Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)


Department: Biosciences


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham


  • • Level 1 Molecules and Cells (BIOL1281) and ONE other Level 1 module from the following: Genetics (BIOL1171), Organisms and Environment (BIOL1161) or Physiology (BIOL1151).


  • • At least one other Level 2 Biological Sciences Module

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To describe how the organisation of cellular architecture in eukaryotic cells contributes to their basic functions in movement, division, shape and survival.
  • To develop an understanding of the principles which determine structure-function relationships in cells throughout their lifespans.
  • To explain the molecular mechanisms which determine and regulate key cellular functions.


  • Regulation of cell proliferation and death.
  • Dynamics of cytoskeletal networks and cell migration.
  • Targetting of proteins and vesicles to their correct intracellular locations.
  • The structure of the nucleus.
  • Interactions of cells with the extracellular matrix.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Knowledge of how the various components of the cytoskeleton are organised and how they contribute to cell shape and movement.
  • Knowledge of components of the extracellular matrix.
  • Knowledge of the mechanisms for determining that proteins are routed to their correct cellular locations.
  • Knowledge of the structural components of the nucleus.
  • Knowledge of mechanisms regulating cell division and cell death.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To be able to integrate structural information on the various components of the living cell with cellular functions such as motility, survival and division.
  • To have intermediate level skills in microscopic and imaging techniques for visualising cellular components.
Key Skills:
  • Literacy, in being able to consult and extract information from printed and on-line archives.
  • Data analysis, in interpretation and critical analysis of sample experimental data.
  • Communication skills, using the written word and graphics, involved in evolution practical reports.
  • Team work, working in small groups in evolution practical classes.
  • Self-motivation, in self-guided learning.

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

  • Lectures deliver subject-specific knowledge.
  • Workshops reinforce subject-specific knowledge and understanding gained from lectures and the development of key and subject-specific skills.
  • Practical classes allow students to utilise subject-specific knowledge gained from lectures, and support the development of key and subject-specific skills.
  • Tutorials give enhancement of the student learning experience, supporting attainment of all learning outcomes.
  • Self-guided learning contributes to subject-specific knowledge and self-motivation.
  • Practical reports are based on subject-specific knowledge and demonstrate subject-specific skills in carrying out experimental work and data analysis, as well as key skills.
  • Unseen examinations demonstrate achievement of the appropriate level of subject-specific knowledge of development, with an emphasis on understanding and communication (essay and problem-based questions) or recall of factual knowledge (multiple choice or short answer question tests).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 35 Weekly 2 hours p/w 35
Practicals 3 1 or 2 per term 4 hours 12
Workshops / Tutorials 2 1 per term 1 hour 2
Preparation & Reading 151

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen formal examination 2 hours 30 minutes 100% Yes - exam resit
Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Practical report 50% No
Analytical exercise 50% No

Formative Assessment:

Regular formative assessments including data analysis, interpretation and problem solving throughout the module; 4 assessments over 2 terms.

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