two sections - Part 1 (Year 1) and Part 2 (Year 2, 3 and sometimes 4). For most programmes Part 1 requires you to study 120 credits spread over at least three modules which, depending upon your programme, will be drawn from one, two or three different academic subjects. A higher degree of specialisation then develops in subsequent years. For more information about our teaching methods at Lancaster visit our Teaching and Learning section.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Your biology training is relevant for careers in academic, industrial or medical research and opens up opportunities in the pharmaceutical and food industries or in environmental consultancy. Around half of our graduates use their skills in a commercial setting while half pursue work in scientific, teaching or caring professions.
Lancaster University is dedicated to ensuring you not only gain a highly reputable degree, you also graduate with the relevant life and work based skills. We are unique in that every student is eligible to participate in The Lancaster Award which offers you the opportunity to complete key activities such as work experience, employability awareness, career development, campus community and social development. Visit our Employability section for full details.
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2019/20 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2018 were:
Some science and medicine courses have higher fees for students from
the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. You can find more details here:
For full details of the University's financial support packages including eligibility criteria, please visit our fees and funding page
It is recommended, but not compulsory, that students join the Biochemical Society. The cost for this will be approximately £20. Biological Sciences students have the option to attend the LEC field trip and students will need to pay for travel costs.
Students will need to account for occasional travel to and from work placements. It will also be necessary for students to pay for a Criminal Record Bureau check. There is also the option for students to join the appropriate professional body, however membership is voluntary.
Students also need to consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation it may be necessary to take out subscriptions to professional bodies and to buy business attire for job interviews.
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Typical time in lectures, seminars and similar per week during term time
Average assessment by coursework