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Choosing your Minor Subject

Once your Major Subject has been confirmed, the Faculty Office will ask you to state your preferred Minor Subject by 1st August. Some Minor Subjects have limited places, and if these are over-subscribed the departments concerned will select their own students.

On this page you will find information to help you choose your Minor Subject:

 Departments offering BBS Minor Subjects

Click on the tiles below to visit corresponding departmental webpages

 

 

Minor Subjects short description

The links below are, when possible, specific to a given Minor subject.

PaperShort Description (see links for more detailed information)
104 - Human Evolution

This course provides an in depth exploration of the evolutionary history of humans and hominins. The paper looks at human evolution from ca. 10 million years ago to 10,000 years ago. Contact hours: TBA

Maximum 20 candidates

Course booklet

105 - Human Ecology and Behaviour

This paper examines human and other primate behaviour in a broad comparative perspective. Non-human primate social communication across all sense modalities will be reviewed in the context of the social organization of the various primate species. The paper will also consider what primate and human communication have in common, and will discuss the evolution of human language. Contact hours: 32h

Maximum 20 candidates

Course booklet

106 - Neural Degeneration and Regeneration

Diseases and injuries of the human brain and spinal cord are tragically resistant to treatment. This lecture module investigates the cellular and molecular causes of these conditions, the reasons why regeneration does not take place, and the research now under way to permit regeneration therapies in the future. Contact hours: 24h

Maximum 15 candidates

107 - Philosophy & Ethics of Medicine

Do we have a human right to health? What is it to be healthy anyway, and can good health be measured? How can we know that smoking causes lung cancer, rather than that they are merely correlated? Is it ethical to experiment on humans to gain that knowledge? Is the foetus a person, and does this affect the morality of abortion? How should we decide between funding basic science and applied studies? Medical practice raises significant philosophical, ethical and political questions. This course studies these questions and shows how different answers may influence practice. Contact hours: 24h lectures + 4-6h supervisions

Maximum 50 candidates

108 - Health, Medicine and Society This paper provides students with a critical survey of principal themes and debates in contemporary medical sociology. It explores the major social causes of health and illness in modern societies, with special reference to such factors as social class, gender, ethnicity, and age; provides students with a sociological grasp of the issues and problems associated with chronic illness; investigates a variety of key topics in the sociology of mental health; and, finally, develops a sociological analysis of the major organisational, professional and technological components of medical practice in contemporary society. Contact hours: 20h
109 - The Family

Psychological and sociological perspectives on family relationships, kinship and child development are examined in relation to specific topics such as motherhood, fatherhood, adolescence, marriage and divorce, single-parent and step-families, lesbian and gay families, and families created by assisted reproduction. Contact hours: 32h

Maximum 10 candidates

111 - Central Mechanisms of Reward, Punishment and Emotion

How does the brain process reward and punishment and how does this help us understand emotions and their dysregulation? Themes discussed in this module include: the varied functions of reward, the pathological mechanisms underlying a loss of pleasure, the reward circuitry underlying social behaviour and social cognition, the mechanisms by which punishing stimuli impact on our motivations and emotions, the dysregulation of these circuits in psychiatric disorders, and the interplay between cognition and emotion. Contact hours: 24h

Maximum 15 candidates

113 - Early Medicine

This paper covers medical knowledge and practices in the medieval and early modern periods. Themes include tradition, innovation and the transmission of knowledge; the value of reason and experience; patient-practitioner relationships; gender and medicine; pluralism and the marketplace; understandings of the body and disease; medicine, magic and religion. Contact hours: 24h lectures + 4-6h supervisions

Maximum 12 candidates

114 - Modern Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

Born in hospitals, vaccinated, X-rayed, taking antibiotics, receiving transplants – medicine sets the parameters of our lives. Since a great deal of biology, chemistry and physics has been and continues to be done as part of medicine, it is also central to HPS. This paper is about how, and with what consequences, a new, scientific medicine was made for the modern world. The Michaelmas Term course surveys the creation since 1750 of new medical institutions, professionals and practices. The Lent Term course explores the 20th-century transformation of medicine into a major object of economic, political and ethical concern. Contact hours: 24h lectures + 4-6h supervisions

