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BI1007: ORGANISMAL BIOLOGY (2014-2015)

Last modified: 28 Jun 2018 10:27

Course Overview

  • Eleven themes are explored in engaging lectures, exploring the mechanisms of life processes and introducing you to the science that underpins current understanding of biology.
  • Structured practical sessions and class activities help you to develop your study and laboratory skills, and provide you with a strong foundation for a successful transition into university study.
  • Regular assignments, a mix of online tests, practical reports and reading assignments, structure your activities and help you progress through the course material.
  • Weekly guest lectures about current research helps you to see how basic biological concepts are being applied to real world problems.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 1
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study Yes
  • Dr John Baird

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?


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Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Organismal biology explores the challenges of being alive. The course content comprises modules pertaining to the comparative study of life functions (reproduction, growth and development, nutrition, gas exchange, circulation, excretion, movement and communication) in a diverse range of plants and animals. The emphasis is on describing the similarities and differences amongst plants, animals and microbes pertaining to the integration and regulation of life functions that allow survival of individuals and species in a range of environments.

Upon completion of the course, students will:

  • recognise that our current understanding of biology is contested and provisional, set within a history of scientific exploration and experimentation, and a dynamic continuation of scientific advances;
  • appreciate the complexity and diversity of life processes through the study of organisms and the interrelationships between them and their environment;
  • describe and evaluate the evidence for the mechanisms of life processes, and the interactions of structure and function at the organismal level;
  • be able to explain how evolutionary theory is relevant to biological sciences;
  • employ a variety of methods of study in investigating, recording and analysing material and demonstrate competence in maintaining a lab notebook;
  • be competent in a range of practical techniques and skills, including an ability to place their work in context and to suggest further lines of investigation.

Further Information & Notes

This course runs over 11 weeks in the first half-session.  Students attend one of three practicals; the practicals run for three hours on Monday, Tuesday and Friday afternoons, between 15.00-18.00.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: 1 two-hour MCQ exam (60%) and in-course assessment (40%).

Resit: Similar to first attempt, with continuous assessment marks and/or exam mark carried forward and an opportunity to complete either a resit exam (a MCQ exam in similar format to the main exam) or a practical exam (a one hour short answer exam based on the practical sessions), depending on what was failed in the first attempt.

Formative Assessment

Four compulsory online tests (one test every three weeks) will help students assess how well they are learning the course material. Student performance will be monitored.


Students will receive regular written feedback on each lab report before the start of the next practical class. Students who are identified as having difficulty in correctly completing the formative online tests will be invited to meet members of the course team to identify difficulties and discuss solutions.

Course Learning Outcomes


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