Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024


Department: Biosciences


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


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


  • • At least one other Level 2 Biological Sciences module.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • • None.


  • To survey the range of microorganisms with emphasis on viruses and bacteria 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.
  • 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 environmen and in disease.
  • Knowledge of the molecular basis of disease caused by microorganisms.
  • Knowledge of pathogen immune evasion and antibiotic resistance.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Understanding of practical techniques used in identifying and characterising bacteria.
  • Understanding of practical techniques used 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.
  • 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 Exercises 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 Exercises are based on subject-specific knowledge and demonstrate subject-specific skills in understanding experimental work and data analysis.
  • Problem Exercises (Data Handling) demonstrate subject-specific skills in data handling and key skills in numeracy applied to microbiology.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 24 Weekly 2 hours p/w 24
Practical Exercises 3 1-2 per term 4 hours 12
Tutorials 2 1 per term 1 hour 2
Workshops 4 2 per term 1 hour 4
Preparation & Reading 158
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Research proposal 50% Yes
Analytical Exercise 50% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessments will be provided to develop the skills for each summative assessment as appropriate.

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