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Introduction to Biological Science

Module titleIntroduction to Biological Science
Module codeINT0016
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Julia De Ste Croix (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

The Foundation Biology module provides a basic introduction to biological concepts to underpin a first year of undergraduate study in biological and related sciences.  Topics covered are: cell structure and function, membranes and transport, biological molecules including nucleic acids and enzymes, cell division and simple genetics, respiration and photosynthesis as examples of biochemical pathways, energy transfer through populations, classification, evolution, and introduction to growth and development. Laboratory work is covered through online and teacher-led delivery to enhance the teaching of these essential skills.

Although recent study of Biology is desirable, students who have not studied the subject past GCSE equivalent are able to progress with this course.

Module aims - intentions of the module

1. To provide a foundation in biological science which gives the underpinning knowledge needed to progress to the first year of an undergraduate programme in a biological or related science.
2. To provide a course that will give students an awareness of the practical skills they will need to participate in laboratory work in the first year at undergraduate level.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate an understanding of basic biology concepts as covered in the syllabus content.
  • 2. Collate data, draw graphs and interpret results associated with metabolic activities described within the syllabus content.
  • 3. Understand the need to follow written methods exactly during practical work so that reproducible results can be achieved
  • 4. Be able to process data achieved by practical means, either data that has been obtained by the student themselves or by observing a demonstration. Be able to draw logical conclusions and appreciate the accuracy and limitations of the methods used

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key aspects of basic biology at cellular, organism and ecosystem level.
  • 6. Describe and begin to evaluate aspects of knowledge in the biological sciences with reference to data sources outside of lectures
  • 7. Evaluate established methods used in practical demonstrations and develop a respect for Health & Safety within a working laboratory

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Guidance towards taking responsibility for your own learning and work independently;
  • 9. Work cooperatively in groups through online and/or face to face activity
  • 10. Development of effective communication skill in the written or spoken form

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

  • Cellular structure and function – eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, aggregation of cells
  • Membranes – structure and methods of transport across
  • Biological techniques – microscopy, cell disruption and centrifugation, chromatography and electrophoresis, enzyme immobilisation
  • Biomolecules – Water, carbohydrates, proteins and lipids; DNA and RNA
  • Protein synthesis, genetic engineering, DNA profiling
  • Cell cycle – mitosis and meiosis
  • Genetics – monohybrid and dihybrid inheritance
  • Enzymes – properties and behaviour
  • Biochemical pathways – introduction to respiration and photosynthesis
  • Energy transfer through populations – food chains, webs and ecological pyramids, biogeochemical cycles
  • Classification and evolution
  • Growth and development – introduction to control of growth and development

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activities40Lectures (including solving tutorial problems)
E-Learning Activities20Focusing on biological techniques, (practical and research based skills) through use of online materials, including demonstrations through video
Guided independent study140Preparing for lectures and tutorials. Problem solving and reading around topics. Completion of coursework elements (practical skills portfolio)


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Understanding good laboratory practice and basic skills used in biological science – through preparing/processing material for class discussion4 x 3 hours1-4, 7-9Verbal feedback as class discussion/tutorial
Coursework - exam style questionsVaries with topic1, 4-6, 8, 10Written or verbal – from peer or lecturer

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Practical skills awareness portfolio - Analysis and discussion of practical elements of biological science.30Two pieces of work (word limit to be defined at setting of assignment), each contributing 15%1-4, 7-9Written feedback on formal submission
Coursework204 online MCQ tests over the 2 semesters1, 4-6, 8, 10Immediate feedback on close of assessment
Final Examination (online)502.5 hours; end of semester 21, 4-6, 10Formal grade only.


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Final examination (online)Examination (online), 2.5 hours (deferral), 3.5 hours (referral1, 4-6, 10 (deferral); 1-10 (referral)As soon as possible, before APAC
Laboratory reportsPractical skills portfolio1-4, 7-9As soon as possible, before APAC
CourseworkCoursework1, 4-6, 8, 10As soon as possible, before APAC

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for reasons judged legitimate by the Mitigation Committee, the applicable assessment will normally be deferred. See ‘Details of reassessment’ for the form that assessment usually takes. When deferral occurs there is ordinarily no change to the overall weighting of that assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to take a re-sit exam. Only your performance in this exam will count towards your final module grade. A grade of 40% will be awarded if the examination is passed.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Williams, G.(2015). Advanced Biology for You. Cheltenham: OUP

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources



Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Biology; cells, proteins; enzymes

Credit value20
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date

September 2007

Last revision date