Foundation degrees

Course Information

Fundamental Biology and Physiology

Module summary

Module code: BIOL1002
Level: 4
Credits: 30
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Life and Sports Sciences
Module Coordinator(s): Joanna Miest



• To provide a background to the structure, growth, division, evolution and death of viruses, prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, and to introduce the genetics of eukaryotes.
• To give the theoretical basis of methods for studying cells and their components.
• To provide a fundamental grounding in the organisation and regulation of physiological processes.

Learning outcomes

On completing this course successfully you will be able to:
Identify the components of the cell and know their basic functions;
Discuss the principal concepts of cell growth with particular reference to bacteria;
Explain the biological organisation and function of membranes;
Explain, at a basic level, the nature of the gene, the genetic code, DNA replication and gene transmission in eukaryotes;
Describe the mechanisms that regulate physiological processes in animal cells;
Discuss the concept of co-ordinated control of physiological systems.

Skills Learning Outcomes:
On completing this course successfully you will be able to:
Demonstrate time management skills by working to deadlines;
Demonstrate team working skills by production of a poster or other joint presentation;
Use the library and internet resources effectively and develop independent study skills;
Use, present and interpret numerical data;
Develop effective communication both written and verbal.

Indicative content

The organisation of the cell in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, the nature of cell membranes and movement of materials across these. Cell organelles: structure and function. The cell cycle and cell division.
Methodology in cell biology, light and electron microscopy, chemical analysis of cell constitution.
Viruses - reproduction and infection. An introduction to prions. Growth and death of bacterial cells, including an introduction to disinfection, sterilisation and antibiotic action.
Introduction to the principles of heredity in eukaryotes.
Membrane physiology and fundamental neurophysiology; fluid and solute movement across membranes; the Donnan equilibrium, the Nernst equation and electrochemical membrane potentials; functional morphology of nerve cells; a comparison of neural and hormonal signalling.
Fluid and solute homeostasis: body fluid compartments, transcapillary fluid transport and oedema;
Ultrafiltration, reabsorption and secretion in the kidney; loop of Henle urine concentration;
Digestion and the absorption of food; neural and hormonal control.
Cardiorespiratory systems: structure and function.
Skeletal system: structure and function.

Teaching and learning activity

The course will be delivered largely through lectures and tutorials (approximately 2:1). Underlying principles are explained in lectures; tutorials (delivered on-line) will establish the understanding of these principles, and will enable students to take ownership of their own learning. Theory will be related to practical in Practical and Professional Skills.

Learning Time (1 credit = 10 hours)
Contact Hours:
lectures 48;
seminars 0;
practical sessions 0;
tutorials 48;
other 4.
Private Study 150.
Assignments: course work and other forms of assessment:
coursework 48;
laboratory work 0;
examinations 2;
other 0.


Essay - 20%
A 1200 word essay.

Phase Test - 20%

Online Tutorial - 20%

Exam - 40%
1×2 hour exam.

The pass mark is 40% overall