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Biological Sciences > Interdisciplinary study

1. How does the Biological Sciences department define interdisciplinary study?

Keyword: research areas

The Biological Sciences department defines interdisciplinary study mainly in its research areas rather than in its undergraduate study areas.

It claims to encompass academic staff and research students as truly interdisciplinary and from a range of disciplines in the Biological Sciences Department and other departments such as Warwick Medical School, Warwick HRI, the Centre for Systems Biology and the Departments of Mathematics and Chemistry.

About the Department of Biological Sciences: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/bio/about/


2. In what ways do single, combined and joint honours courses claim to be interdisciplinary?

Keyword: Single courses, Combined courses, optional modules

The courses at the Biological Sciences Department claim to be interdisciplinary either in the nature of subjects covered or in the options available for students to select modules from other departments.


Single Courses:

Biological Sciences Degree:

It claims to have an exceptionally wide range of options that allows students to choose modules from various departments that are best suited to their personal interests and career ambitions.

Biological Sciences degree: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/bio/ug/courses/biolsci/

First year students with A-level Chemistry are able to study Psychology or a Language module. Third year students on the course can select options of modules from other departments.

Modules: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/depta2z/biology/c100/

 

Combined Courses:

Microbiology and Virology degrees:

Similarly to the Biological Sciences single degree, this claims that first year students with A-level Chemistry have can select a module from Psychology and Language modules. The third year students also have an opportunity to select modules from other departments.

Microbiology/Virology: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/depta2z/biology/c520/

Biochemistry degree:

This course uses chemistry to teach concepts and techniques needed to understand biochemical systems.

First year students study core modules in Organic and Physical Chemistry from the Chemistry Department as well Biostatistics that involves the study of Statistics. Third year students also have the opportunity to select an optional module from other departments.

Biochemistry: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/depta2z/biology/c700/

Biomedical Science Degree:

This degree claims to focus on applying biological concepts in medicine. Similarly to most of the other biological sciences department courses, first year students with A-level chemistry can study Psychology or a Language module.

Biomedical Science: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/depta2z/biology/b900/


Conclusions:

The department defines interdisciplinary study as one that encompasses interdisciplinary academic staff and research students from a range of disciplines in the Biological Sciences Department and other departments.

The single honours course claims to be interdisciplinary mainly through its optional modules that allows students to choose language modules and those from other departments.

The combined courses claim to be interdisciplinary both through the optional modules they provide but also by combining the study of biology with other fields such as chemistry, medicine and statistics.




DISCOURSE ANALYSIS:

 

Reference: How does the Biological Sciences department define interdisciplinary study?


‘The Department has 55 academic staff, 85 research assistants and 100 research students organised into research interest groups covering a wide range of biological interests encompassing molecules, cells, whole organisms and ecosystems. These groups are truly interdisciplinary, welcoming members not only from the range of disciplines in our Department but also from others such as Warwick Medical School, Warwick HRI, the Centre for Systems Biology and the Departments of Mathematics and Chemistry.’ This introductory statement about the department implies that it defines interdisciplinary study more as a characteristic of its academic research rather than its undergraduate teaching. Interdepartmental research across the disciplines of biology, mathematics and chemistry are emphasized as defining the nature of the department’s interdisciplinary study.

About the Department of Biological Sciences: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/bio/about/

 

Reference: In what ways do single, combined and joint honours courses claim to be interdisciplinary?

 

Single Honours Courses:

‘Would you like to keep your options open? The broad-based Biological Sciences degree at Warwick offers a wide range of options while giving you the opportunity to specialise in the second and third years.’

It is clear that the discourse on the website uses the variety of optional modules available in the Biological Sciences degree as evidence of an interdisciplinary course. However, on further inspection of the course modules, it is clear that only entrants with A-level Chemistry can take advantage of optional modules from other disciplines in the first year. Therefore, despite the ‘wide-range of options’ the department claims above, there are some limitations for certain students.

Biological Sciences degree: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/bio/ug/courses/biolsci/

Modules: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/depta2z/biology/c100/

 

Combined Honours Courses:

The combined courses of Microbiology and Virology, Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences have descriptions on the website focused on detailed scientific subjects within the courses. Nonetheless, the department also lists modules taken and outlines that optional modules from disciplines such as Psychology, languages and other departments are available to students specifically in their first and third years.


Microbiology/Virology: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/depta2z/biology/c520/

Biochemistry: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/depta2z/biology/c700/

Biomedical Science: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/depta2z/biology/b900/