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Here the prerequisites to the courses of the 1st year for students who have been admitted to the degree course.

From Atoms to Cells


The chemistry module is intended to provide a rigorous introduction to the fundamentals of general and bio-organic chemistry. The structure of this module meets the requirements of the area of life sciences and aims to offer a foundation for further study in chemistry-related disciplines such as biology, biochemistry, etc. Students are presumed to have a good background in high school chemistry and are expected to have previous knowledge on the following subjects:

  • structure and periodic properties of the atoms;
  • relative atomic and molecular mass (atomic and molecular weight);
  • covalent bond;
  • moles;
  • balance of reactions;
  • basic stoichiometric calculations;
  • solutions and molar concentration;
  • strong acids/bases;
  • pH.

Chemistry prerequisites can be reviewed in:

  • Meyers R, The basics of Chemistry, 2003, Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, London;
  • Nathan HD, Henrickson C, Chemistry (Cliffs Quick Review), 2001, Hungry Minds, Cleveland, OH; Indianapolis, IN; New York, NY;

(mostly found in Chapter 1 and Appendix of Textbook)

1. Mathematics

  • Powers and roots. Scientific notation. Decimal and significant figures. Solution of Algebraic Equations. Graphs. Plane Geometry and Trigonometric Functions. Series Expansions. Derivatives. Areas and volumes. The exponential function. Logarithms. Trigonometric identities. Integrals.

2. Phisycs

  • Physical quantities and their measurement. Standards. Units and errors. Systems of units. The International system (SI).
  • Vectors and operations with vectors (sum, difference and the three products).


M. Zinke-Allmang, K. Sills, R. Nejat, E. Galiano-Riveros, Physics for the life sciences, (2nd ed), Nelson (2012) 
ISBN: 9780176502683

Additional material can be found in the book Irving P. Herman, Physics of the Human Body, Springer (2007), available for free via the digital library of Università degli Studi di Milano.


It is assumed that students have a good understanding of basic genetics. The self-study programme includes the following topics: Mendelian genetics: Mendel’s Laws of Heredity, probability of inheritance and Punnett Squares, alleles and genes, dominant and recessive alleles, homozygous and heterozygous definitions. The basic rules of probability: the Sum and Product.

If students would like to brush up on genetics terminology, we suggest visiting the websites (National Human Genome Research Institute) and, or consulting the book 'Essential Genetics' by P. Russell., Cummings Ed.