Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)


Department: Biological and Biomedical Sciences


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Cells, Tissues & Systems OR Genetics.


  • At least one other Level 2 Biology module.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To promote undertanding of how the organisation of cellular architecture in eukaryotic cells contributes to their basic functions in movement, division, shape and survival.
  • To promote an appreciation of the function of the immune system.
  • To provide training and experience in experimental techniques representative of modern practical approaches in cell biology.


  • Subcellular targeting and trafficking of proteins and membranes.
  • Organisation and dynamics of cytoskeletal networks and cell junctions.
  • Regulation of cell proliferation and cell death.
  • Cell-Matrix interactions and cell motility.
  • Cell transformation.
  • Function of the cells of the immune system.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • To explain how the various components of the cytoskeleton are organised and how they contribute to cell shape and movement.
  • Describe the interactions between cells and the extracellular matrix.
  • Integrate structural information on the various components of the living cell with its basic needs to move, divide and survive.
  • Explain basic principles of the function of the immune system.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Demonstrate a range of practical skills in cell biology.
Key Skills:
  • Extract, compile and review relevant scientific information from various sources and evaluate them critically.
  • Interpret and critically analyse sample experimental data and present the results effectively.
  • Interpret and execute detailed practical instructions.
  • Appreciate the approaches used to devise experimental strategies.
  • Appreciate safe working practices.

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

  • Lectures deliver core and specialised knowledge.
  • Laboratory work allows students to utilise the knowledge gained from lectures, and support the development of key and subject-specific skills.
  • MCQs sample core and specialised knowledge.
  • Unseen examinations 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 39 Weekly 1 hour 39
Practicals 3 Termly 4 hours 12
Workshops 2 End of term 1 hour 2
Tutorials 1 1 hour 1
Preparartion & Reading 146
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen formal examination 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 test 25%

Formative Assessment:

Practical reports. MCQ test.

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