Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)


Department: Biosciences


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham


  • • Level 1 Physiology (BIOL1151); Level 1 Molecules and Cells (BIOL1281).


  • • At least one other Level 2 Biological Sciences or Biomedical Sciences Module

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • • Level 2 Ecology (BIOL2461)


  • To provide a thorough grounding in all aspects of the immune system of mammals.
  • To relate the immune system to diseases, caused by both exogenous and endogenous factors.
  • To explore potential therapies which exploit the immune system or correct immunodeficiencies


  • Innate and adaptive immunity.
  • Identity and autoimmunity.
  • Vaccines.
  • Immunodeficiency.
  • Hypersensitivity.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • To understand the molecular and cellular basis of antigen receptor diversity, clonal selection and immunological specificity and memory.
  • Knowledge of the cellular and molecular basis of adaptive and innate immunity.
  • To understand aspects of immunopathology related to specific immunodeficiencies.
  • Knowledge of how the immune system plays major roles in medical applications such as vaccines and transplantation technology.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Practical skills in carrying out immunoassays involved in antigen detection and characterisation.
  • Practical skills in carrying out immunoassays for diagnostics.
Key Skills:
  • Numeracy, in data analysis, and calculations involved in data handling.
  • Communication skills, using the written word and graphics, involved in practical reports.
  • Team work, working in small groups in practical classes.
  • Self-motivation, in self-guided learning.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures deliver subject-specific knowledge.
  • Workshops reinforce subject-specific knowledge and understanding gained from lectures and the development of key and subject-specific skills.
  • Practical classes allow students to utilise subject-specific knowledge gained from lectures, and support the development of key and subject-specific skills.
  • Tutorials give enhancement of the student learning experience, supporting attainment of all learning outcomes.
  • Self-guided learning contributes to subject-specific knowledge and self-motivation.
  • Practical reports are based on subject-specific knowledge and demonstrate subject-specific skills in carrying out experimental work and data analysis, as well as key skills.
  • Problem Exercises (Data Handling) demonstrate subject-specific skills in data handling and key skills in numeracy.
  • Unseen examinations demonstrate achievement of the appropriate level of subject-specific knowledge with an emphasis on understanding, communication and recall of factual knowledge (essay and problem-based questions).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 35 Weekly 2 hours p / w 35
Practicals / Workshops 3 1-2 per term 4 hours 12
Tutorials 2 1 per term 1 hour 2
Preparation & Reading 151
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen formal examination 2 hours 30 minutes 100% Yes - exam resit
Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Practical report 50% No
Analytical exercise 50% No

Formative Assessment:

Regular formative assessments including data analysis, interpretation and problem solving throughout the module; 4 assessments over 2 terms.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University