Course Title: Biology of the Cell

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Biology of the Cell

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


160H Medical Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016


Bundoora Campus


173H School of Health and Biomed


Sem 1 2017


City Campus


160H Medical Sciences


Sem 1 2013

Course Coordinator: Assoc Prof Terry Piva

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 6503

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 223.2.09

Course Coordinator Availability: Available by appointment only

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


No formal prerequisite courses.

You are expected to have starting capabilities equivalent to Year 10 biology.

Course Description


This course provides an introduction to cell biology. It will cover the molecular and physical structures of cells, their biochemical and physiological functions and their components, as well as the genetic basis of inheritance.

Areas covered include:

  • Structures and functions of cells and organelles 
  • Protein structure and function
  • Macromolecules
  • DNA and RNA structures
  • Cell cycle, mitosis and meiosis
  • Basic genetics, inheritance and evolution
  • Cell membrane structure, transport and signalling pathways
  • Metabolism and energy transduction
  • Functions of specialised cells in the human body

This course will lay the foundations for advanced studies in biochemistry, physiology, molecular and cell biology.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development


This course contributes to the program learning outcomes in the following disciplines:

Biomedical Science (BP231)

  • Scientific knowledge (PLO 2)


Pharmacy (BH102)

This course contributes to capability development in the following Domains of the National Competency Standards Framework for Pharmacists in Australia:

  • Critical analysis, research and education (Domain 8)


Laboratory Medicine (BP147)

  • Knowledge capability (PLO 1)
  • Technical capability (PLO 2)


Pharmaceutical Sciences (BP184)

  • Exhibit depth and breadth of scientific knowledge (PLO 1)


Chinese Medicine (BP278), Osteopathy (BP279) and Chiropractic (BP280)

In Complementary Medicine this course contributes to your ability to gather clinical information to make accurate differential diagnoses, assessments and management plans to carry out effective evidence-based treatment (PLO 2).


Course Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Recognise the differences between prokaryotes and eukaryotes, as well as the specialisation of cells in a multicellular organism
  2. Identify subcellular structures, organelles and understand their functions
  3. Explain the basic processes involved in DNA replication, transcription and translation in prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems
  4. Relate the role of DNA in the control of cell division and reproduction
  5. Recognise the fundamental aspects of inheritance and relate this to how genes pass on particular characteristics
  6. Describe the biological processes of mitosis and meiosis
  7. Define the nature and roles of macromolecules in cellular functions
  8. Recognise basic metabolic processes in a cell and how such processes are regulated
  9. Perform basic laboratory techniques in a competent manner

Overview of Learning Activities


The learning activities of this course take place in lectures, PASS tutorials and laboratory classes.  The theory and practical components of the course are integrated throughout the teaching of this course and focus on the fundamental aspects of cell biology. 

The practical component of the course is designed to build fundamental skills in critical analysis, as the results in the practical classes may not be exactly as expected.  You are required to interpret your results in a contextual framework based on your knowledge and technical capabilities. 

Regular revision lectures (Q&A sessions) will provide feedback on your progress and consolidate the understanding of the material taught in the course.

You will undertake the equivalent of three hours per week in lectures plus a total of four practical classes of three hours each. In addition you can expect to spend a minimum of four hours per week in independent study.


Overview of Learning Resources

Learning resources used in this course include text books, lecture notes (PowerPoint presentations), Lectopia/Echo360 recordings of lecture presentations, practical exercises and additional references on selected topics. The course site in myRMIT provides opportunities for students to independently access much of this material and use asynchronous discussions as an additional mode of learning.

Overview of Assessment


Assessment involves the following:


Formative early assessment on-line quizzes

Weighting 0%

N.B. You will be given on-line quizzes during the first few weeks of semester in the style and format of the later assessed quizzes, so you can get used to the format and assess if you are understanding the lecture component in sufficient detail.

This assessment task supports CLOs 1 to 8.


On-line quizzes

Weighting 20%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1 to 8.


Practical reports

Weighting 20%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1 to 9.


Mid-semester test

Weighting 20%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1 to 8.


End of semester examination

Weighting 40%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1 to 8.



Note that:

 ☒This course has no hurdle requirements.

☐ All hurdle requirements for this course are indicated clearly in the assessment regime that follows, against the relevant assessment task(s) and all have been approved by the College Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching).