Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2011-2012 (archived)


Department: Biological and Biomedical Sciences


Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2011/12 Module Cap 240 Location Durham


  • 'A' Level Biology OR Chemistry.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To understand how cells from different organisms are organised, compartmentalised and why this is essential for their functioning and how this organisation is studied.
  • To understand the principles of cytoskeletal structure and function.
  • To understand how cells are assembled into tissues and how this tissue organisation develops.
  • To have an introduction to immunology.


  • Overview of cell structure, differences between different kingdoms, cell evolution.
  • Basic principles and practice of microscopy.
  • Principles of cell compartmentalisation. Description of structure, function and relationship between different organelles including the nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi, mitochondria, etc.. Trafficking between compartments.
  • Cytoskeleton structure, function and dynamics.
  • Tissue organisation: cell junctions and adhesion; extracellular matrix; examples of tissue organisation.
  • Introduction to development.
  • Plant cell biology.
  • Introduction to immunology.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Understand how and why cells are compartmentalised, what these compartments are and what they do.
  • Understand the role of different elements of the cytoskeleton in relation to their cellular functions.
  • Understand animal and plant tissue organisation and development.
  • Have an introductory understanding of basic principles of immunology.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Understanding of information from lectures, textbooks and other sources on key areas of cell biology.
  • They should be familiar with basic experimental and safety procedures applicable to modern cell biology.
Key Skills:
  • Interpretation and understanding of information from relevant sources (lectures, textbooks, online sources).
  • Interpretation and evaluation of data.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures deliver core knowledge.
  • Lab work allows students to utilise the knowledge gained from lectures, and support the development of key and subject-specific skills.
  • MCQs sample the broad base of knowledge.
  • Unseen exams measure knowledge and the application and interpretation of that knowledge. They also test key skills in ability to present arguments and communicate them effectively in a concise written form.
  • Data handling exercises assess data handling, numeracy, critical thinking and presentation skills.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 40 Weekly 1 hour 40
Practicals 4 Termly 4 hours 16
Tutorials 2 1 Mich/1 Epip 1 hour 2
Preparation & Reading 142
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen formal examination100 2 hours 100%
Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Practical report 37.5%
Data handling 37.5%
MCQ Departmental Test 25%

Formative Assessment:

Practical reports.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University