The Chemical Foundations of Life

Kingston University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    The Chemical Foundations of Life

  • Host University

    Kingston University

  • Location

    London, England

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Previous introductory chemistry study useful

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Course Content:

    The module is intended to introduce basic chemistry from first principles with particular
    emphasis on application to biology and biochemistry. The module also provides students
    with an understanding of the structure and function of the major classes of biological

    Autumn Semester content summary: carbon structures, chemical reactions and

    ? Structure of the atom: protons, neutrons, electrons; electrons and orbitals;
    metals and non-metals, ions, radicals.
    ? Structure of molecules; from small organics to large biomolecules, identification
    and naming of common functional groups.
    ? Atomic and molecular measurements; molecular mass, moles, concentration
    ? 3D molecular shape and isomerism: optical and geometrical isomerism,
    configuration and conformations.
    ? Bonding within molecules (covalent) and between molecules (ionic, hydrogen,
    van der Waals).
    ? Distribution of electrons within molecules; electronegativity; inductive and
    resonance effects.
    ? Movement of electrons between molecules; making and breaking of bonds;
    equilibrium, substitution, elimination, reduction and oxidation reactions.
    ? Common reactions of organic and bio-organic molecules.
    ? Water; physical, solvent and colligative properties.
    ? Acids and bases, pH and pKa.

    Spring Semester content summary: fundamental biochemistry of proteins, lipids,
    carbohydrates, bioenergetics and enzyme kinetics.

    ? An introduction to structures and functions of the major groups of biomolecules
    Proteins; amino acids, peptides and proteins, protein structure and function;
    Carbohydrates; mono-, di- and polysaccharides, structure and functions;
    Lipids; fatty acids, triacylglycerols, membrane lipids and sterols.
    ? Bioenergetic principles and an overview of energy-generating pathways and their
    roles in aerobic and anaerobic respiration (glycolysis, citric acid cycle and
    oxidative phosphorylation).
    ? Kinetics of reactions: order, simple integrated rate equations, Arrhenius
    ? Introduction to enzyme kinetics (Km, Vmax, competitive and non-competitive
    ? Laboratory skills: titrations, qualitative chemical analysis, the effect of
    temperature change on rate. Construction and use of standard curves in
    quantitating unknown analytes.

    Teaching: Lectures, tutorials, workshops and practical sessions

    ? Exam: MCQ and SAQ test (50%)
    ? Practical: MCQ test (15%)
    ? Coursework: Written reports, online tests, problem worksheet (35%)
    ? On line report for titration practical, practical MCQ test, taught material MCQ
    ? Proforma based practical report on enzyme kinetics and protein assay practicals,
    MCQ & SAQ test on taught material.

    Study Option 1 = Whole Year
    Study Option 2 = Autumn
    Study Option 3 = Spring/summer

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.


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