Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This is an introductory unit that explores the molecular basis of life at the cellular level through a flipped classroom, active learning experience. Students will engage with learning materials; e.g. videos (i.e. recorded lectures) and readings, in preparation for activities in workshops and laboratories, which will be continuously assessed throughout semester. The theoretical content of the unit is divided into four major themes: (1) DNA, with a focus on recombinant DNA technology; (2) information flow from DNA to RNA, with an emphasis on how this is regulated at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels; (3) the protein life cycle, involving an examination of protein synthesis and catabolism pathways; and (4) proteins as functional molecules, where the fundamentals of enzyme action are highlighted.

Detailed content includes (1) role of DNA polymerases in DNA replication, tools of the molecular biologist, cloning, genetic recombination and DNA sequencing; (2) transcriptional regulation of genes, post-transcriptional processing and methods to quantify mRNA transcripts; (3) protein synthesis in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, control of protein synthesis, post-translational modifications, protein targeting, protein catabolism and antibodies as tools of discovery; and (4) proteins as enzymes, enzyme kinetics, proteolytic enzymes, and enzymes as tools of discovery. The laboratories introduce students to modern technologies used in commercial and research laboratories, which include fundamental techniques of homogenisation, centrifugation, spectrophotometry, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and enzyme kinetics.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Molecular Life Sciences; Biochemistry of Nutrition; Plant Biology major sequences
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) develop a broad knowledge of the fundamentals of biochemistry and molecular biology; (2) develop an understanding of the 'language' of biochemistry and molecular biology; (3) develop knowledge of the chemistry, structures and functions of biological molecules in a cellular context; and (4) in the laboratory class: (i) acquire in-depth knowledge about key techniques in biochemistry and molecular biology; (ii) develop laboratory skills required for scientific problem solving; (iii) further develop quantitative reasoning skills; (iv) develop skills to communicate scientific information in written and oral forms; and (v) develop collaborative skills.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) continuous assessment of engagement with theory component learning materials and participation in workshop activities using online quizzes; (2) an end-of-semester examination; and (3) continuous assessment of laboratory component using online quizzes and marked reports. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Peter Arthur (00014692)
Unit rules
Successful completion of two Unit(s)
SCIE1106 Molecular Biology of the Cell
or SCIX1106 Molecular Biology of the Cell
and CHEM1004 Biological Chemistry
or BIOC1001 Introductory Cellular Biochemistry
or CHEM1002 Chemistry—Structure and Reactivity
or CHEX1002 Chemistry Structure and Reactivity
Unit(s) BIOC2201 Biochemistry of the Cell
and Unit(s) SCIE2225 Molecular Biology
Contact hours
Workshops: 12x 90 minutes

Laboratories: 6x 3 hours

Post-laboratory sessions: 4x 90 minutes
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.