Module details for Biology 1: Biology Principles and Practice


This module aims to provide a broad introduction of the theory and practice of biology.


The aim of this Module is to introduce the fundamental concepts of biology in both a theoretical and practical context.

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.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

For session 2020/21 the expectation is that the teaching and learning hours stated in this descriptor will form a mix of synchronous and asynchronous student/staff activity, with the majority of this being online. The exact pattern of this activity is likely to vary from the standard face-to-face hours listed below but the overall student effort remains the same. Up-to-date information on the delivery of the module can be found on the relevant module MLS site and on your student timetable.

Teaching and Learning Method Hours
Lecture 24
Tutorial/Seminar 12
Practical Activity 36
Assessment 114
Independent 14
Total 200

Guidance notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

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 2020/21 , and may be subject to change for future years.