Module code: BMS1035

Module Overview

This is a practical module, the aim of which, is to equip students with the key technical skills used in bacteriology and to familiarize them with key diagnostic tests. It also introduces students to a range of medically and environmentally important bacteria and is a   key module for the microbiology programs.

Module provider

School of Biosciences and Medicine

Module Leader

PARK SF Dr (Biosc & Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

JACs code: C530

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 400

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

This module has a capped number and may not be available to ERASMUS and other international exchange students. Please check with the Global Engagement Office exchange and study abroad team.

Module content

Indicative content includes:

• Revision of microscopy and aseptic technique
• The Human microflora: skin, mobile phone and dental microbiology
• The Enterobacteriaceae - isolation and characterisation
• Pseudomonads and use of the membrane filtration technique for isolation from swimming pool water
• Vibrios and the use of the Most Probable Number method for enumeration
• Staphylococcus and Micrococcus:
      a. Isolation from the body and wound infections
      b. Monitoring the microbiological quality of air
• Bacillaceae:  The Gram positive spore forming rods
• Antibiotics:
      a. Antibiotic production (Actinomycetes and related bacteria)
      b. Antimicrobial interaction and testing for antibiotic resistance
• The pathogenic bacteria associated with gastroenteritis
• Poster presentation

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework POSTERS 7
Practical based assessment EXAMINATION - PRACTICAL EXAMINATION - 180 MINUTES 30

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate: their understanding of the techniques, and ability to physically carry these out, through a practical exam, written reports, and short online assessments. In addition, students work in small groups towards a poster presentation concerning a named bacterium.  

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

·         Four full practical reports (50%) (500-2000 words)

·         Three short online assessments (13%) (20 minutes each)

·         A group poster presentation (7%)

·         3hr practical exam (30%)

Formative assessment and feedback

Students receive extensive written and verbal feedback on their practical write-ups and automatically generated feedback from  the online assessments. There is also a drop-in exam revision session where the students can practice techniques and calculations.  

Module aims

  • To re-familiarise students with the techniques of microscopy and the production and handling of pure cultures
  • To equip students with a variety of enumeration techniques for isolating important bacteria from water sources
  • To familiarise students with basic skills for isolating selected groups of bacteria from different environments
  • To familiarise students with basic skills for isolating and identifying pathogenic bacteria in clinical samples
  • To provide familiarity with a wide range of commonly used selective and diagnostic media
  • To provide an introduction to antibiotic producing organisms and the techniques using to detect antibiotic resistance in a clinical setting
  • To provide an opportunity for work in small groups towards a poster presentation

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Set up, interpret, and understand the biochemical background, of a range of diagnostic tests used in the identification of selected groups of bacterial KCP
002 Perform a Gram stain and using a microscope interpret its implications for bacterial identification
003 Carry out serial dilution and plate counting to estimate numbers of bacteria KCP
004 Perform the most probable number (MPN) method for enumerating low numbers of bacteria in water KCP
005 Perform the filtration method for enumerating low numbers of bacteria in water
006 Perform a number of tests aimed at identifying pathogenic bacteria in clinical samples
007 Apply knowledge of comparative structures and biochemical pathways to identify major groups of Gram negative bacteria including members of the Enterobacteriaceae, Pseudomonas and Vibrio. KCP
008 Apply knowledge of comparative structures and biochemical pathways to distinguish between major groups of Gram positive bacteria including: Bacillus, Clostridia, Staphylococcus and Micrococcus KCP
009 Consider the role of antibiotics and in driving selection of resistant variants of bacteria, and understand the techniques used to identify resistance to antibiotics and interpret the results of such tests KCP
010 Work in small groups towards a single goal T
011 Retrieve information from the internet and other resources T
012 Isolate, enumerate and identify of a range of important of micro-organisms KP
013 Be able to perform a variety of microscopy techniques KPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 120

Laboratory Hours: 30

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to: equip students with the  essential practical skills, and provide them with the background knowledge required for  bacteriology. Through practical and hands-on experience it is also designed to familiarize them with important groups of bacteria. 

The learning and teaching methods include: hands-on and direct practical experience of the techniques and bacteria (3hr practicals x 10). Student understanding is assessed and reinforced through practical write ups and feedback, and via short online assessments. As part of a small group (5), the students also get the opportunity to work together to produce a poster on an important bacterium. 



Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Biomedical Science BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Veterinary Biosciences BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Microbiology BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.