DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU


Module Specifications

Archived Version 2019 - 2020

Module Title Basic Sciences for Engineering
Module Code FSH104
School Faculty of Science

Online Module Resources

Module Co-ordinatorDr Noel MurphyOffice NumberS350
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

To give the student an introduction to the main concepts in basic physics as required in mechanics, including units and measurements, vectors, kinematics and the physical quantities of displacement, velocity & acceleration, Newton s laws and rotational motion To develop an understanding of the basic concepts of chemistry, including the structure of atoms, electronic configuration, and orbital shapes. To understand the relationship between electronic configuration and chemical properties. To develop an appreciation of the chemical bond, both ionic and covalent. To provide the students with a basic grounding in the structure and organisation of biological cells relevant to further studies and applications in mechanical and electronic engineering. To introduce students to cellular processes and key components, including their roles in complex organisms. To introduce concepts of control and signalling in biological organisms.

Learning Outcomes

1. demonstrate an understanding of the main concepts in basic physics as required in mechanics, including units and measurements, vectors, kinematics and the physical quantities of displacement, velocity & acceleration, Newton s laws, work, energy, rotational motion, energy and momentum conservation laws and elasticity by describing/discussing these either in verbal or written form.
2. confidently use mathematics, including algebra, geometry, trigonometry and basic calculus (mainly differentiation) in tackling appropriate aspects of mechanics problems
3. derive the electronic structure of the elements
4. predict the chemical and physical properties of the elements based on their position in the periodic table
5. demonstrate an understanding of the nature of the chemical bond and estimate the bond-order for simple diatomic molecules.
6. describe aspects of cell and organism structure and function relevant to engineering applications.
7. indicate the scientific specialists relevant to the solution of an interdisciplinary problem outside the technology area of their own programme

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture60The Chemistry lectures normally run during the first six weeks only. The Physics and Life Sciences lectures run on a more regular timetable over the full semester
Tutorial12See timetable. Again the Chemistry component runs during the first half of the semester only
Independent Study178No Description
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Introduction, including recommended texts, What is science/the scientific method? The relationship between physics, chemistry and biology; Units, measurement, standards and measurment reliability; Linear motion (kinematics); Newton s Laws; Work, Energy and conservation Laws; Momentum and Impulse; Rotational motion; Equilibrium and elasticity; Beyond classical mechanics to quantum ideas;

Introduction to the structure of the atom from ancient ideas to modern quantum theory. Concept of orbitals to describe the behaviour of electrons. Assignment of electronic configurations to particular elements. Long form of the periodic table of the elements. Nature of the chemical bond, from ionic through to covalent. How modern quantum chemical approaches can provide ways of predicting the strength of chemical bonds.

Life Sciences for Engineers
Unit of structure, function and systems: the cell, prokaryotes vs. eukaryotes, the cell factory. Biological materials: Proteins, biology's workhorses (structure/ function, examples (insulin, hemoglobin), biological catalysis). Carbohydrates (sugars, glycoproteins). Lipids (classes, biological membranes). Extracellular matrix (composition, roles, diseases). Information systems: Heredity (Individual, Family, Population, Evolution), Chromosomes (Karyotyping), Genes, DNA, the Genetic Code, Regulation of gene activity, Cell differentiation & tissue specificity, Dolly the cloned sheep, Genetic mutation, developments & applications of the Human Genome Project. Signal transduction and amplification: overview of cell signalling processes, the cell cycle & cell division. Systems breakdown: basic biology of cancer.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment50% Examination Weight50%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Geoffrey M. Cooper, Robert E. Hausman: 2004, The Cell: a molecular approach ,, 3rd edition, ASM Press/ Sinauer Assocs,
  • Young and Freedman: 11, University Physics,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
BMEDB.Eng. in Biomedical Engineering
CAMB.Eng. Mechanical & Manufacturing Eng
CEB.Eng. in Common Entry into Engineering
ECEBEng Electronic & Computer Engineering
MEB.Eng. in Mechatronic Engineering