BIOL211- Module Overview – Roisin Weaver

Lecture breakdown

BIOL211: Cell Biology is one of the compulsory modules you will do in the first term of your second year if you are doing Biomedicine, Biomedical Science, Biochemistry and other BLS-based degrees. Based on when I completed this module (18/19), the structure could be divided into 5 sub-topics which were covered across the 20 lectures:

Cell dynamics (lectures 1-4)

Membrane transport (lectures 5-8)

Cell signalling (lectures 9-12)

Cell division (lectures 10-16)

Development (lectures 17-20)

Labs, workshops & coursework

In the year that I did BIOL211, the module consisted of 2 lab sessions, one of which was split into 2 separate practicals, although the structure of labs, workshops and coursework may be slightly different in subsequent years. The first lab was based on immunolabelling and had an associated coursework. The second lab consisted of a calcium signalling practical, which results were used in a coursework, and a membrane transport practical which included non-assessed questions that provided practise for Section C of the summer exam. There was also a computer lab which did not count towards coursework and included a non-assessed online quiz featuring maths questions based on a computer activity.

There were 2 workshops: the first was based on essay-writing skills, including guidelines for referencing, warnings over plagiarism and some tips on how to get a good grade; and the second was an exam revision workshop which included an overview of the exam structure and a practice Section C question.


All of the theory modules follow the same structure of a 3 hour exam split into 3 sections. Section A includes 5 short answer questions, each worth 10 marks, which are all compulsory. Section B consists of a choice of 3 essay questions in which you choose one to answer and, similarly, Section C consists of a choice of 2 data analysis questions in which you only answer one.

Based on past papers, the Section C questions seem to include calculation and graph-drawing questions and test skills/content taught from the practicals and workshops.

Past papers can be found at the following link:


Learning about the inner-workings of our cells – from everything starting as a bundle of cells, to the formation of the cytoskeleton, down to the fine tuning that enables us to smell odours and see light – helped push me through revision and deadlines as the content was, at its core, so interesting that it balanced out the difficulty!

Overall, I’d recommend this module if you enjoyed BIOL112 and BIOL124 from first year as the content vastly overlaps, although BIOL211 goes into a lot more detail. For those who are already looking ahead and planning their third year modules, BIOL211 is a pre-requisite for BIOL301, BIOL302, BIOL303, BIOL332 and BIOL353 so make sure to pick it if you want to do those modules! More information on module selection can be found in the Part II handbook on the UG notices moodle page.