Molecular Biology - Online Biochemistry courses | Arts and Science Online

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Molecular Biology

BCHM 218/3.0

Molecules and macromolecules that participate in the replication and expression of genes. Current methods for exploring the structure, function, and manipulation of genetic material.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. explain how biomolecules (DNA, RNA, protein) function and interact to support life;
  2. critically assess primary research articles that address current problems and questions in biomedical and molecular sciences;
  3. apply research-based theories to solve problems related to biochemistry and molecular biology;
  4. use simulations and computer-based multimedia to model and mimic the behavior of biomolecules when conditions can be controlled in an in vitro-type experimental situation, and within the context of simulated cells; and
  5. collaborate with peers through problem-based learning activities and peer review to analyze and solve case studies related to course content, and to articulate clear solutions to these problems individually and as a group.


BCHM 218 is a foundational course to the study of molecular biology, focusing on the structural and functional properties and relationships of DNA, RNA and proteins, particularly the processes required to reliably pass genetic information from DNA to RNA to protein, and from one generation to the next. This course also examines how these processes are related to the development of human diseases and to basic biotechnology techniques and genetic engineering concepts that are critical for synthetic biological system creation and integration. This experience will arise through their involvement in the following four main elements of inquiry:

    Section 1: What are the properties and interactions of genetic information molecules?
    Section 2: How are genomes organized and protected, and how can they be studied?
    Section 3: How do organisms copy and edit genomes?
    Section 4: What are different ways that organisms regulate gene expression?


  • DNA, RNA and Proteins: Information Molecules of Living Systems
  • The chemical basis of information molecules (DNA, RNA and proteins)
  • Protein Structure and Folding
  • DNA and RNA structure and hybridization
  • Genes and Genomes
  • Genome packaging
  • DNA replication
  • DNA Recombination
  • Transcription: DNA-dependent synthesis of RNA
  • RNA processing
  • Protein Synthesis
  • Regulation of gene expression


Fall 2018
Course Dates: 
Sept 6 - Nov 30, 2018
Exam Dates: 
Dec 5 - 20, 2018


Online Quizzes20%
Problem-based Learning Activities20%
Group Project20%
Proctored Final Exam40%

**Evaluation Subject to change**

Live Sessions

This course has optional live sessions (e.g. webinars, synchronous activities).

Final Examination

Students must write their exam on the day and time scheduled by the University. The start time may vary slightly depending on the off-campus exam centre. Do not schedule vacations, appointments, etc., during the exam period.


Professor John Allingham ( / M. Ormiston

Time Commitment

Students can expect to spend approximately 9-10 hours a week (108-120 hours per term equivalent) in study/reading and online activity for BCHM 218.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

onQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into onQ to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the onQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

System Requirements:

  • Laptop or Desktop computer purchased within the last 5 years. (mobile devices are not supported)
  • Windows Vista SP2/Mac OSX 10.9 or higher
  • Up to date versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari. Please note that Google Chrome is not recommended for use in our courses.
  • Most recent version of Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash

 See also Getting Started.


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Upcoming Application Dates section.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for Summer Term 2018 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Domestic students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $685.90; for a 6.0-unit course, $1371.80 See also Tuition and Fees.

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.