Cell Structure and Function - 2016

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 1
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Web Dependent
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: SP2 , SP4
  • Availability for 2017: SP2 , SP4
  • Assessment: Invigilated Exam (50%) , Practicum - On Campus Practicals (25%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2016 Fees
Domestic 1,864.00
International 2,114.00

This unit introduces you to the biology of eukaryotic cells, emphasising cells as the basic unit of life and their evolutionary origins. Topics covered include: cellular macromolecules and molecular diversity; organelle structures and functions; cellular energetics; experimental techniques used to examine cells; membranes and movement of molecules; enzymes and enzyme regulation; cellular respiration, fermentation and photosynthesis; DNA, the genetic code, RNA and gene transcription, protein synthesis and cell division.

This unit lays the foundation for more advanced studies in biotechnology, biochemistry, genetics, molecular and organismal biology.

Please note the dates below for the compulsory requirement for this unit to attend laboratory classes at RMIT University's City Campus in central Melbourne:

2016, Study Period 2:

  • Jun 27 - Jul 1, 2016 - 9am - 1pm

2016, Study Period 4:

  • Feb 6 - 10, 2017 - 9am - 1pm

Please Note: In order to pass this unit, students must achieve a mark of at least 40% in the final exam.

At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. explain the concept of cells as the fundamental building blocks of life
  2. explain the way in which all cells share a set of basic characteristics
  3. explain the role of various classes of macromolecules in cell structure and function
  4. explain the way in which cell and organelle membranes contribute to cellular functions
  5. explain the mechanisms and energy flows underpinning cellular metabolism
  6. relate how protein structure is related to their various functions
  7. relate how energy flows through processes such as photosynthesis, cellular respiration and fermentation
  8. understand how DNA is a store of genetic information and how it is replicated and transcribed into proteins
  9. explain the way in which cells divide to enable growth and reproduction and the genetic controls on these processes
  10. undertake laboratory procedures useful to investigating cellular structure and process
  11. interpret experimental data and draw appropriate conclusions based on theoretical concepts
  12. have practical and conceptual knowledge of cell biology to undertake further studies in genetics, biochemistry, molecular, plant and animal biology or related fields.
  • Invigilated Exam (50%)
  • Practicum — On Campus Practicals (25%)
  • Test — Online Tests (25%)
For more information on invigilated exams see Exams and results

This is an introductory unit requiring no formal prerequisites but an understanding of chemistry to senior secondary level is helpful.

  • Broadband access
  • Some on campus attendance — Mandatory on campus attendance of laboratory classes

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Introduction to eukaryotic cells and microscopy
2Chemical composition of cells and macromolecules
3Biological membranes and movement of molecules
4Eukaryotic cell organelles
5Cellular energetics and thermodynamics
7Cellular respiration and fermentation
9DNA replication, gene transcription and protein synthesis
10Cell division and cell cycle regulation

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Print based materials

  • Welcome Letter

Online materials

  • Audio/Video - Streaming
  • Online Assessment
  • Quizzes
  • Resources and Links

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a unit.

Click on the titles of the listed books below to find out more:

Required textbooks

  • Essential Cell Biology


    ISBN: 9780815344551


    Supplier:Go to The Co-op Bookshop

  • Enquire online

    Need to ask a question that's best put down in words?
    Make an online enquiry.

    Enquire now

    Ready to enrol?

    Start studying this unit now.


    Got a question?

    Get an answer from one of our friendly Student Advisors.