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SM1501: THE CELL (2022-2023)

Last modified: 31 Jul 2023 11:19

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 enterprise session and our online mini course.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 1
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Professor John Barrow
  • Dr Pietro Marini

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

  • Either Programme Level 1 or Programme Level 2
  • Any Undergraduate Programme

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 cell 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. 

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

Alternative Assessment

Tests 5 x 8%

MCQ Test 60%

Alternative Resit Assessment

Resit online test covering lecture material


Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ConceptualUnderstandAppreciate that cell biology is at the centre of modern medical science
FactualUnderstandBe able to explain key metabolic pathways in cells
FactualRememberKnow the major differences between prokaryotic an eukaryotic cells
FactualRememberUnderstand the cellular nature of living organisms and the role of cells in multicellular organisms
ConceptualUnderstandUnderstand the fundamental role of DNA in cells
FactualUnderstandExplain the functions of the major cell organelles and their structural elements

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