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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

BIOL1302 Introductory Skills for Biological Sciences

40 creditsClass Size: 35

Module manager: Dr Chris Randall

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Pre-requisite qualifications

Normal U/G entry requirements


FOBS1135The Basis of Life

This module is mutually exclusive with

BIOC1302Introductory Biochemistry: Practical Skills
BIOC1303Introductory Biochemistry: Problem Solving and Data Handling

This module is not approved as a discovery module


To provide training in data collection, experimental techniques relevant to the multi-disciplinary arena of the biological sciences, the analysis of numerical data, problem solving, teamwork and presentation skills.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students will be able to:
1. Use a range of laboratory equipment and practical techniques current to biochemistry, microbiology and molecular & cellular biology, & design simple controlled experiments;
2. Demonstrate an appreciation of the approaches used to study biochemical, microbial and molecular processes;
3. Perform calculations, analyse and interpret numerical data;
4. Source, select and use appropriate information to answer questions and solve problems;
5. Plan and manage their time effectively;
6. Record experimental data, analysis and interpretation clearly and contemporaneously;
7. Present information clearly and coherently in written form appropriate to the task.

Skills outcomes
- Managing knowledge; data evaluation and problem solving, sourcing, selecting & interpreting data.
- Technical competence; laboratory techniques, experimental design, and analysing data, accuracy and IT skills.
- Managing self; planning, time management, career planning.
- Managing relationships; teamwork, decision taking, learning from others; sharing; receiving critique.
- Presentation skills; lab reports, written answers, oral presentations.


Students will undertake a range of experiments using essential biochemical, microbiological and molecular techniques including spectrophotometry, electrophoresis, separation techniques, PCR aseptic technique, microscopy and staining.

Through these experiments they will further develop their technical competence, learn to analyse and interpret different types of data, and record and present these appropriately. There will also be opportunities to develop skills in experimental design, and to develop an understanding of safe laboratory practice.

Students will also participate in tutorials to develop their ability to:
(i) handle, transform and interpret numerical data,
(ii) interpret information and experimental data in order to solve problems in the biological sciences, and
(iii) source material in the library, build libraries of references and present work orally.

The course will consist of a mix of small group tutorials, practical classes in teaching laboratories, and computer based classes. Many of the small group tutorials will be based on topics covered in compulsory modules on the programme, allowing students opportunities to consolidate complex material. Practical and tutorial attendance and the completion of all work are compulsory.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours260.00
Total Contact hours140.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)400.00

Private study

- Preparation for practical sessions and tutorials, annotation of laboratory note book, problem solving and report writing.
- Revision for MRQs.

- Preparation for lab and private study: 140 hours
- Preparation for tutorials and private study: 60 hours
- On-line practice and learning: 20 hours
- Preparation for exams: 40 hours.

Practice MRQ questions are available on Minerva. Interactive materials support student preparation for practical classes and associated MRQ questions.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Student progress is monitored through regular checking of laboratory books, MRQ tests and practical assignments.
- Completion of preparation materials is also monitored.
- Attendance at weekly on-line tutorials, and the completion/standard of work for tutorials provides an additional mechanism for monitoring progress.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course Assessment2 in-course MRQ tests covering practicals and tutorial work (January exam = 10%, May exam = 20%)30.00
Practical Report2 x practical reports (10% each)20.00
In-course AssessmentAssessment of practical microbiology techniques10.00
In-course AssessmentParticipation (completion of preparative work/lab notebooks for relevant classes).10.00
In-course Assessment3 x summative tutorial assessments (2 x data handling 7.5% each; essay 15%)30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Owing to the continuous and practical nature of assessments, no resit will be available in August for students who fail the module; students will be required to repeat the module, and all assessed coursework, as an internal candidate.

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 10/08/2022


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