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Unit information: Biology 1B: Life Processes in 2012/13

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Biology 1B: Life Processes
Unit code BIOL12000
Credit points 40
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Gibson
Open unit status Open

A-level Biology (preferred) or good science A-levels



School/department School of Biological Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences


The structure and function of cells and their macromolecular components; animal physiology, neurobiology and development; transmission, molecular, population and evolutionary genetics; animal immune systems; natural communities and interactions within communities; exploitation and management of natural and agricultural ecosystems.


  • To present a wide-ranging biological course emphasising the general biological principles of cell biology, physiology, biochemistry, genetics and ecology.
  • To create a broad objective understanding of the intellectual and practical skills required by biologists.
  • To provide a basis for higher-level biological courses, or a support for other science courses involving living organisms.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion a student will have achieved an appreciation of practical biological methods, have learnt to analyse scientific problems and to draw objective conclusions, and have gained self-confidence in written, verbal and organizational skills, including communication, teamwork, and computer literacy.

Teaching details

  • Lectures: 3x 50 min lectures each week
  • Laboratory classes: 1x 3-hour class each week. These classes include practical work with plants, animals, fungi and microbes.
  • Tutorials: at least 5 during the year
  • Self-directed learning. Students are expected to spend approx. 30-45 minutes on additional reading per lecture.
  • Independent work in computing
  • Demonstrations
  • Videos
  • Field trips

Assessment Details

The course mark comprises 50% for the end of unit exam and 50% for continuous assessment (CA).

The end of unit exam in May/June is a 2 hour written paper. You answer 4 essay questions from a choice of 10 covering the whole course.

The CA mark is made up as follows:

  • 28%: assessed practicals

(4% of unit marks from each of 7 practicals)

  • 5% tutorial essays (2 essays at 2.5% each)
  • 17%: assessment tests:

7% test 1 (on material in weeks 1-10 and 10% test 2 (on material for whole course: weeks 1-24)

Reading and References

The core textbook is

  • Campbell Biology, Pearson, 9th revised edition ISBN13: 9781408277379

Also recommended are:

  • A good general biology dictionary, e.g. Henderson’s Dictionary of Biology, Pearson Paperback ISBN13: 9781408234303
  • Practical Skills in the Biomolecular Sciences. Reed, R., Holmes, D., Weyers, J. and Jones, A. (2007) 3rd revised edition, Pearson, Softback ISBN 9780132391153