module specification

PR3007 - Biochemistry (2021/22)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2021/22
Module title Biochemistry
Module level Foundation (03)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 300
243 hours Guided independent study
51 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
6 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
In-Course Test 15%   30 minute unseen in-class progress test 1
In-Course Test 15%   30 minute unseen in-class progress test 2
In-Course Test 15%   30 minute unseen in-class progress test 3
In-Course Test 15%   30 minute unseen in-class progress test 4
In-Course Test 15%   30 minute unseen in-class progress test 5
Oral Examination 25%   15 minute presentation
Running in 2021/22 No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module introduces students to key biochemical concepts to provide a foundation for subsequent study in the Applied Biology, Biomedical Sciences, and Molecular & Pharmaceutical Science subject areas at Level 4.

The aim of this module is to give students the necessary background to appreciate the structure and function of the key molecules that cells are made of such as proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and carbohydrates.  An introduction to the principles of cellular energetics and metabolism will be given, and the maintenance of biological pH buffering systems will be discussed. This will provide suitable grounding for the study of life science subjects at level 4


An introductory study of the structure, properties and distribution of biomolecules: proteins: amino acids; peptide bond; levels of protein structure.  Enzyme function.  Carbohydrates: monosaccharides, sugar derivatives; glycosidic bond; oligo- and polysaccharides.  Lipids: classification of lipids, simple and complex, fatty acids and glycerides.  An introduction to metabolic pathways and the production and utilisation of energy; catabolism and anabolism;  biological pH buffering systems.  LO 1-5

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Acquisition of knowledge of the subject matter of this module will be promoted through lectures (34 hours), tutorials (17 hours), Self managed time and private study (249 hours). Lectures are used to introduce the basic concepts required to achieve the learning outcomes.  Tutorial sessions  are either problem-directed or discussion-based, designed to work through, and expand on, material delivered in lectures. Students will be expected to prepare for tutorial sessions by reviewing appropriate material and devoting sometime to problem-solving exercises.

The module is supported by a website on WebLearn which includes a number of electronic learning aids. Students would be expected to use the site for assisted study.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module the students will be able to:

1. Explain the organic chemistry of biological molecules.
2. Differentiate between the basic 'building blocks' of life; proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates and lipids.
3. Describe the principles of cellular energetics and the role of enzymes in metabolism.
4. Explain the chemistry underlying biological pH buffering systems.
5. Research a topic relevant to the module and present findings to peers.

Assessment strategy

This module will be summatively assessed using 5 progress tests and a presentation.  There will also be formative assessments for the students to complete on-line.
To pass the module students need to achieve a minimum aggregate mark of 40%.

Component Learning outcomes
Progress test 1 1, 2, 3, 4
Progress test 2 1, 2, 3, 4
Progress test 3 1, 2, 3, 4
Progress test 4 1, 2, 3, 4
Progress test 5 1, 2, 3, 4
Presentation 5

Feedback will be provided as part of online formative and summative tests, and on completion of the presentation.  Material will be returned within 3 weeks of submission; in the event of marking taking 2-3 weeks, generic feedback will be given in the meantime.


• Engel, P (2009) Pain-Free Biochemistry: An Essential Guide for the Health Sciences, Wiley. [Core]
• Sadava, D. & Hillis, D. (2016). Life: The Science of Biology (11e). WH Freeman.
• Karp, G (2013) Cell Biology (7e).  Wiley 

Plus on-line material; see the WebLearn site for details.