Biology (BIOL) 401

Cell Biology (Revision 6)

BIOL 401

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: BIOL 204 and BIOL 205 OR BIOL 204 and BIOL 207 or equivalent.

Faculty: Faculty of Science & Technology

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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 and Function
  • Unit 3: Cell Communication and Signal Transduction
  • Unit 4: Bioenergetics and Enzymes
  • Unit 5: Glycolysis, Fermentation, Gluconeogenesis, and the TCA Cycle
  • Unit 6: Electron Transport, Oxidative Phosphorylation, and Photosynthesis
  • Unit 7: DNA Structure, Replication, and Repair
  • Unit 8: Transcription and RNA Processing
  • Unit 9: The Genetic Code and Protein Synthesis
  • Unit 10: Gene Regulation and Epigenetic Inheritance
  • Unit 11: The Cytoskeleton and Cell Motility
  • Unit 12: Cell Division and the Cell Cycle

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you should be able to

  • identify cellular structures and their functions for prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
  • discuss the metabolic processes of cells and their importance in energy generation and synthesis of cellular building blocks.
  • describe the structure of DNA and explain the processes of DNA replication, transcription, and translation.
  • outline the processes of cell division and cell death and their role in genetic diversity and disease.
  • articulate the components of the cytoskeleton and outline their role in cell motility and muscle contraction.
  • conduct literature searches and read journal publications in cell biology to write an essay and participate in discussions on topics relevant to cell biology.
  • apply knowledge of cell biology processes to evaluate topics related to health and disease.


To receive credit for BIOL 401, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least D (50 percent), and a grade of at least 50 percent on each of the course assignments, the midterm examination, and the final examination. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 10%
Assignment 2 10%
Assignment 3 (Essay) 20%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 30%
Total 100%

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

Course Materials


Bergtrom, G. (2016). Cell and Molecular Biology: What We Know & How We Found Out, 2nd edition. An Annotated Creative Commons (Open Access) iText.

Challenge Evaluation

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

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit 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 6, July 5, 2019.

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