Module code: BMS2045

Module Overview

The purpose of this module is to provide a conceptual understanding of the key principles of human immunology, including the immune response to infection and foreign antigens. Such an understanding is crucial in many other parts of the program, including the pathogenicity of infectious disease, oncology and pharmacology. It is a prerequisite for modules at FHEQ 6 including BMS3054 (Clinical Immunology and Immunohaematology).

Module provider

School of Biosciences

Module Leader

BODMAN-SMITH Kikki (Biosciences)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 84

Lecture Hours: 16

Tutorial Hours: 9

Laboratory Hours: 3

Guided Learning: 22

Captured Content: 16

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

• Theme 1 – Cells and Tissue of the immune system (myloid and lymphoid lineages, bone marrow, thymus, spleen,  MALT, lymph nodes)
• Theme 2 – The innate immune response (complement, phagocytosis, PRRs, PAMPs)
• Theme 3 – Antigens and antigen receptors (antigens, immunogens, antibodies, TCR, BCR, MHC class I and II, antigen presentation)
• Theme 4 – The adaptive immune response: dynamics of the immune response (activation/costimulation/differentiation of T cells, cytokines, germinal centres, class switching, somatic hypermutation/affinity maturation)
• Theme 5 – The adpative immune response: tolerance, hypersensitivity and mucosal immunity (central and peripheral tolerance mechanisms, type I/II/III/IV and V hypersensitivity, mucosal structure and functions, sIgA)
• Practical session on enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) and on-line activities based on the practical technique of  flow cytometry

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Online Scheduled Summative Class Test ONLINE (OPEN BOOK) MCQ TEST WITHIN A 4HR WINDOW (1 HOUR) 30

Alternative Assessment

If practical components require re-assessment there will be a written exam to assess the underlying principles of the appropriate learning outcomes. This will reflect the material covered in the original assessment and will carry the same weighting. Students must hand in a completed laboratory workbook for the Flow Cytometry practical.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their conceptual understanding of theoretical and practical immunology within each of the thematic areas as defined by the Learning Profiles. The in-class test format assesses the learning within specific themes, whereas the final MCQ assesses the overall learning in the module.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • One  in-class tests which is 75mins long and has 60 mixed MCQs. These will be based upon the combined learning in Themes 1, 2 and 3.

  •  A practical report of the ELISA practical

  •  A final exam consisting of 100 MCQs in 2 hours, examining learning across the 5 themes, as well as theoretical aspects of the practicals.

Formative assessment and feedback

  • There are formative MCQs (10 apiece) and SAQs (2 apiece) available on SurreyLearn after the tutorial for each theme. Students receive immediate feedback on their performance, which contains explanations for each correct answer.

  • The correct and model answers for the in-course in-class test MCQs respectively are given during the first lecture following the test, giving the students early feedback on their performance.

  •  Students complete Learning Profiles in the SurreyLearn throughout the module and the pre-tutorial profile can be used to guide the curricula areas for further exploration.

  • Students receive on-line feedback on their numerical skills by completing the pre-practical calculation test before he practical sessions. For the Flow Cytometry practical activity, students must complete a laboratory work book during/before  the session, and immediate group feedback will be given by academics before the session ends. Written feedback on the ELISA practical report is given both on the scripts and also in some general feedback which is provided on SurreyLearn

  • The ELISA practical reports are completed in groups of 2. Currently problems within groups pertaining to group work or group dynamics are reported informally to the module convenor/practical lead, and students are informed of their right to make a formal complaint about the contribution of a group member to the module convenor in writing (via email)

Module aims

  • Help students become familiar with the terms used in immunology
  • Develop their understanding of how immunity works by starting from the fundamental components of the reactions involved and building on these to describe the cellular and biochemical events which protect an organism against disease
  • Provide an understanding and hands-on experience of techniques used in immunology together with experimental design and data analysis

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Have a sound knowledge of the cells and tissues which comprise the immune system KC
002 Have a thorough command of the basic principles of immunology KC
003 Be able to illustrate and understand some useful applications of the principles of immunology PT
004 Have learned the basis of a number of laboratory techniques used in immunology PT

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 the students with a blended-learning approach to a complex subject and to encourage semester-long self-study and deep learning. The module is divided into the 5 themes outlined above, and each theme consists of 3 hours of didactic lectures (in a large group) and a 1 hour small group tutorial.. Each tutorial focuses on one immunological theme and the students undertake guided learning activities that are designed to encourage active learning, peer-to-peer learning, spatial learning and conceptual themes in a more constructivist approach. This cycle is repeated for each of the 5 themes each extending over 2 weeks of the semester. The students take one short (40 minute) summative in-class test consisting of mixed MCQs/SAQs after themes 1-3. These examine their learning of theme 1-3 LOs. The strategy also incorporates ‘Learning Profiles’ (self-assessed competency matrices) which are designed to help the students guide their self-study as they prepare for the in-class test and exam.

The practical component of the strategy is to engage the students with the principles of immunological tests that are used in a wide range of bioscience and clinical research settings. The practicals are also designed to each align with one theme, and provide an alternative learning environment for the concepts that underlie both the experimentation and the techniques.

The learning and teaching methods include:
• Theme lectures – 3hours of lectures per fortnight x5
• Theme tutorials – one 1hour tutorial per fortnight x5
• In-class test – a MCQ test after themes 1-3
• Practical sessions – one 3hours, one on-line self study and tutorial supported
• Practical lecture – two 1hour lectures and a 1hour tutorial on data analysis
• Revision sessions – one 2hour session, using the electronic voting system

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: BMS2045

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Microbiology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biomedical Science BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biomedical Science MSci (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biochemistry BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biochemistry MSci (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biological Sciences BSc (Hons) 2 Optional 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

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.