Open University

Open University

Capacities for managing development (T878)

Cells are the basic units of life. Cell biology seeks to understand not just the processes that are common to all life forms, but also the ways in which cells control their division and differentiate to form specialised tissues. This module builds from a foundation of molecular biology, with emphasis on animal cell biology. It explores how cells function and considers processes such as cell differentiation, ageing and tumorigenesis. It also develops skills in reading and understanding scientific literature and the handling of experimental data.

Entry requirements

This is an OU level 3 module that builds on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from previous studies at OU levels 1 and 2 and are intended only for students who have recent experience of higher education in a related subject. This module is most suitable for students who have studied exploring science (S104) at OU level 1 and cell biology (S294) or the molecular world (S205) or the discontinued S204 at OU level 2. If you have followed the human science strand of our curriculum (Human biology (SK277) or the discontinued module SD226, you will find the module equally relevant and interesting, but more challenging. We recommend that this module is not 1st first OU level 3 module and should be studied just before the OU level 3 project module, researching biology and health science (SXL390). As an OU level 3 module on a rapidly expanding subject, S377 is likely to present a challenge to its students in terms of the amount of information included in the module. The first book in S377 is more 'chemical' while the last three books are more 'biological'. If you're from a chemical background, you may find the biological content of the module demanding, while if you're from a biological background, you may find the groundwork chemistry in Book 1 more challenging. It is thus essential that you establish whether or not your background and experience give you a sound basis on which to tackle the module, since those who are appropriately prepared have the best chance of completing their studies successfully.

Assessment methods

Assessment is based on 3 tutor-marked assignments (TMAs); examination; no residential school.


Qualification Study mode Fee Course duration
Distance learning - 6 months

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
Distance Learning

Key information

Student Registration and Enquiry Service
Telephone number: 
0845 300 6090