Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)


Department: Biosciences


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to


  • • Level 2 Cell Structure and Function (BIOL2481) OR Level 2 Cell and Tissue Pathology (BIOL2551)


  • • At least one other Level 3 Biological Sciences Module selected from the following list: Behavioural Ecology BIOL3561, Conservation Biology BIOL3551, Ecology in the Anthropocene BIOL3541, Advanced Topics in Development BIOL3521, Stress and Responses to the Environment BIOL3491, Crops for the Future BIOL3611, Biochemistry and Biotechnology BIOL3601, Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering BIOL3531, Ageing and Age-Related Diseases BIOL3591, Biology of Disease BIOL3621.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • Advanced level study of the contribution of the internal cellular architecture, the cytoskeleton and associated proteins, to cell function.
  • To appreciate how the cytoskeleton and associated proteins are integrated into the cell architecture of organelles and membrane compartments.
  • Study of links between lost or altered function in cellular architecture and disease.


  • Contribution of the different elements of the cytoplasmic and nuclear cytoarchitecture to cell function.
  • Structural details of the different cytoskeletal components and their associated proteins and their integration into larger cellular structures.
  • Integration of cellular cytoarchitecture into signalling processes that maintain cellular homeostasis in response to stress.
  • Human diseases caused by the malfunction and/or loss of cytoarchitectural elements.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Knowledge of how cell function varies with cellular context.
  • Knowledge of the contribution of the cytoskeleton and associated structures to cell architecture.
  • Knowledge of how cell function is determined by the internal cell architecture.
  • Knowledge of the different mechanisms that can regulate cytoarchitecture distribution and therefore function.
  • Understanding of the link between cytoarchitecture and disease.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • To be able to relate research on cell architecture to diseases.
  • To be able to integrate information from different sources to understand diverse aspects of cell architecture.
  • To be able to critically evaluate and discuss experimental data pertaining to cell architecture.
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 data relevant to cell architecture.
  • 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 support the development of key and subject-specific skills.
  • Self-guided learning contributes to subject-specific knowledge and self-motivation.
  • Reports / Data Handling Exercises are based on subject-specific knowledge.
  • 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).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 35 Weekly 2 hours p/w 35
Workshops 2 Termly 1 hour 2
Preparation & Reading 163
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen formal examination 3 hours 100% No
Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Analytical exercise 100% No

Formative Assessment:


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