module specification

PR3007 - Biochemistry (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Biochemistry
Module level Foundation (03)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 300
235 hours Guided independent study
65 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
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
Attendance Requirement 0%   Attendance - 80% Tutorial attendance required
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Wednesday Morning
Year (Spring and Summer) North Tuesday Morning

Module summary

Assessment: Coursework  1(a series of in-class tests) 75% +  Coursework 2 (a presentation) 25% [Pass on aggregate]

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.

Module aims

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: monosacchrides, 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 will be discussed.  An introduction to biological buffering systems will be covered.

Learning and teaching

Acquisition of knowledge of the subject matter of this module will be promoted through lectures (43 hours), tutorials (22 hours), Self managed time and private study (235 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. Clarify the chemistry required to comprehend biological pH buffering systems.
5. Distinguish biological homeostatic conditions and biological buffering systems.
6. 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, 5
Progress test 2 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Progress test 3 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Progress test 4 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Progress test 5 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Presentation 6

If a student’s attendance at tutorials falls below 80% on a module, this will result in the student failing the module.  Reassessment opportunities will not be available and instead the module will have to be retaken the following year with attendance and payment of fees. Mitigating circumstances cannot be claimed for missed classes; however Module Leaders will take account of absences that are a consequence of recorded disability or otherwise recorded as 'Authorised Absence' when applying the 80% threshold.


• Karp, G (2010) Cell Biology, Wiley 
• Engel, P (2009) Pain-Free Biochemistry: An Essential Guide for the Health Sciences, Wiley

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