Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1
Mutually Exclusive
BS12210 (Chemical Basis of Biology)
Dual award in Science or its equivalent
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 19 x 1 hour lectures
Seminars / Tutorials 2 x 3 hour workshops (duplicated)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Workshops (2 x 3h)  30%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   theory paper  70%
Supplementary Assessment 2 Hours   theory paper plus resubmission of failed or missing work or alternative (as determined by the exam board).  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. recognise the structure of atoms and molecules and explain how these relate to the periodic table.

2. give examples of the different types of bonding in molecules.

3. identify the main functional groups in organic compounds.

4. use chemical symbols in simple equations to show chemical reactions.

5. describe the principles governing reaction equilibria and pH.

6. describe the basis of molar concentrations and calculate amounts of compounds needed for specific concentrations.


The module aims to introduce students who have little grounding in chemistry to the language and concepts of the subject to give them sufficient background for their biological studies.


The curriculum will include the following.
The concept of atoms and elements.
The structure of atoms in terms of protons, neutrons and electrons.
The concept of atomic number and electronic configuration will be put in the context of the periodic table and this will be used to explain some rationale and order to the properties of the elements.
This will lead to a consideration of simple molecules, a description of ionic and covalent bonding, and the idea of valency.
A section on organic chemistry will deal with the special properties of carbon, hydrocarbons and homologous series, isomerism (including chirality), and an introduction to functional groups and their nomenclature.
The carboxyl and amino functional groups will be dealt with in the context of acid, bases and buffers. This will also include the concept of equilibria.
The concepts of moles and molar concentrations will be introduced together with Avogadro's constant and calculations for making up solutions of known concentration.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Workshops will involve data interpretation and solving of quantitative problems
Communication Listening skills for the lectures and subsequent discussion in workshop classes. Effective written communication in examinations.
Improving own Learning and Performance Outside the formal contact hours, students will be expected to research materials, manage time and meet deadlines.
Information Technology Accessing the web for information sources and using databases to find primary literature.
Personal Development and Career planning Students will gain confidence in their ability to evaluate chemical problems and objectively assess the quality of proposed solutions.
Problem solving Workshops will involve solving of chemical problems.
Research skills Students will research topics beyond the depth and scope of the lecture material using both directed and independent study.
Subject Specific Skills Fundamental chemical concepts will be developed.
Team work Students will work in pairs/small groups during workshop sessions.

Reading List

Recommended Text
Campbell, N. and Reece, J. (2005) Biology 7th Benjamin Cummings Publishers Primo search Crowe, Bradshaw & Monk (2006) Chemistry for the Biosciences Oxford University Press Primo search
Reference Text
Lewis, R. & Evans, W. (2006) Chemistry Palgrave Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 4