EPIDEMIOLOGY OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES - 2025/6

Module code: BMS3073

Module Overview

Microbes can be categorised and studied according to a number of characteristics such as their physiology; pathogenicity, and cellular interaction with hosts. This module builds on those themes already covered on the bioscience programmes in dealing with the spread of microbes through populations, and features of host and vector populations that influence this spread.

Module provider

School of Biosciences

Module Leader

COTTELL Alison (Biosciences)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

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

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 7

Independent Learning Hours: 94

Lecture Hours: 16

Tutorial Hours: 2

Guided Learning: 25

Captured Content: 6

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

BMS2037 (CELLULAR MICROBIOLOGY AND VIROLOGY) and/or BMS3079 (HUMAN MICROBIAL DISEASES)

Module content

Indicative content includes:

 

•               Introduction to epidemiology

•               Epidemics, disease patterns, and mathematical modelling of outbreaks

•               Analytical studies: Cohort and case control studies

•               Bias and confounding factors

•               Emerging bacterial and viral pathogens

•               Vaccine evaluation; design of trials, analysis of data, and new vaccine concepts

•               Antimicrobial therapies to control disease transmission

•               The use of screening programmes in epidemiology

•               Emergence of new influenza strains: epidemic vs pandemic

•               Molecular diagnosis and methods for typing microorganisms

•               Reservoirs of infection: Zoonosis and foodborne disease

 

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework COURSEWORK - CASE STUDY 50
Examination Online ONLINE EXAM (1hr in a 2hr window) 50

Alternative Assessment

N/A

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:


  • Understanding of the cycle of infection and factors which influence the spread of infectious disease, and use this information to analyse the control points for selected infectious diseases

  • Ability to evaluate prevention and control strategies such as vaccines and antimicrobials, together with use of screening tools

  • Ability to discuss epidemiological methods for detection, analysis and control of outbreaks of infection and epidemics, and analyse simple epidemiological data

  • Understanding of the methods available for typing microorganisms and their application to epidemiological investigation

  • Consideration of geopolitical and socio-economic factors in influencing the prevalence of infectious diseases



 

  Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

# Case study: online test; open-book; deadline: Week 34 or 35 (dependent on where Easter break falls) (50%) – this assessment addresses learning outcomes 1-5

 

# Online exam: A one-hour exam, with MCQ / EMQ, and short-answer questions (50%) – this assessment addresses learning outcomes 1-5

 

Formative assessment

Formative quizzes will be provided as part of the computer workshop in the form of exercises to work thorough will immediately feedback into the preparation for the case study coursework. Formative online tests are available as preparation for the exam, with immediate feedback.

Feedback

Individual feedback for the coursework assignment will be provided, together with a broader discussion of the assessment as part of a tutorial at the end of the module

Module aims

  • Enable students to gain a critical understanding of the principles underlying the spread of infectious disease
  • Develop an understanding of the science behind treatment and prevention strategies such as vaccination and antimicrobial chemotherapy
  • Develop the ability to apply methods for studying the spread of disease through the use of examples and simulations
  • Critically evaluate select outbreaks of disease through detailed case studies
  • Consider geopolitical and socio-economic factors that influence prevalence of infectious disease

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Understand the cycle of infection and factors which influence the spread of infectious disease, and use this information to analyse the control points for selected infectious diseases KC
002 Evaluate prevention and control strategies such as vaccines and antimicrobials, together with use of screening tools KC
003 Understand epidemiological methods for detection, analysis and control of outbreaks of infection and epidemics, and analyse simple epidemiological data KCPT
004 Discuss the methods available for typing microorganisms and their application to epidemiological investigation KC
005 Consider geopolitical and socio-economic factors in influencing the prevalence of infections diseases 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:

Introduce fundamental principles of epidemiology and control of infectious diseases, and develop an understanding of     these principles using data from genuine outbreaks.

The learning and teaching methods include:


  • Lectures

  • Tutorials and workshops; including data analysis; outbreak simulation, discussion in small sized classes.



 

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

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: BMS3073

Other information

Resourcefulness & resilience: Part of the coursework includes activities that require self-directed learning from students, seeking out information from online resources and analysis of past microbial pathogens outbreaks. Students are given some direction for these components but need to engage in self-directed learning to complete these successfully.

Global & cultural capabilities: This module includes many case studies and coursework exercises that foster discussion of emerging diseases, and outbreaks, from a global perspective. This includes, for example, discussion of cholera outbreaks in war-torn and resource-limited countries, and health inequalities highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sustainability: This module deals with antimicrobial resistance resulting from overuse in humans and other animals. Control of resistance through sustainable use of these drugs is covered. The link between environmental destruction and emerging infectious disease is discussed in lectures on this module

Digital capabilities: Data analysis skills are used to analysis outbreak data, consistent with those methods that would be used for publishing epidemiological research. 

Employability: Outbreak investigation workshops are based on genuine epidemics and involve qualitative and quantitative approaches that are used by professional epidemiologists for understanding real-world outbreaks.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Veterinary Biosciences BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biological Sciences (Infection and Immunity) BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Biological Sciences (Animal Biology and Ecology) BSc (Hons) 2 Optional 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
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

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 2025/6 academic year.