Science: Principles and Practice


This module aims to provide a broad introduction of the theory and practice of biology for Food Science students.


The aim of this Module is to introduce the fundamental concepts of science in both a theoretical and practical context for food science students.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Describe the details of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell structure, function and basic biochemistry.

2.  Outline the origin and diversity of life including the fundamentals and principles of genetics and evolution.

3.  Show competency in the use of fundamental laboratory techniques.

4.  Demonstrate competency in biological data handling and experimental design. Identify the principles of good laboratory practice, including record keeping, report writing and COSHH regulations.

Indicative Content

1 The principles of cell biology

A basic overview of cell structure & division and a comparison between different cell types. Biochemical principles.

2 The organism

Overview of the major forms of life and their taxonomic relationships. Fundamental concepts in organismal biology (homeostasis, evolution and genetic inheritance).

3 Introductory microbiology

Types of microorganism, their characteristics, discovery, origin, evolution and medical significance.

4 Basic laboratory techniques

Utilisation of basic instrumentation (i.e. spectrophotometers and microscopes), preparation of solutions, handling of liquids and solids (use of glassware and pipettes). Development of aseptic techniques, media selection & preparation, growth and isolation of microorganisms, enumeration, subculturing techniques. Macro & microscopic examination. Staining for microscopy. Recording and interpreting data.

5 Health and Safety

Health and safety in the laboratory, Risk assessments and COSHH regulations as applied to the laboratory.

6 Data Handling and Numeracy Skills

Basic numeracy skills for laboratory work (converting between units, molarity, percentage (w/v), percentage (v/v), stock solutions). Introductory statistics for biosciences: populations, variables, samples, randomness and independence (including basic statistical measurements, confidence intervals, correlation/regression, normal distribution, t-tests). Graphical and numerical data description.

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

This module is delivered using a combination of lectures, tutorials and laboratories to introduce students to fundamental biological principles and foundation knowledge concerning eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. Students will be expected to participate in enquiry and problem based learning activities. They can obtain feedback on their own learning achievements through provision of Blackboard quizzes that they can access repeatedly prior to sitting their final exam. The first six weeks will involve compulsory laboratory practicals where basic lab skills will be taught and practiced, before using these skills in the problem based laboratories and tutorials in weeks 8-13 (13 of 20 key lab skills must be demonstrated in order to pass Unit 1 assessment). There will be two feedback activities' associated with this module: feedback on lab books that have been maintained throughout the lab component in the first 6 weeks and feedback on online numeracy quizzes. This module has 2 units of assessment, proven to work well for level 7 students, and in addition allowing a unlimited formative (online) assessments in numeracy and statistics to ensure preparedness for laboratory portfolio, exam and develops essential skills for other modules on food science programmes. Tutorials will be weekly in weeks 1-6, with alternate weeks delivered as support sessions by Food staff to help with numeracy and statistics, and 1 hr support tutorial and 1 hour PBL lab tutorial in weeks 8-13. The Exam will consist of 40 MCQs on biology theory (delivered in lectures) and 24 questions on scientific numeracy/statistics (calculation/short answer), with a 75/25 percentage weighing on the two sections respectively (90 minutes time total).

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 24
Tutorial/Seminar 18
Supervised Practical Activity 30
Unsupervised Practical Activity 6
Assessment 108
Independent 14

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2019/20 , and may be subject to change for future years.