The Molecules of Life - BIOS3000

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Autumn Term 4 15 (7.5) Neil Kad checkmark-circle


This course will provide an introduction to biomolecules in living matter. The simplicity of the building blocks of macromolecules (amino acids, monosaccharides, fatty acids and purine and pyrimidine bases) will be contrasted with the enormous variety and adaptability that is obtained with the different macromolecules (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids). The nature of the electronic and molecular structure of macromolecules and the role of non-covalent interactions in an aqueous environment will be highlighted. The unit will be delivered though lectures, formative practicals and related feedback sessions to ensure students fully understand what is expected of them. Short tests (formative assessment) will be used throughout the unit to test students' knowledge and monitor that the right material has been extracted from the lectures.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 47
Private study hours: 103
Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

Practical (20%) 3 hr
MCQ Assessments – 40 questions (20%)
Exam (60%) 2 hr
Academic year 2022/23 examined: In-Person Exam (Standard Exam)

Indicative reading

Core text:
• Nelson DL, Cox MM, Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, 7th Edition, W.H. Freeman, 2017

Alternative core texts (buy only one of):
• Berg JM, Stryer L, Tymoczko JL, Gatto GJ, Biochemistry, 9th Edition, Macmillan HE, 2019
• Garrett RH, Grisham CM, Biochemistry, 6th (international) Edition, Cengage, 2017

Background reading:
• Alberts B, Essential Cell Biology, 5th Edition, W W Norton (ex Garland Press), 2019
• Taylor MR, Simon EJ, Reece JB, Dickey J, Hogan KA, Campbell NA, Campbell Biology: Concepts & Connections, 9th Edition, Pearson, 2018

Recommended Reading:
• Catch-Up Reading: Crowe J, Bradshaw T, Chemistry for the Biosciences: The Essential Concepts, 3rd Edition, Oxford University Press, 2014

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

Subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

Demonstrate a basic understanding of the composition, structure and function of the major groups of molecules in cells; nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids.
Demonstrate a basic understanding of the principles of purification, separation and characterisation of macromolecules.

Generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
Demonstrate competence in basic laboratory skills, calculations and problem solving.
Demonstrate competence in report writing.


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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