module specification

BS4005 - Cell Biology (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18, but may be subject to modification
Module title Cell Biology
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 15
School Faculty of Life Sciences and Computing
Total study hours 150
118 hours Guided independent study
32 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Seen Coursework - Essay 1500 words
Unseen Examination 50%   Sessional Exam 1 hr
Attendance Requirement 0%   Practical Attendance
Running in 2017/18 No instances running in the year

Module summary

This is a module which provides students with an understanding of basic cell structures and an awareness of different cell types and relates the structure and activities of cell components to their functions and to cellular activities as a whole.

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

The aims of this module are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s, Framework for Higher Education Qualification. This module aims to expose students to some of the key questions of cell biology concerning cell structure and intracellular activities; provide students with practical experience in a range of laboratory-based biological techniques; enhance students' ability to manage themselves and to develop organisational, critical and analytical skills which are applicable to the workplace.  This module aims to provide students with the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of some personal responsibility.


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.
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.

Learning and teaching

Learning will be delivered by lectures, tutorials and practicals and through weblearn-assisted formative sessions

Students will be provided with the opportunity to acquire knowledge of the subject matter through teacher led activities in the form of lectures and problem-solving tutorial sessions and laboratory-based practical exercises. Writing skills will be enhanced through the production of a seen essay on a topical issue. The ability to undertake scientific and ethical appraisal of data will be encouraged through directed reading and tutorial discussions. Students will be expected to reflect upon taught material in order to demonstrate their understanding of molecular cell biology, a process assisted by use of the extensive module website

Lectures will utilize a variety of sources using powerpoint presentations to link content such as animations, video documentary and lecturer led demonstrations involving students.

Tutorials will consolidate the foundation learnt in lectures but will seek to link the content to the impact of modern molecular biology cell biology on medicine and agriculture in a social and cultural context in the modern day environment.

Practicals  will allow students to perform a range of experiments safely, critically analyse their results and present these in an appropriate manner.  These sessions will give students oppurtunity to develop and refine their critical, analytical and writing skills. Practicals will be both summative and formative.  The initial formative sessions will allow students to reflect on their practical skills and their ability to critically analyse experimental results and present these in an appropriate manner.

Weblearn-assisted sessions will seek to link the module content to the impact of modern molecular biology cell biology on medicine and agriculture in a social and cultural context in the modern day environment but in a wider context than covered in the lectures in an aim to encourage self-directed learning.

Learning outcomes

On  successful completion of this model student will be able to:

1. 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. Enable students to understand the concept of cell theory.
3. Discuss how energy is generated and utilized within a cell.
4. Describe the different ways in which cells can divide
5. Critically analyse a range of experiments performed, safely using current techniques, in a modern laboratory, presenting the results in an appropriate manner .
6. Enhance students' interpersonal skills, including scientific writting.

Assessment strategy

To pass the module students need to achieve a minimum aggregate of 40%
The module will be assessed by means of a coursework component (50% of the overall mark) and time-constrained, unseen examination  consisting of short answer questions (50% of the overall mark).
To pass the module students need to achieve a minimum aggregate of 40%
Component                              Learning outcomes
Coursework                                      3, 6
Sessional exam                                 1, 2, 3, 4, 5


Alberts, B., Bray, D., Hopkin, K., Johnson, A., Lewis, J., Raff, M., Roberts, K., Walter, P. (2009). Essential Cell Biology (3rd edition). Garland.

Hardin, J., Bertoni, G., Kleinsmith, L. (2012). Becker’s  World of the Cell. Pearson.

Campbell N. and Reece, J. (2011). Biology (9th edition). Pearson.

Jones A., Reed R., and Weyers, J. (2007). Practical Skills in Biology. 4th edition Prentice Hall.

Web sites:
This site is a gateway to a number of useful institutional and information links. Altruis Biomedical Network Encyclopedia of Life Sciences