Module code: BMS1026

Module Overview

The purpose of this module is to introduce students to microorganisms, to the main cellular processes they perform and to how their activities affect humans and the environment. The students learn about microorganisms that cause disease as well as those who have properties we exploit for the benefit of mankind. Finally through laboratory practical exercises, the students learn and practice a range of basic microbiological techniques, which are essential for the cultivation and study of microorganisms. This module provides students with key skills and a basic broad knowledge of microbiology; a fundamental discipline required for future endeavours in the fields of infectious disease, biotechnology, biomedical science, biological science and other medically-related fields.

Module provider

School of Biosciences

Module Leader

RITCHIE Jennifer (Biosciences)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 100

Lecture Hours: 20

Tutorial Hours: 11

Laboratory Hours: 9

Captured Content: 10

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Introduction to Microbiology

  • Bacteria, their growth and genetics

  • Viruses – the infectious cycle, genomes and structure

  • Protozoan microorganisms

  • Fungi

  • Epidemiology of pathogens

  • Human-associated microbiota

  • Microbe-environment interactions

  • Microbial metabolism: human health and disease

  • Food- and water-borne diseases

  • Respiratory diseases

  • Animal transmitted diseases

  • Sexually transmitted diseases

  • Immune response to disease-causing organisms

  • Prevention and treatment of pathogenic diseases

  • Microbial products and microbial biodiversity

  • Primary metabolites

  • Secondary metabolites and recombinant DNA products

  • Culture, microscopy and staining techniques

  • Enumerating and measuring bacteria

  • Isolating bacteria from the environment

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment

Lab book (experimental data and images of experimental results) and data analysis exercise

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge by correctly answering multiple choice style questions designed to test their understanding of basic microbiological principles.  Using this approach, we are able to assess knowledge across a broad range of topics within a short period of time. In addition, the practical component is designed to introduce the students to basic techniques in microbiology as well as develop their ability to keep accurate laboratory records and analyse experimental data.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Final MCQ exam (80%) consisting of 90 multiple choice style questions to be answered in 90 minutes within a 4h window.

  • Coursework (20%) – an -on-line test assessing data recording and basic statistical analyses capabilities. This exercise gives the students an opportunity to record observations from microbiological experiments and to analyse data generated from such experiments. 

Formative assessment and feedback

The students will have the opportunity to complete weekly/biweekly on-line multiple choice style mini-tests, as part of formative assessment.  These mini-tests will be made available at the end of each topic and consist of three question formats that are used in the final exam. The mini-tests will be available on SurreyLearn and upon completion, students will receive their mark and when appropriate, question-specific feedback on those they answered incorrectly. Students will be able to retake the tests as often as they like. In addition to the mini-tests, all lecturers on this module use a range of tools (e.g. electronic voting, worksheet examples or peer-to-peer learning) to assess learning and understanding during their lectures. Guidance and practice data and statistical analyses test examples are also used to prepare students for their coursework assignments. 

Module aims

  • Introduce students to the major groups of microorganisms
  • Give students a basic understanding of how a bacterial cell and virus functions
  • Introduce students to what constitutes our natural microbiota and how it impacts our health
  • Introduce students to a range of disease-causing organisms and how they are transmitted
  • Introduce students to the role of microorganisms for the maintenance of processes that allow life to exist
  • Examine the ways in which microbial processes can be managed and manipulated for the benefit of mankind and the environment
  • Introduce students to the range of basic microbiological techniques used when working with microorganisms in the laboratory

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Appreciate the importance of Microbiology in society KC
002 Define the basic processes carried out by a microbial cell K
003 Understand how viruses replicate and contribute to disease in a host K
004 Explain how the information contained in the microbial DNA is translated into proteins K
005 Describe the distribution and main species of microorganisms associated with the human body and be aware of their impact on human health
006 Describe the basic principles of epidemiology and its importance in the spread of plant and human diseases K
007 Distinguish between the importance (and transmission routes) of a variety of disease causing micro-organisms KC
008 Be aware of the measures that can be employed to combat infectious diseases K
009 Describe how the metabolism of some micro-organisms can be utilised for the benefit of humans (ranging from antibiotic production, food processing, to alcohol production KC
010 Describe how different micro-organisms grow and cover their energy requirements K
011 Understand the application of, and perform basic microbiology techniques, and analyse and report associated data scientifically CPT
012 Compare and contrast the structure and biology of various categories of micro-organisms and consider their evolutionary relationships. K
013 Understand the importance of microbial biodiversity and ecology in the context of the human microbiome; the physical environment, and in biotechnology applications KC

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to: provide students with a solid basic knowledge of microorganisms and key microbial processes.  Furthermore, it provides the students will critical practical skills essential for working with microorganisms in the laboratory and begins to develop their skills in scientific writing. As such, this FHEQ level 4 module is designed to provide students with a framework from which to build their knowledge and inform further learning in the medically-related subjects covered as part of the Degree programme. 

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • lectures (approximately 2 x 1 hour lecture per week for 10 weeks)

  • tutorials (approximately 1 x 1 hour per week over module)

  • formative assessment exercises (on-line mini-tests (duration approx. 30 mins) every 1-2 weeks)

  • practical classes (3 x 3 hour sessions, typically over 3 weeks)

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

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: BMS1026

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Microbiology BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biomedical Science BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biomedical Science MSci (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biochemistry BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biochemistry MSci (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biological Sciences BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Veterinary Biosciences BSc (Hons) 1 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 2022/3 academic year.