module specification

BE4055 - Fundamentals of Molecular Biology (for Life Sciences) (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Fundamentals of Molecular Biology (for Life Sciences)
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 150
111 hours Guided independent study
39 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Practical portfolio (1500 words)
In-Course Test 50%   Online Exam (1 hour)
Attendance Requirement 0%   Practical Attendance
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Monday Afternoon

Module summary

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 provide an overview of the organisation, expression, and replication of genetic information in prokaryotes and eukaryotes together with principles of Mendelian inheritance; examine the consequences of mutation on gene expression together with an introduction to techniques of gene analysis and manipulation.  This module aims to provide students with the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of some personal responsibility.

Prior learning requirements

Available for Study Abroad? YES


Introduction to genomes and Mendelian genetics. Structure function of DNA/RNA, DNA replication, Transcription, Translation, and mutations. Introduction to genetic technology, and to the use of DNA technology in forensics. (1-4)

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

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. 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 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 opportunity to develop and refine their critical, analytical and writing skills. Practicals will be assessed both summatively and formatively.  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. Show an understanding of the transfer of information from DNA to RNA to Protein and demonstrate an    awareness of the consequence of a change of DNA sequence.
2. Demonstrate an understanding of gene manipulation and recognise its significance in medicine, agriculture and industry.
3. Analyse a range of experiments performed, safely using current techniques, in a modern molecular biology laboratory, presenting the results in an appropriate manner.
4. Describe the different ways in which cells can divide and demonstrate an awareness of how genetic information is passed between generations.

Assessment strategy

The module will be assessed by means of coursework component which comprises of a practical write-up portfolio and time-constrained, online exam consisting of short answer questions.
Formative assessment and feedback is provided by completion of the weblearn online quizzes for the module topics.
To pass the module students need to achieve a minimum aggregate of 40%