Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: B-MEPSB
Evolutionary Perspectives on Sexual Behaviour
Course info
Course codeB-MEPSB
ECTS Credits6
Category / LevelM (Master)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byFaculty of Science; Graduate School of Life Sciences; Graduate School of Life Sciences;
Contact persondr. A.M. Schel
dr. M.J.H.M. Duchateau
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dr. A.M. Schel
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Contactperson for the course
dr. A.M. Schel
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prof. dr. E.H.M. Sterck
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Teaching period
1-GS  (01/09/2020 to 06/11/2020)
Teaching period in which the course begins
Time slot-: Timeslot not applicable
Study mode
Enrolment periodfrom 02/06/2020 up to and including 28/06/2020
Course application processOsiris
Enrolling through OSIRISYes
Enrolment open to students taking subsidiary coursesNo
Post-registration openfrom 17/08/2020 up to and including 14/09/2020
Waiting listYes
Course placement processdocent
Course goals
After completion of the course, students should have a profound understanding of:
1. Obtaining insight in the function of sexual behavior in animals and humans from an evolutionary perspective
2. Comparing and integrating primary literature
3. Writing a scientific essay in English
4. Critically evaluate written text
5. Editing written text
6. Formulating questions and discussing subjects
7. Giving presentation in English
8. Contributing to scientific discussions
In this course all aspects of sexual behaviour will be presented on the basis of the book "The Red Queen, Sex &The Evolution of Human Nature" of Matt Ridley, 1993, key papers and recent articles. Although the title of the book suggests differently, the major part of the book deals with animal behaviour. Human behaviour is also treated from a biological point of view.
In the book, the different aspects of animal sexual behaviour are discussed following five main questions. These questions will be discussed amongst students in a book discussion meeting. The questions are:
1. Why sex, while sex is expensive?
2. Why gender?
3. Who chooses whom?
4. Monogamy or polygamy?
5. Sexing the mind?
Within each of these main questions several essay subjects are distinguished, one of which will be handed to you as part of an essay writing exercise. The goal of this exercise is that you learn how to set up, write, and critically evaluate a scientific topic in English. We provide reference to a key paper for each essay subject, and we expect an additional in-depth literature review from you.
After writing your own essay, you will critically assess the essays of two fellow students. This task is designed to make you familiar with different writing styles and approaches in how to write an essay, and to look at written text critically.
Having received the comments of your fellow students, you will then edit your own essay again, by incorporating the comments of your fellow students into your essay. The goal of this exercise is that you will learn how to separate useful from non-useful comments and to re-write your own text to improve it relative to the previous version.
In the final exercise of this course, you will present your essay in English in a 10 minute powerpoint presentation. The goal of this exercise is that you will learn how to extract the essential elements from your written text and to effectively convey its message to a broad audience.

Send an e-mail to the course coordinator ( The mail should contain 1) your name; 2) student number; 3) e-mail address; 4) telephone number; 5) current Master track. Please note: the number of participants is limited to 20. Only the first registrations can be accepted.

Mandatory for students in Master’s programme: NO. 

Optional for students in other Master’s programmes GS-LS: Neuroscience and Cognition, especially the tracks Cognitive Neuroscience and Behavioural Neuroscience; Environmental Biology, especially the specialization programme Behavioural Ecology; and any other master programme with relevant basal courses. 
Entry requirements
You must meet the following requirements
  • Enrolled for a degree programme of faculty Faculty of Science
  • Assigned study entrance permit for the master
Required materials
The Red Queen, Sex & The Evolution of Human Nature (1993), Matt Ridley
Recommended materials
Instructional formats


Final result
Test weight100
Minimum grade-

Kies de Nederlandse taal