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 Molecules and Cells (BIOL1281); Level 1 Genetics (BIOL1171).


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

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • • Level 2 Behaviour (BIOL2511)


  • To survey the range of microorganisms with emphasis on viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa with roles in human disease.
  • To describe the culture and characterisation of microorganisms.
  • To explore features of microorganisms that are causative in the establishment of human diseases.


  • An introduction to bacteria; structure and function.
  • Viruses.
  • Fungi and protists.
  • Molecular medical microbiology.
  • Control of microbes.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Knowledge of general microbiology at an intermediate level.
  • Knowledge of the importance of microorganisms in the environment, food production, and in disease.
  • Knowledge of the molecular bases of disease caused by microorganisms.
  • Knowledge of pathogen evolution and antibiotic resistance.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Practical skills in identifying and characterising bacteria.
  • Practical skills in culturing microorganisms, and determining effects of antibiotics.
Key Skills:
  • Numeracy, in data analysis, and calculations involved in data handling.
  • Communication skills, using the written word and graphics, involved in microbiology 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 applied to microbiology.
  • Unseen examinations demonstrate achievement of the appropriate level of subject-specific knowledge of medical microbiology, with an emphasis on understanding and communication (essay and problem-based questions) or recall of factual knowledge (multiple choice or short answer question tests).

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 35 Weekly 2 hours p/w 35
Practicals 3 1-2 per term 4 hours 12
Tutorials/Workshops 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 only
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