Maximum 12 candidates

119 - Plant and Microbial Genetics The course will provide an introduction to microbial pathogenesis; topics will include a description of approaches used to identify virulence factors, discussion of bacterial genome dynamics and classification of the virulence factors of pathogenic bacteria. We then move on to the genetics of higher plants, including conventional, molecular plant genetics. Contact hours: 26h
120 - Human Genetics, Genomics & Systems Biology Human genetics has always had to exploit technology to obtain answers to the problems it poses. The module explores how we can use information from the Human Genome Project, together with methods for analysing gene expression and function at the whole-genome scale (Systems Biology) to improve our understanding of human biology. Contact hours: 26h
121 - Evolutionary Genetics This module will consider the process of evolution, by looking at studies on genetic variation in populations, together with theoretical examinations of the way that genes behave in populations. Contact hours: 26h
122 - EnterpriseTECH

Students work in teams to prepare a commercial feasibility report and present the findings to the inventors. Supervision and support is provided which covers topics such as opportunity evaluation, developing business concepts and making presentations. Contact hours: 27h

If you wish to take the BBS EnterpriseTECH Minor subject, you must register online by 1st August on the EnterpriseTECH website and please make sure you select "EnterpriseTECH UG|Deadline: 23 Nov 2019" even though, as a BBS student, you need to apply by 1st August.

General information about EnterpriseTECH

Maximum 20 candidates

124 - Social Psychology

 

This course is changing for 2019/2020: it will include the following lecture topics: Advanced Topics in Personality and Individual Differences, Applying Behavioural Insights, Influence and Persuasion in the Digital Age, Translational Issues in Psychology.

Maximum 10 candidates

126 - Exploring Music Psychology (Part II paper 17)

What are the factors that affect our perception and production of music and how can these be studied? What is music’s role in health and therapy? These questions are at the heart of the wide-ranging field of music psychology and form the basis of this course. Contact hours: 16h.

Maximum 3 candidates - candidates must demonstrate some musical knowledge to be permitted to study this option

127 - Conservation Science This interdepartmental course, taught by the Departments of Zoology and Plant Sciences, aims to provide an understanding of why wild nature is currently in decline, why this matters, and how biology coupled with other disciplines can be harnessed to identify potential solutions. Contact hours: 27h
128 - Bioinformatics

The NST Part II BBS Bioinformatics will provide an introduction to the field of bioinformatics, focusing on bioinformatics applications related to the study of complex disease genetics and the recent advances made in this field since the introduction of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies. Contact hours: 32h

Bioinformatics flyer 2018-19

Maximum 46 candidates

129 - General Practice and Primary Care Research

The aim of this module is to provide students with knowledge, skills and practical experience to understand the importance and challenges of GP and Primary Care research and to offer a platform for developing further expertise in it during their clinical studies and beyond. Contact hours: 34.5h

Maximum 8 candidates - Selection criteria

Read about a past student's experience of the course

130 - Vertebrate Evolution

This course introduces the history and evolution of non-mammalian vertebrates, emphasising questions that are the subject of current debate and controversy. We integrate studies of fossil and living vertebrates to examine major events in evolution. An important component of the course is the demonstration practicals, which give "hands-on" experience of actual fossil material, including some type and figured specimens. Contact hours 48h

131 – Neuroethology

These lectures place a strong emphasis on understanding the neural mechanisms underlying behaviour. Within this module we explore how nervous systems are organised, how animals gather and process information about the environment, and how they generate the motor activity underlying their behaviour. Contact hours: 24h

132 - Evolution and Comparative Anatomy of Mammals

This course is similar in approach to the Michaelmas Term 'Topics in Vertebrate Evolution', but we make sure that it is possible to take 'Mammalian Evolution' without having done its Michaelmas Term relative.  The course aims to familiarise you with the comparative morphology and functional biology, modes of life, distribution, evolutionary relationships and systematics of living and fossil mammals and their antecedents. Throughout, we attempt a synthesis of group-based and topic-based treatments. Lectures are backed-up by demonstration practical classes, which reinforce and illustrate topics of central importance in the lectures. Contact hours: 40h

