BI0BIO-International Foundation Programme: Biology

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 40 [20 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Lindsey Thompson


Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module aims to provide the student with a sound understanding of biological principles and with analytical and practical skills appropriate to subsequent degree work.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:

  • Describe prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell  structure and function

* Link cell diversity with function

  • Describe molecular structures of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins and explain their roles in living organisms
  • Explain the properties and significance of enzymes
  • Describe photosynthesis and respiration including biochemical pathways 
  • Describe the structure and function of mammalian organs and systems, for example, the  liver, , and kidney, r
  • Describe  transport in plants and relate the process to the structure and function of angiosperm organs and systems, for example, leaf, xylem, phloem.

*Explain the role of the heart and in mammalian transport.

*Describe and explain the structure and function of the nervous system.

*Explain the role of hormones in the body.

*Explain homeostasis and describe examples

*Describe and explain some of the recent advances in biotechnology

  • Recognise the significance of bacteria, viruses and eukaryotic parasites as disease organisms
  • Explain mechanisms of inheritance
  • Recognise the significance of Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection and Evolution
  • Analyse and interpret data from practical work 

Additional outcomes:

Students will have the opportunity to

  • improve their practical skills including microscope, experimental and dissection work 
  • enhance their library, IT and language skills. 

Outline content:

This module begins with an exploration of cell organisation, dealing with both eukaryotes and prokaryotes. Reference is made also to viruses. Study of the biochemical level of organisation follows, including an analysis of enzyme action and significance. The next part of the module deals with the structure and function of mammalian organs and systems, for example, the l, liver, and kidney. Plant and mammal transport and communication systems are covered along with the metabolic pathways of photosynthesis and respiration. A short introduction to biotechnology provides an insight into recent advances in this rapidly growing field. The final part of the module deals with the unifying theme of reproduction, genetics, natural selection and evolution. 

Each topic is investigated in practicals, either through microscope, dissection or experimental work. 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures introduce the student to the principles of the subjects studied. Practicals provide experience of microscope and experimental work and also enhance understanding of theoretical concepts. Weekly homework assignments develop the student's skills in writing practical reports, enhance understanding and provide feedback on written work. Class visits, for example to the electron microscope unit, and videos may also be used to enhance understanding. A weekly surgery hour tutorial provides an opportunity for students to seek additional help, if required. A visit to the Natural History Museum in London provides an opportunity for review at the end of the course.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 33 30 9
Tutorials 11 10 3
Practicals classes and workshops 33 30 9
Guided independent study 106 97 29
Total hours by term 183.00 167.00 50.00
Total hours for module 400.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Set exercise 20
Class test administered by School 10

Summative assessment- Examinations:
One three hour examination

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
Students complete two assessed practicals carried out under examination conditions and submit scientific reports for these practicals. Each report contributes 10% to summative assessment.
Tests at the end of the Autumn and Spring Terms each contribute 5% to summative assessment.
Relative percentage of coursework: 30%
Relative percentage of examination: 70%

Formative assessment methods:
During Autumn, Spring and Summer Terms students will be required to complete one piece of homework, directed reading and a practical report each week.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:
    By examination in August/September with continuous assessment carried forward if it is to the advantage of the student.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 11 December 2018


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