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 programme, including the pathogenicity of infectious disease, oncology and pharmacology. It is a prerequisite for modules at FHEQ level 6 including BMS3054 (Clinical Immunology and Immunohaematology), BMS3102 (Advanced Topics in Cellular and Molecular Immunology) and BMS3104 (Applied Immunology).

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: 81

Lecture Hours: 16

Tutorial Hours: 9

Laboratory Hours: 6

Guided Learning: 21

Captured Content: 17

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

• Theme 1 – Cells and Tissue of the immune system (myeloid and lymphoid lineages, bone marrow, thymus, spleen, lymph nodes, mucosal associated lymphoid tissue, lymphatics adn cellular movement).
• Theme 2 – The innate immune response (non-specific external surface protection, innate immune cell recognition of foreign material, phagocytosis, inflammation and complement).
• Theme 3 – Antigens and antigen receptors (antigens, immunogens, antibodies, T and B cell receptors, 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, secretory IgA).
• Practical session on enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) and  Flow Cytometry.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Online Scheduled Summative Class Test ONLINE (OPEN BOOK) MCQ TEST WITHIN A 4HR WINDOW (75 minutes) 30

Alternative Assessment

For the practical components re-assessment there will be a written assignment 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.  This can be completed individually.   

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 (meeting the module learning outcomes 1 and part of 2).

  •  A practical report of the ELISA practical (meeting the module learning outcomes 3 and 4)

  •  A final exam consisting of 100 MCQs in 2 hours, examining learning across the 5 themes, as well as theoretical aspects of the practicals (meeting the module learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, and 4).

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 (and incorrect) answer.

  •  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 and in the ELISA write-up tutorial.

  • 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).

  • All pair/group submissions count as one submission, and all contributors have responsibility for ensuring that no academic misconduct has taken place.  If any part of a submission is found to have been produced as a result of academic misconduct (plagiarism, collusion etc), all pair/group members will receive the same penalty and must resubmit the work.

  • For the Flow Cytometry practical activity, students complete a laboratory worksheet during the session and immediate feedback is given by academics before the session ends.

Module aims

  • Help students become familiar with the terms used in immunology.
  • Develop students' 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 - thus mapping to the United Nation's sustainability goal 3: 'good health and wellbeing'
  • Provide an understanding and hands-on experience of techniques used in immunology employability settings together with experimental design and data analysis promoting resourcefulness and resilience.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Have a sound knowledge of the characteristics and roles of the cells and tissues which comprise the immune system. KC
002 Have a thorough command of the basic principles of immunology and how an immune response is activated and controlled. 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 summative in-class test consisting of mixed MCQs after themes 1-3. These examine their learning of theme 1-3 learning outcomes. 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 – two x  3hours with tutorial support
• Practical lecture – one captured video plus film plus pre-practical calculation test and  a one hour tutorial on data analysis for the ELISA practical and a 1hour pre-practical lecture for the Flow Cytometry practical session
• 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

Other information

Alignment to he University's curriculum framework attributes is as follows:

Resourcefulness and Resilience:

Self-directed flipped learning supported by small group active learning tutorials supports resilience and actively encourages resourcefulness as students work together to complete activities.

Global and cultural capabilities:



In line with the One Health approach, the module works towards relevant  Unitioed Nation's Sustainable Development Goal 3: good health and wellbeing.

Digital capabilities:

Use of various programmes such as Zoom and Panopto for online interaction and review of content. High content of digital external resources to support lectures.


Small active learning sessions encouraging teamwork and verbal communication/explanation of science. Two research/diagnostic relevant procedures (ELISA and Flow cytometry) covered at theoretical and practical level.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
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
Biochemistry BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory 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
Microbiology 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

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 2023/4 academic year.