133 - Genetics, Development and Animal Diversity

This course lies at the interface of whole organism biology and molecular genetics.  We look at how genomes themselves evolve, and also at how genome can inform whole organism biology. Recent advances in sequencing technology mean that genomic approaches are no longer limited to a few model species, but instead can be applied in many organisms of evolutionary or ecological interest. Contact hours: 24h

134 – From Genome to Proteome

This BBS minor subject comprises Module B from the Part II Biochemistry course. This course examines all steps in eukaryotic gene expression, from chromatin accessibility through to translation and mRNA turnover. Particular emphasis is paid to: regulation of gene expression, the co-transcriptional nature of RNA processing, functional coupling between different steps in gene expression, the impact of global and “systems” level approaches to understanding gene expression.
The course consists of 24 hours of core lectures. Q+A sessions as offered by some lecturers in addition.  Specialized supervisions in small groups are available for any student who requests them. These are student organized with guidance for the Department of Biochemistry. Contact hours: 24h
Maximum 10 candidates – Selection criteria

135 – Cell Cycle, Signalling and Cancer

This BBS minor subject comprises Module D from the Part II Biochemistry course. The themes of this course draw on most modern biological techniques and impinge on core cell and molecular biology topics of cellular signalling, DNA replication, DNA repair, cell cycle and apoptosis amongst others. There is a particular emphasis on cancer biology and therapeutic intervention with lectures on oncogenes and tumour suppressors, experimental systems, tumour metabolism and imaging, virology and therapeutic strategies.
The course consists of 24 hours of core lectures. Q+A sessions as offered by some lecturers in addition.  Specialized supervisions in small groups are available for any student who requests them. These are student organized with guidance for the Department of Biochemistry. Contact hours: 24h
Maximum 10 candidates – Selection criteria

136 - Science Communication

New for 2019-20

Science and its related disciplines have a wide-ranging and profound impact upon the lives of individuals, society and nature. Science Communication is a rapidly expanding profession, and the skills it involves are increasingly valued among researchers and employers. Scientists therefore have a responsibility to communicate their work in an ethical, effective and engaging manner within the wider community. This course provides an insight into science communication for those students who are seeking an option that will support their professional ambitions, whether those lie in science or in the science-related areas of business, policy, environment and healthcare, among many others. Contact hours: 24h
Maximum 20 candidates - Selection criteria

137 - Surgical and Radiological Anatomy

New for 2019-20

This course introduces students to areas of anatomy that are especially relevant to surgical and radiological procedures. The need for a good working knowledge of anatomy in surgical and radiological practice is of course paramount in clinical safety. Applicants for Core Surgical Training and Specialty Radiology Training may improve their scores in the “Experience in and commitment to specialty” component by having chosen to take a relevant module such as this course. Students also choose one practical activity from the following options: attendance at operating theatre sessions; diagnostic and/or interventional radiology session; or preparation of an anatomical prosection. Assessment includes a 1-hour Short Answer Questions paper, a short written report and oral presentation on the practical session. Lecturers are current consultant radiologists and surgeons. Contact hours: 24h
Maximum 10 candidates - Selection criteria

Course booklet

138 - Developmental Neurobiology

New for 2019-20

This module addresses how the nervous system is assembled during embryonic development. Although we now understand a considerable amount about the processes involved, many fascinating questions remain. This module will explore: the formation of the vertebrate neural tube; how this is patterned to generate distinct neuronal and glial cell fates in different regions; the formation of the peripheral nervous system from the migratory neural crest and cranial neurogenic placodes; the process of axon guidance; how axons make and refine the synapses that will generate functional neural circuits; how circuit designs lead to function; and the nervous system evolution (‘evo-devo’). Contact hours: 24h
Maximum 5 candidates

