Biology (BIOL) 401

Cell Biology (Revision 5)

BIOL 401

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: BIOL 204, BIOL 205, and BIOL 206; or BIOL 204 and BIOL 207; or equivalent undergraduate courses taken at a recognized post-secondary institution.

Faculty: Faculty of Science & Technology

Biology Studies home page

BIOL 401 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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BIOL 401 focuses on essential principles and processes in cell biology and integrates these in the context of molecular biology. This senior-level course considers cell structure and function, bioenergetics, membranes, molecular genetics, and intercellular signalling.


  • Unit 1: Cells and Organelles
  • Unit 2: Membrane Structure, Function and Chemistry
  • Unit 3: Membrane Transport
  • Unit 4: Electrical Signals in Nerve Cells
  • Unit 5: Messengers and Receptors
  • Unit 6: Intracellular Compartments
  • Unit 7: Glycolysis and Fermentation
  • Unit 8: Aerobic Respiration
  • Unit 9: Photosynthesis
  • Unit 10: Cellular Information: DNA, Chromosomes and the Nucleus
  • Unit 11: The Cell Cycle, DNA Replication, Mitosis and Cancer
  • Unit 12: Sexual Reproduction, Meiosis and Genetic Variability
  • Unit 13: The Genetic Code and Transcription
  • Unit 14: Protein Synthesis and Sorting
  • Unit 15: The Regulation of Gene Expression
  • Unit 16: Cytoskeletal Structure and Function
  • Unit 17: Cellular Movement: Motility and Contractility


To receive credit for BIOL 401, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least ā€œDā€ (50 percent), and grade of at least 50 percent on each of the course assignments, the mid-term, and the final examination. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Assignment 1 Assignment 2 Assignment 3 Essay Midterm Exam Final Exam Total
10% 10% 20% 30% 30% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Becker, Wayne M., Kleinsmith, Lewis J., Hardin, J., and Bertoni, G. P. (2009). The World of the Cell (7th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pearson Benjamin Cummings.

Scientific American. (2010). Current Issues in Cell, Molecular Biology & Genetics (vol. 2). San Francisco, CA: Benjamin Cummings.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the BIOL 401 challenge registration, you must achieve an overall grade of at least ā€œDā€ (50 percent) on the examination.

Paper Exam

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 5, November 29, 2013.

View previous syllabus

Updated May 10 2016 by Student & Academic Services