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SF1503: THE CELL (FOUNDATION) (2015-2016)

Last modified: 25 Mar 2016 11:34

Course Overview

  • cells are the fundamental unit of life – without them life could not exist, and as such understanding how they function is crucial to our understanding of biology and medical science;
  • this course provides theoretical knowledge in a diverse range of topics covering the fascinating world of cells, from molecules like DNA, to how different cell types function within our bodies;
  • all practical classes are research based and will provide theoretical knowledge and skills training in many areas of molecular and cell biology;
  • employability skills will also be explored through a highly interactive session run by the Scottish Institute for Enterprise

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 1
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr John Barrow

Qualification Prerequisites


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

  • International BSc Foundation Programme (Medical Sciences) (Studied)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • Either Programme Level 1 or Programme Level 2

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The course explores cells as the basic unit of life. All organisms are composed of cells whether they exist as single-celled microbes, or multi-cellular organisms, as in plants and animals. The course starts by discussing how cells evolved, illustrating the diversity of cells types while also showing how cells are all "variations on a theme". As the course progresses the structure and function of the cell is explored and the fundamental molecular concepts of life are introduced. Later in the course the focus will be on how cells are able to come together to form multi-cellular organisms such as animals and plants. This multi-cellularity requires cells to stick together and to communicate with each other. The course also explores how cells grow and divide and how some cells can differentiate to allow specialised functions. The last few lectures illustrate some of the exciting cell biology studies being carried out in the University of Aberdeen, ranging from fungal and parasite biology through to research into bone disease and cancer.

Further Information & Notes

This course is only open to students following the International BSc Foundation (Medical Sciences) programme.

Contact Teaching Time

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

Teaching Breakdown


More Information about Week Numbers

In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for courses may be subject to change. All updates for first-half session courses will be actioned no later than 1700 (GMT) on 18 September 2020. All updates for second half-session courses will be actioned in advance of second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: 1 two-hour MCQ examination (60%) and in-course assessment (40%). Continuous assessment comprises: 5 laboratory reports and 5 MCQ tests. Resit: 1 two-hour MCQ examination (60%) - this may contain material from both the practical and lecture components of the course - and in-course assessment carried forward from first attempt.(40%).

Formative Assessment

PRS-based revision sessions allow students to practice for MCQ tests and receive feedback on their performance.


Students are given general feedback on performance during PRS revision sessions. Students receive on-line feedback on completion of the MCQ tests and quizzes.

Course Learning Outcomes


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