139 - Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience

New for 2019-20

While many approaches can be applied to analyses of nervous systems, it is obviously important for any mechanistic understanding to determine the cellular and synaptic properties underlying sensory, motor, and cognitive functions. This module provides a basis from which you can investigate various aspects of cellular and synaptic function. The lectures will cover voltage-dependent ion channels, oligodendrocytes and glial cells, ionotropic transmitter receptors including NMDA and AMPA-type glutamate receptors, Cys-loop receptors (e.g. nicotinic acetylcholine), G protein-coupled receptors, the influence of pH on neuronal function, the role of calcium in synaptic transmission and plasticity, and mechanisms of transmitter release and activity-dependent and neuromodulator-evoked plasticity. Contact hours: 24h
Maximum 5 candidates

140 - Sensory Transduction

New for 2019-20

The process of transduction within individual sensory receptors has consequences for, and imposes limits on, the perception of sensory events. Considerable advances have been made in recent years in elucidating the means by which primary sensory stimuli are transduced and processed. The module will explore: the molecular mechanisms which enable vertebrate photoreceptors to respond with incredible sensitivity to individual photons of light; invertebrate phototransduction; the transduction and coding in olfactory receptors and the chemosensory signals in the olfactory bulb; mechanotransduction; and the molecular and cellular mechanisms responsible for the transduction of pain. Contact hours: 24h + optional neuroscience workshops
Maximum 5 candidates

141 - Cellular Physiology

New for 2019-20

Cells detect and respond to changes in their external environment through a cornucopia of signalling pathways. Many of the pathways involve complex biochemical reactions, but some are more amenable to study by the physiologist – in particular membrane potential, calcium and pH. Thus, in this module we look at cellular signalling from a Physiological viewpoint rather than 'stamp collecting' all of the signalling pathways. The three main signalling mechanisms we have selected here are used by both excitable and in-excitable cells to transmit information from the cell surface to effector systems: the basic ionic regulation mechanisms that allow signalling to exist; the ion channels that allow calcium into cells; intracellular calcium signalling. The calcium signals also result in pH microdomains, which are also potential signals. We consider how ligands can result in potential changes and how these potential changes can be modified by signalling pathways. We end the series of lectures by bringing together membrane potential changes and calcium signalling with lectures on skeletal muscle and meta plasticity. Contact hours: 24h
Maximum 5 candidates

142 - Development and Stem Cells

New for 2019-20

The transformation of a fertilised egg into an embryo encompasses a series of fundamental cellular events that culminate in the divergence of the embryonic and extra-embryonic cell lineages. During this process the initial totipotent egg generates cells that, progressively become restricted to different fates. The first differentiation event is a separation between extra-embryonic trophectoderm and the pluripotent embryonic inner cell mass, and the second, within the inner cell mass, between the embryonic epiblast and the extra-embryonic primitive endoderm. In this module we will explore how these cell fate decisions are taken and what transcriptional networks and epigenetic modifications reinforce them. We will also consider subsequent functions of the extra-embryonic lineages, and how interactions between the trophectoderm and the maternal tissues lead to implantation and establishment of a successful pregnancy. Contact hours: 24h
Maximum 5 candidates

143 - Systems and Clinical Physiology

New for 2019-20

Systems physiology is central to the practice of scientific medicine. The idea behind this module is to give you a more detailed view of some aspects of systems physiology and to include some clinically oriented material that is of particular importance to the practising doctor. Cardiovascular topics include cardiac arrhythmias, the genetics and energetics of heart failure and a look at the pulmonary circulation from a clinical viewpoint. Renal physiology includes autoregulation, osmoregulation and acute and chronic renal failure. Several areas of endocrine physiology are explored in the form of pancreatic islet and gut hormones, brain control of food intake, the ever increasing problem of diabetes mellitus and the physiology and pathophysiology of bone. Contact hours: 24h
Maximum 5 candidates

144 - Plant Signalling Networks in Growth and Development

New for 2019-20

In this lecture course you will learn about the components of signalling systems involved in physiological and developmental responses to the environment and how these components are organised into elegant networks.

