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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

FOBS1135 The Basis of Life

20 creditsClass Size: 393

Module manager: Dr Glyn Hemsworth

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

Pre-requisite qualifications

A-level (or equivalent) Biology

This module is mutually exclusive with

BIOL1112The Molecules of Life
BLGY1115Introduction to Cell Biology: from Molecules to Cells and Ti

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The Basis of Life aims to provide our students with a firm understanding of the properties of molecules and macromolecules that underpin Life on Earth. Going from some basic chemical and molecular principles, students will learn the underlying properties that drive key processes in the cell. This is fundamental knowledge that underpins life on Earth that all bioscientists should know, hence this is a key first year module for most of our students.


This module aims to provide learners with a comprehensive grounding in the molecular basis of life from the atomic scale up to the cellular level. Learners enrolled across a broad range of programmes will take the module and so there will be some revision of concepts from A-level, which will be built upon to provide up to date knowledge of macromolecular and ultimately cellular behaviour.

Teaching on the module will be split into 9 learning units focussed on key aspects of molecular, macromolecular or cellular function. Core content will be provided to learners through pre-recorded lectures which will be augmented with in-person workshops throughout the semester. There will be one workshop for every two hours of pre-recorded content. In these workshops learners will be provided with opportunities to assess their level of understanding whilst also gaining more in-depth knowledge from the lecturers that are expert in the topics being covered.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
1. Distinguish the differences between prokaryotes and eukaryotes.
2. Recognise the molecular principles underpinning key biological processes in cells.
3. Explain the relationship between the properties of macromolecules and the function to which they are put in the cell.
4. Recall fundamental chemical concepts and how these help us understand the structure and function of biological macromolecules.
5. Describe genetic and biochemical approaches used in enhancing our understanding of cell biology.

Skills Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will be able to:
6. Demonstrate the ability to take a logical approach to the analysis and solving of problems.


The Basis of Life will be split into 9 learning units covering:
1. The chemistry of life
2. From genes to proteins
3. Protein sorting
4. Protein structure and function
5. Membranes and signalling
6. Enzymes
7. Bioenergetics and Metabolism
8. Cytoskeleton and the cell cycle
9. The microbial world

Each learning unit will consist of 2 to 6 hours of pre-recorded content with an on-campus workshop scheduled for every 2 hours of pre-recorded content.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours147.00
Total Contact hours53.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will be provided with formative MRQs for each learning unit with automated feedback allowing them to practice and evaluate their understanding throughout the module.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course MCQStudents will answer MRQs allowing them to demonstrate their learning from the content delivered on the module.50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Online Time-Limited assessment1 hr 50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2024 16:10:51


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