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Module titleMicrobiology
Module codeBIO1337
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Steve Michell (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This core module provides an introduction to the microbial world. Essentially divided into two parts, concepts and skills, this module will introduce these through lectures and online practical demonstrations. The core concepts are focused around five key themes which are: evolution, information flow, metabolic pathways, structure and function and the impact of micro-organisms. Micro-organisms, including bacteria, protists and fungi, will be used to highlight these concepts. You will thus be introduced to a variety of biological concepts, ranging from an evolutionary perspective through to modern day Medical Microbiology. These lectures are supported by online practical demonstrations of key microbiological techniques.

In order to take BIO1337 you must normally have an A Level (or equivalent) in Biology.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module introduces you to core concepts in microbiology. These aspects of biosciences are fundamental to any understanding of the subject and underpin every degree in the subject. The module also aims to provide you with the basic knowledge that will enable you to take second and final year modules in microbiology.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Illustrate the importance and diversity of micro-organisms in the environment as well as of their importance to humans, including their economic impact
  • 2. Relate understanding of classification schemes applied to micro-organisms, including those based on molecular criteria
  • 3. Distinguish principal features of bacterial cells, particularly those features which differ from eukaryotic cells, including genetic information and its transfer
  • 4. Identify the main groups of fungi, and exemplify understanding of their life histories and genetics, their role in nutrient cycling, their relevance to industrial processes and plant disease including their economic consequences, as well as their beneficial and detrimental effects on society
  • 5. Provide knowledge of how to study and cultivate micro-organisms
  • 6. Understand how micro-organisms are handled safely in the laboratory and how a light microscope is used
  • 7. Outline the relationship between cell structure and function
  • 8. Exhibit general knowledge and understanding in microbiology

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 9. Describe and begin to evaluate aspects of the biosciences with reference to textbooks
  • 10. With some guidance, deploy established techniques of analysis, practical investigation and enquiry within the biosciences

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 11. With some guidance, select and properly manage information drawn from books, journals and the internet
  • 12. With some guidance, show skills for independent study

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Theme 1: Bacteria

  • bacterial diversity;
  • structure of bacteria – function;
  • microscopy;
  • structure of bacteria - biological targets;
  • metabolic pathways and bacterial growth;
  • bacterial environments;
  • information flow - DNA transfer;
  • biological targets;
  • bacteriophages;
  • bacteria and disease.

Theme 2: Fungi

  • an overview of fungi;
  • diversity of fungi;
  • structure of fungi;
  • fungal lifestyles - information flow;
  • fungal impact on the environment;
  • fungi and disease.

Theme 3: Protists

  • Diversity of protists;
  • protist structure and organisation;
  • protists in the environment;
  • disease causing protists.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching21Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching12Laboratory practical sessions (4 x 3 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching5Lab-based drop-in feedback/recap/Q&A sessions (5 x 1 hour)
Guided Independent Study5Pre-practical exercises
Guided Independent Study77Lecture consolidation and reading
Guided Independent Study30Revision


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
MCQ test 1 hour1-5, 7-9, 11-12Model answers

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
MCQ online examination701 hour1-5, 7-9, 11-12Model answers
Online problems based on practical sessions30Problems on all practical sessionsAllOnline


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
MCQ online examinationMCQ online examination1-5, 7-9, 11-12August Ref/Def
Online problems based on practical sessionsOnline problems based on practical componentsAllOnline

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to sit a further examination. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will count for 100% of the final mark and will be capped at 40%. 


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Brock Biology of Microorganisms, 12th Edition 2008. Pearson. ISBN 0132324601/978-0132324601
  • Oxford Textbook for Medical Mycology. Edited by Christopher C. Kibbler, Richard Barton, Neil A. R. Gow, Susan Howell, Donna M. MacCallum, and Rohini J. Manuel. ISBN-13: 9780198755388

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

ELE page:

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Bacteria, fungi, protists, medical microbiology, evolution, metabolism, genomes, bacteriophage, plasmids, antibiotics, disease

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date