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The University of Southampton

GSCI0008 Fundamentals of Biology

Module Overview

This module is designed to provide students with the biology knowledge and skills required for a successful transition to degree-level study in disciplines which require a strong background in the subject. The material covered is at a level corresponding to pre-university qualifications such as Alevel in the UK. The module provides a foundation of knowledge in physiology and cell biology, and there is a strong emphasis on the application of the subject in different contexts.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

Develop essential knowledge and understanding of facts, principles and concepts of biology and the skills needed to use them in both familiar and unfamiliar situations; develop an understanding of scientific methods; encourage an awareness of advances in technology relevant to biology and how this may impact on society; bring together knowledge and understanding of how different areas of biology relate to each other.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • recognise, recall and show understanding of specific biological facts, terminology, principles, concepts, and practical techniques;
  • draw on existing knowledge to show understanding of the ethical, social, economic, environmental and technological implications and applications of biology;
  • select, organise and present relevant information clearly logically and using specialist vocabulary where appropriate;
  • use biological skills in contexts which bring together different areas of the subject.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • describe, explain and interpret phenomena and effects in terms of biological principles and concepts, presenting arguments and ideas clearly and logically, using specialist vocabulary where appropriate;
  • interpret and translate from one form to another, data presented as continuous prose, or in tables, diagrams, drawings and graphs;
  • apply biological principles and concepts in solving problems in unfamiliar situations including those which relate to ethical, social, economic and technological implications and applications of biology;
  • assess the validity of biological information, experiments, inferences and statements
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • manage your own learning;
  • communicate scientific information effectively;
  • apply mathematical methods to solve problems in biology;
  • apply problem solving techniques to familiar and unfamiliar biological problems;
  • use IT to support learning

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include • Lectures, supported by handouts illustrating theory and examples. • Projected materials. • Study materials available on the Virtual Learning Environment. • Practice exercises and tests. Learning activities include • Problem solving, comprehension and data analysis exercises • Self assessment exercises • Group discussion/question and answer sessions • Individual research on topics • Private study Study Time Allocation: • Contact Hours: 120 • Private Study Hours: 180 • Total study time: 300 hours

Follow-up work90
Wider reading or practice36
Supervised time in studio/workshop48
Preparation for scheduled sessions36
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Grace Monger, Michael Reiss and Michael Roberts (2000). Advanced Biology. 

Mike Boyle & Kathryn Senior (2008). Biology. 

Glen and Susan Toole (4th). New Understanding Biology. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (120 minutes) 60%
Examination  (120 minutes) 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (120 minutes) 60%
Examination  (120 minutes) 40%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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