Available in 2023
Course code



10 units


1000 level

Course handbook


Introduces the basic principles and concepts of cell and molecular biology to explore the nature of life's molecular building blocks and systems and how these interact to form functional cells and ultimately organisms. Students will discover some of the principles behind how cells work and explore ideas about how biological complexity and life itself may have originated. This knowledge underpins our ability to combat disease, to harness solar energy to feed the world, to sustainably power human industry and to recycle our waste efficiently using microbial systems.

The production of new cells is vital to the survival of species and there will be an introduction to basic genetic concepts to explain how organisms can pass on their traits which convey selective advantages for survival in a fiercely competitive world. Cells must also communicate with other cells and be able to detect and respond to external stimuli from its environment.

Students that have completed this course will be well placed to further their studies in cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, microbial biology, molecular genetics and animal & plant physiology courses at 2000 and 3000 level.



  • Semester 1 - 2023


  • Semester 1 - 2023
  • Winter - 2023

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate understanding of biological terminology and concepts in relation to molecules and cells

2. Define the hierarchy of structure within cells

3. Explain the processes which regulate and integrate cell function

4. Interpret the origin and evolution of biological complexity at the cellular level

5. Summarise the mechanisms and characteristics of reproduction and inheritance

6. Retrieve, collect and interpret biological information

7. Apply critical thinking and the scientific approach


Introduction to Molecules, Cells and Organisms: This course aims to introduce students to the underlying principles and concepts of biology at the level of the molecule and cell. These fundamental units form the building blocks of complex multicellular organisms.

Cell Structure & Energetics:

  • Molecular basis of life
  • Introduction to cell structure & function
  • Relationship of biomolecular structure to cellular function
  • Components of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells
  • Origin of Life
  • Molecular genetics & protein synthesis
  • Enzyme function
  • Cellular metabolism
  • Photosynthesis
  • Glycolysis, fermentation, respiration

Cell Division & Regulation:

  • Molecular and cell biology of cell division
  • Regulation of gene expression
  • Inter and intra cellular communication
  • Cell differentiation/specialisation

Sex, Inheritance & Multicellular Organisms:

  • Meiosis & sexual reproduction
  • Genetics & mechanisms of inheritance
  • From cells to multicellular organisms


This course has similarities to BIOL1040 and BIOL1050. If you have successfully completed either of these courses you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

HSC Chemistry

HSC Mathematics Advanced or HSC Mathematics Standard

Assessment items

Formal Examination: Exam

Quiz: Quiz - Online

Contact hours

Callaghan and Ourimbah


Face to Face On Campus 52 hour(s) per Term Full Term

Contact hours are for a semester term. For a summer/winter term the lectures may be delivered either face to face compressed to the shorter term or as a blended course consisting of online lectures combined with workshops for students or as online only.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.