Molecular & Cellular Biology (with Biotechnology) BSc/MSci

Fundamental Topics in Biology 2 BIOL2039

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Molecular Biosciences
  • Credits: 30
  • Level: Level 2 (SCQF level 8)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

Fundamental Topics in Biology will develop knowledge that is relevant to all our Life Science degrees by relating key concepts to specific contexts. The molecular and cellular processes that underpin larger biological systems will provide the student with a comprehensive overview of the subject and develop the skills required to apply biological concepts to practical problems important for all the degree subjects. The course will build upon knowledge from Biology 1A and Biology 1B and help the student consolidate and develop skills including molecular techniques, results analysis and presentation, interpretation of data and statistics. 


Normally, five lectures per week (Monday to Friday) plus one 3-hour lab per week for 6 weeks and three 2-hour tutorials. In addition, non-timetabled directed-learning tasks also have to be completed.

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed by means of a 2-hour examination paper in the December diet (60%), one class test (10%), an essay (15%) and a lab report assignment (15%). The written examinations will normally comprise MCQ and short-answer questions. 

Main Assessment In: December

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade.

Course Aims

The aims of the course are:

■ To develop an understanding of the interconnectedness of biological systems from molecular and cellular processes to organisms and ecosystems; 

■ Describe core biological processes relevant to all Life Sciences;  

■ To develop appropriate skills in data interpretation and analysis;

■ To develop laboratory skills in key research methods;

■ To develop key transferable skills and graduate attributes.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course, students will be able to: 

■ Apply core theories, concepts and principles relevant to disciplines within the biological sciences; 

■ Describe key biological processes across a broad hierarchical range from molecules to ecosystems using contemporary examples such as 'Ageing and Disease', 'Genomes to Ecosystems' and 'Microbes and the Immune System'; 

■ Interpret information from relevant literature;

■ Analyse scientific data, including data collected in the laboratory;

■ Communicate scientific ideas effectively. 

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.