BI0BF1-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:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Paul Hatcher


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 organisation

  • 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 structure and function of mammalian organs and systems, for example, the alimentary canal, liver, blood, kidney, reproductive system

  • Describe structure and function of angiosperm organs and systems, for example, leaf, xylem, phloem

  • 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 alimentary canal, liver, blood, kidney. Plant transport systems are also considered. The metabolic pathways of photosynthesis and respiration are studied. 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

Other information on summative assessment:

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:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (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.

    Length of examination:

    One three hour examination

    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):

    Last updated: 27 September 2017

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