module specification

BM7111 - Introduction to Cell Biology (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Introduction to Cell Biology
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 10
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 100
0 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
100 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 20%   Online Quizzes
Coursework 30%   Reflective Learning Log - PLL (1000 words)
Coursework 50%   Written Assignment - ECA (1000 words)
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year LMET Distance Learning Not applicable -

Module summary

This module aims to expose students to some of the key questions of cell biology concerning the structure of cells and intracellular activities.

Prior learning requirements



Cell theory. Range of cell types: prokaryotes; eukaryotic cell specialisation. Overview of differentiated cells in multicellular organisms; cell staining for life and death.
Plasma membrane structure and functions; movement of molecules/ions across cell membranes; membrane junctions; signal transduction-hormonal/neural.
Maintenance and change of cell shape; cell movements. Microtubules in e.g. nerve, cilia, spindle. Muscle microfilaments and contraction.
The nucleus. Chromatin; chromosome structure and organisation. Mitosis and the cell cycle. Meiosis. Consequences of abnormal cell cycles. Chromosomal aberrations.
Intracellular compartments; ribosomes, endoplasmic reticulum (ER), Golgi and lysosomes. Overview of protein synthesis and processing. Roles of smooth ER and lysosomes. Energy transduction. Chloroplasts and mitochondria. Overview of energy metabolism and electron transport.
Cellular communication and signalling, Receptors, Transduction, Response.
Overview of Local and long–distance cell communication in animals.
Cell interaction in the immune response. Cytokines. Overview of Immunity and the immune system. Principles of molecular cell biology: DNA synthesis and replication; regulation of gene expression and protein synthesis.

Learning Outcomes LO 1 - 3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Information pertaining to the subject matter will be presented through an integrated programme of lectures and supporting exercises, together with some use of a problem-based learning approach and the guided use of student-centred learning resources.  Lectures will be used to provide a conceptual framework.  Student centred assignments will enable students to reinforce and expand their knowledge, and develop subject specific skills and competence.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Display an understanding of basic cell structures and an awareness of different cell types and relate the structure and activities of cell components to their functions and to cellular activities as a whole, and have an appreciation of how cell fractionation is used to isolate these components
2. Describe the different ways in which cells can divide and explain how cells obtain energy, and how they use energy for driving reactions within the cell
3. Understand a range of appropriate and relevant experimental techniques and how they are used and research, evaluate, and discuss key issues within the subject area and communicate the results in a cogent and balanced manner.


Alberts B, (2013) Essential Cell Biology. Garland.
Alberts A (2014) Molecular Biology of the Cell. Garland
Hardin J. (2012) Becker’s World of the Cell.  Benjamin Cummings.
Reece JB, Urry LA, (2011) Campbell Biology 9th Ed. Pearson.
Reed R, Weyers J. (2016) Practical Skills in Biology. Prentice Hall.