The lecture material will introduce you to the elements that make up signalling networks and also place these elements in context.
Maximum 3 candidates

145 - Microbes: Evolution, Genomes and Lifestyle

New for 2019-20

This course explores microorganisms with relevance to understanding plant biology including the major groups of microbes, the environmental and evolutionary transition of microbes to endosymbiotic organelles, as well as beneficial and detrimental interactions between plants and microbes.
Maximum 3 candidates

146 - Evolution and Ecosystems Dynamics

New for 2019-20

The phylogenetic progression of land plants allows us to relate palaeohistorical origins, from algae to bryophytes and lycopods, to their evolutionary progression through ferns and conifers to angiosperms. The module will examine the molecular basis to morphological advances, as compared to the physiological progression. The diversity engendered within, and beneath forest canopies, and the historical ecology of today’s landscape, complete our review of vegetation history and dynamics.
Maximum 3 candidates

147 - Plant Genomes and Synthetic Biology

New for 2019-20

Dobzhansky said in 1973 that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”. In 2015 he might have gone on to point out that “genomes reflect evolution and so we can make sense of biology by studying genomes”. He would be able to make this point because, from next generation sequencing and other powerful new methods, we now appreciate that nuclear genomes are much more than a linear array of coding sequence genes. They are a complex array of structural and regulatory components interspersed with genes for both coding and non coding RNAs.
Maximum 3 candidates

148 - Responses to Global Change

New for 2019-20

Temperatures are rising, land cover is changing, and people are moving pests and pathogens around the world at unprecedented rates – in short, we have never seen such changes in the history of humans.
Understanding what is happening, and why, will allow us to respond to these changes, potentially making a huge difference to what survives and how we humans live. This course explores changes in animals, plants, and their physical environment, and then shows how modelling approaches can help to predict the future.
Maximum 3 candidates

149 - Exploiting Plant Metabolism

New for 2019-20

Understanding plant metabolism informs our production of food, fuel and many high‐value products. Modifying these metabolic pathways therefore provides the opportunity to contribute to more productive and sustainable societies. However, the complexity of metabolic systems leads to major intellectual challenges, both in terms of understanding but also in manipulating each system.
Maximum 3 candidates

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Minor Subjects Contact Details

PaperDepartmentCourse/Module organiserTeaching administratorContact email
104 - Human Evolution HSPS Prof Robert Foley James Walpole undergraduate-secretary@bioanth.cam.ac.uk
105 - Human Ecology and Behaviour HSPS Prof Robert Foley James Walpole undergraduate-secretary@bioanth.cam.ac.uk
106 - Neural Degeneration and Regeneration PDN Dr Stewart Sage (Michaelmas term only) Linda Silvestri part2-admin@pdn.cam.ac.uk
107 - Philosophy & Ethics of Medicine HPS Dr Stephen John Tamara Hug
David Thompson
hps-admin@lists.cam.ac.uk
108 - Health, Medicine and Society HSPS Dr Darin Weinberg Odette Rogers ohmr3@cam.ac.uk
109 - The Family Psychology Dr Susan Imrie Josephine Simmonds teaching@psychol.cam.ac.uk
111 - Central Mechanisms of Reward, Punishment and Emotion PDN Dr Stewart Sage (Michaelmas term only) Linda Silvestri part2-admin@pdn.cam.ac.uk
113 - Early Medicine HPS

Dr Daniel Margocsy

Dr Emma Spary

Tamara Hug
David Thompson
hps-admin@lists.cam.ac.uk
114 - Modern Medicine & Biomedical Sciences HPS Prof Nick Hopwood Tamara Hug
David Thompson
hps-admin@lists.cam.ac.uk
119 - Plant and Microbial Genetics Genetics

Dr Christine Farr

Billy Curtis partII.info@gen.cam.ac.uk
120 - Human Genetics, Genomics & Systems Biology Genetics

