Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Biological Molecules and Methods
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 2 x 1 hour lectures per week
Other 2 x 3 hour workshops during semester
Seminars / Tutorials 2 x 1 hour tutorials during semester


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Assessment 1.  10%
Semester Assessment Assessment 2.  10%
Semester Assessment Assessment 3.  15%
Semester Assessment Assessment 4.  15%
Semester Exam 1.5 Hours   50%
Supplementary Assessment Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  50%
Supplementary Exam 1.5 Hours   Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. identify and describe the structures of biological molecules

2. explain the purpose and basis of spectroscopic measurements

3. perform calculations to determine amounts of substances and concentrations

Brief description

To study the complexity of a living organism the chemistry of molecules and pathways within its cell(s) must be recognised. This module will develop the concept that the structure and function of biological molecules is a consequence of their chemistry. The skills required to calculate how to prepare chemical solutions such as biological growth media and buffers required for a wide range of biological work will be developed, along with an outline of spectroscopic methods used for biological measurement.


The course will start with a consideration of DNA and how its structure and function are a consequence of nucleotides paired by hydrogen bonding. The role of the cell membrane in forming the boundary between the living cell and its environment will be used to introduce lipids. Functional groups in amino acids and monosaccharides will lead to consideration of structures of proteins and polysaccharides and their investigation by spectroscopic methods.
The concepts of moles and molar concentrations will be introduced together with Avogadro's constant and calculations for making up solutions of known concentration. The carboxyl and amino functional groups will be dealt with in the context of acids, bases and buffers.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Workshops will involve calculations relevant to the course material including determining amounts, concentrations, volumes and balancing equations.
Improving own Learning and Performance Outside the formal contact hours students will be expected to practice with directed learning exercises on which feedback will be available.
Information Technology
Personal Development and Career planning
Problem solving Lectures will introduce problem solving with worked examples and directed study will provide students with an opportunity to practice these skills. Workshops will extend this work and will be assessed.
Research skills
Subject Specific Skills
Team work


This module is at CQFW Level 4