module specification

BC4060 - Laboratory Skills and Techniques (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Laboratory Skills and Techniques
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 150
114 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Practical portfolio (1000 words)
Coursework 50%   Practical report (1000 words)
Attendance Requirement 0%   Practical attendance
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Thursday Morning

Module summary

This module aims to provide students with a solid basis in aspects of chemistry appropriate to underpin their undergraduate biosciences course. Its aims are aligned with the qualification and descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s Framework for Higher Education Qualification. The module provides an introduction to core aspects of chemistry – atoms, periodic table, molecules, bonding and functional groups, organic molecular structure and the naming and drawing chemical structures, concept of moles and reaction processes.

This module will also introduce students to safe contemporary and good laboratory practice in the laboratory environment, practical bioscience techniques, simple chemical techniques and the discipline of accurate laboratory record keeping. The module also aims to develop basic laboratory practice: personal safety (as expedited by COSHH and Risk Assessments), awareness of others and where appropriate to consider ethical issues that can have an impact on the execution of a given experiment. The development of study skills will include writing laboratory records, scientific reports and essays. The analysis of data will also be a core component of the module. It develops competence in laboratory skills through practical work, and in scientific writing.


Fundamental chemical principles relevant to the biosciences will be covered, the shapes of simple organic biological molecules, and the application of these principles to describe more complex biologically relevant organic molecules. Naming and drawing chemical formulae and molecular structure of biological molecules (1)
Introduction to experimental work includes: moles; units and conversion between units; laboratory safety and practice; handling chemical and biological materials; coarse and accurate balances; centrifugation; spectrophotometer; pipetting using automatic pipettes; data collection and recording; graphical presentations of data; time management. Report writing and analysis of laboratory safety skills. (1-3)
Laboratory safety and practice. Qualitative analysis and experiment design. An introduction to laboratory techniques and the use of laboratory equipment for experimental work in biology and chemistry.  (1-3)

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Lectures, tutorials and lab classes will provide a conceptual framework and opportunity for acquisition, discussion and the practice of skills. The use of student-centred learning resources will be integrated into individual and teamwork exercises in the development of understanding, skills and competencies.
Students will be expected to reflect upon taught material in order to demonstrate their understanding of the aspects of practical biosciences covered in this module.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Understand the fundamental principles of the periodic table, atoms and molecules, simple chemical bonding, the main organic functional groups and inorganic ions relevant to the biological world, the shapes of simple organic molecules, and the application of these principles to more complex biomolecules.
2. Undertake practical work utilising a variety of scientific equipment and work in a laboratory environment;
3.  Collect, record and analyse scientific data from an experiment in an appropriate scientific style

Assessment strategy

The module will be summatively assessed by means of a practical portfolio and a practical write-up. The practical portfolio will also provide formative feedback for the students for completion of other practical reports.
To pass the module, students need to achieve a minimum aggregate mark of 40%. 
There will be an attendance requirement for the practical sessions.
If the module is passed on reassessment, then the maximum mark awarded will be 40%.