Postgraduate Module Descriptor

SOCM039: Cultures of the Life Sciences

This module descriptor refers to the 2020/1 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will draw from the following: 

  • Natural history and classification in biology
  • Experimental practices
  • Modelling and big data practices
  • Data sharing and intellectual property
  • Publishing practices
  • The role of concepts such as ‘gene’ and the ‘environment’
  • The role of AI in biology
  • Sociopolitics of biology
  • Relations between biology and medicine, translational research

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning Activity1111 x 1 hour lectures with accompanying PowerPoint presentations
Scheduled Learning Activity1111 x 1 hour discussion/seminar participation
Guided Independent Study5011 x 10 hours of course readings
Guided Independent Study78Reading/research for and writing of essay

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Other Learning Resources

Important Journals

Biological Theory

Biology and Philosophy


History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences

Genetics and Society

Journal of the History of Biology

Studies in History and Philosophy of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics