Cell Biology

An introduction to the cellular basis of life. Spanning eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells; cellular structure and function; core biochemical components; mechanisms for generating genetic diversity; the flow of information within cells and between generations; gene expression; and a survey of the landscape of modern genomics, this course provides the conceptual foundation for subsequent courses on molecules, cells and organisms.

Course code

Qualifications are made up of courses. Some universities call these papers. Each course is numbered using six digits.



The fourth number of the course code shows the level of the course. For example, in course 219206, the fourth number is a 2, so it is a 200-level course (usually studied in the second year of full-time study).



Each course is worth a number of credits. You combine courses (credits) to meet the total number of credits needed for your qualification.




Course planning information

Course notes

Any domestic student or on-shore international student applying for selection into the Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) needs to enrol in the Manawatū (internal) offering of this course. Studying this course by distance would make you ineligible for BVSc selection.

Completion of all lab sessions and quizzes, the semester test and final exam is compulsory to pass the course. To pass the course students must also achieve a minimum of 40% in the final exam.

Expected prior learning

Passes in the following NCEA standards are highly recommended: level 1, AS90927 (microorganisms); level 2, AS91153 (practical investigation), AS91156 (cellular processes), AS91157 (genetic variation), AS91159 (gene expression); and at least 14 credits of Biology at level 3, or a pass in 162103. This course is tough if you don’t have the background. Find out if you have what you need by taking this biology readiness quiz .

Learning outcomes

What you will learn. Knowledge, skills and attitudes you’ll be able to show as a result of successfully finishing this course.

  • 1 Identify and describe cellular components and explain how they function.
  • 2 Describe and explain how genetic information is inherited, used and controlled in cells, and how genetic diversity is generated.
  • 3 Explain and illustrate the linkages between different concepts in cell biology, using appropriate discipline-specific vocabulary.
  • 4 Apply knowledge of cell biology concepts to explain practical applications and to analyse and draw conclusions from experimental data.
  • 5 Formulate and test a hypothesis using controlled experiments, analyse and interpret the results and communicate the outcome.
  • 6 Apply appropriate laboratory and analytical techniques to investigate questions in cell biology with due regard to safety.

Learning outcomes can change before the start of the semester you are studying the course in.


Assessment Learning outcomes assessed Weighting
Test 1 2 3 4 30%
Test 5 6 20%
Exam (centrally scheduled) 1 2 3 4 5 50%
Participation 1 2 3 4 5 6 0%

Assessment weightings can change up to the start of the semester the course is delivered in.

You may need to take more assessments depending on where, how, and when you choose to take this course.

Explanation of assessment types

Computer programmes
Computer animation and screening, design, programming, models and other computer work.
Creative compositions
Animations, films, models, textiles, websites, and other compositions.
Exam College or GRS-based (not centrally scheduled)
An exam scheduled by a college or the Graduate Research School (GRS). The exam could be online, oral, field, practical skills, written exams or another format.
Exam (centrally scheduled)
An exam scheduled by Assessment Services (centrally) – you’ll usually be told when and where the exam is through the student portal.
Oral or performance or presentation
Debates, demonstrations, exhibitions, interviews, oral proposals, role play, speech and other performances or presentations.
You may be assessed on your participation in activities such as online fora, laboratories, debates, tutorials, exercises, seminars, and so on.
Creative, learning, online, narrative, photographic, written, and other portfolios.
Practical or placement
Field trips, field work, placements, seminars, workshops, voluntary work, and other activities.
Technology-based or experience-based simulations.
Laboratory, online, multi-choice, short answer, spoken, and other tests – arranged by the school.
Written assignment
Essays, group or individual projects, proposals, reports, reviews, writing exercises, and other written assignments.

Textbooks needed

Textbooks can change. We recommend you wait until at least seven weeks before the semester starts to buy your textbooks.



Campus books for Manawatu and Albany.Online publisher (Pearson) for distance/offshore offerings

Campus Books stock textbooks and legislation. For more information visit Campus Books.