Dr Christine Farr

Billy Curtis partII.info@gen.cam.ac.uk
121 - Evolutionary Genetics Genetics

Dr Christine Farr

Billy Curtis partII.info@gen.cam.ac.uk
122 - EnterpriseTECH CJBS Entrepreneurship Centre Dr Rebecca Myers Hannah Tranter enterprisetech@jbs.cam.ac.uk
124 - Social Psychology Psychology Dr Lee de-Wit Josephine Simmonds teaching@psychol.cam.ac.uk

126 - Exploring Music Psychology

Music Dr Neta Spiro Dr Ian Cross ic108cam.ac.uk
127 - Conservation Science Zoology

Prof Andrew Balmford

George Rutherford teaching@zoo.cam.ac.uk
128 - Bioinformatics Bioinformatics Dr Gabriella Rustici Cathy Hemmings cgh32@cam.ac.uk
129 - General Practice and Primary Care Research Primary Care Unit Dr Yasar Khan Mark Jenkins mj515@medschl.cam.ac.uk
130 - Vertebrate Evolution Zoology

Prof Andrew Balmford

George Rutherford teaching@zoo.cam.ac.uk
131 – Neuroethology Zoology

Prof Andrew Balmford

George Rutherford teaching@zoo.cam.ac.uk
132 - Evolution and Comparative Anatomy of Mammals Zoology

Prof Andrew Balmford

George Rutherford teaching@zoo.cam.ac.uk
133 - Genetics, Development and Animal Diversity Zoology

Prof Andrew Balmford

George Rutherford teaching@zoo.cam.ac.uk
134 – From Genome to Proteome Biochemistry

Dr Darerca Owen

Christine Thulborn examtchg@bioc.cam.ac.uk
135 – Cell Cycle, Signalling and Cancer Biochemistry

Dr Darerca Owen

Christine Thulborn examtchg@bioc.cam.ac.uk
136 - Science Communication Institute of Continuing Education

Dr Tom Monie

Lizzie Burgess lizzie.burgess@ice.cam.ac.uk
137 - Surgical and Radiological Anatomy PDN

Dr Cecilia Brassett

Dr Helen Taylor

Claire Williams pdn-hdrcoordinator@lists.cam.ac.uk
138 - Developmental Neurobiology PDN

Dr Stewart Sage (Michaelmas term only)

Linda Silvestri pdn-part2-admin@lists.cam.ac.uk
139 - Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience PDN

Dr Stewart Sage (Michaelmas term only)

Linda Silvestri pdn-part2-admin@lists.cam.ac.uk
140 - Sensory Transduction PDN

Dr Stewart Sage (Michaelmas term only)

Linda Silvestri pdn-part2-admin@lists.cam.ac.uk
141 - Cellular Physiology PDN

Dr Stewart Sage (Michaelmas term only)

Linda Silvestri pdn-part2-admin@lists.cam.ac.uk
142 - Development and Stem Cells PDN

Dr Stewart Sage (Michaelmas term only)

Linda Silvestri pdn-part2-admin@lists.cam.ac.uk
143 - Systems and Clinical Physiology PDN Dr Stewart Sage (Michaelmas term only) Linda Silvestri pdn-part2-admin@lists.cam.ac.uk
144 - Plant Signalling Networks in Growth and Development Plant Sciences Dr Uta Paszkowski Rhyanna Halasovski rlh68@cam.ac.uk
145 - Microbes: Evolution, Genomes and Lifestyle Plant Sciences Dr Uta Paszkowski Rhyanna Halasovski rlh68@cam.ac.uk
146 - Evolution and Ecosystems Dynamics Plant Sciences Dr Uta Paszkowski Rhyanna Halasovski rlh68@cam.ac.uk
147 - Plant Genomes and Synthetic Biology Plant Sciences Dr Uta Paszkowski Rhyanna Halasovski rlh68@cam.ac.uk
148 - Responses to Global Change Plant Sciences Dr Uta Paszkowski Rhyanna Halasovski rlh68@cam.ac.uk
149 - Exploiting Plant Metabolism Plant Sciences Dr Uta Paszkowski Rhyanna Halasovski rlh68@cam.ac.uk

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