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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Anthropology

ANTH49415: Advanced Studies in the Evolution of Cooperation

Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2021/22


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To develop an advanced understanding and knowledge of contemporary research on the evolution of cooperation, comprising key evolutionary theory and models and empirical research on cooperation in humans and non-human species


  • Advanced evolutionary theory as it relates to cooperation
  • Classic and contemporary empirical research on the evolution of cooperation in humans and non-human species
  • Comparative phylogenetic approaches to the evolution of cooperation
  • Distinct evolutionary approaches to understanding cooperation including behavioural ecology, evolutionary psychology and cultural evolution

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Demonstrate advanced levels of current knowledge and intensive understanding of the evolution of cooperation and the different positions taken in key debates on this topic.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Deploy analytical skills for interpreting and critiquing the literature on the evolution of cooperation.
  • Present in written form theoretical concepts and empirical research on the evolution of cooperation in clear and accessible manner.
Key Skills:
  • Investigation, preparation and effective communication of research methods, data, interpretation and arguments in written form.
  • Critical analysis of data and arguments
  • Self-reflection on knowledge and skills acquired and developed
  • Accessing library resources
  • Undertaking independent study and research
  • Preparation and effective communication of interpretations and arguments in written form

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures may consist of pre-recorded videos, live presentations, break-out discussions or other activities as appropriate to the material covered from week to week
  • Lecture elements will provide students with an outline of key knowledge and debates in the evolution of cooperation, discuss the literature that students should explore, and provide relevant examples and cases studies.
  • Seminars will consist of 5 workshops designed to support the development of the summative assignment.
  • Advanced discussion classes will allow students to develop their skills of critical thinking and evaluation, as well as how to synthesise and interrogate material at a level commensurate with postgraduate attainment.
  • Student preparation and reading time will allow engagement with specific references in advance of seminars and general and particular reading related to the assessment, which will be a written assignment (such as an essay or report).
  • Online resources such as Discussion Boards will be used to discuss issues arising from lectures and to engage students in exercises related to their formative and summative assignments.
  • The critical reading log is an annotated bibliography in which the evidence and arguments presented in readings selected by the student and relevant to the development of their summative assessment are evaluated and critiqued. This along with the other summative component should show evidence of a higher level of engagement expected at postgraduate level.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 Weekly 1 hour 10
Seminars 5 Fortnightly 1 hour 5
Advanced discussion class 1 1 hour 1
Preparation and Reading 134
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written assignment 2500 words 80%
Critical reading log 1000 words 20%

Formative Assessment:

Outline or Draft of summative assignment. Reading log sample.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University