Module code: BMS1026

Module provider

School of Biosciences and Medicine

Module Leader

RITCHIE JM Dr (Biosc & Med)

Number of Credits


ECT Credits



FHEQ Level 4

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 1

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 118

Lecture Hours: 21

Tutorial Hours: 2

Laboratory Hours: 9

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Practical based assessment COURSEWORK - PRACTICAL WRITE-UP 20%

Alternative Assessment


Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module overview

The purpose of this module is to introduce students to microorganisms, to the main cellular processes they perform and to how their activities affect humans and the environment. The students learn about microorganisms that cause disease as well as those who have properties we exploit for the benefit of mankind. Finally through laboratory practical exercises, the students learn and practice a range of basic microbiological techniques, which are essential for the cultivation and study of microorganisms. This module provides students with key skills and a basic broad knowledge of microbiology; a fundamental discipline required for future endeavours in the fields of infectious disease, biotechnology, biomedical science, biological science and other medically-related fields.

Module aims

introduce students to the major groups of microorganisms

give students a basic understanding of how a bacterial cell and virus functions

introduce students to what constitutes our natural microbiota and how it impacts our health

introduce students to a range of disease-causing organisms and how they are transmitted

introduce students to the role of microorganisms for the maintenance of processes that allow life to exist

examine the ways in which microbial processes can be managed and manipulated for the benefit of mankind and the environment

introduce students to the range of basic microbiological techniques used when working with microorganisms in the laboratory

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
Appreciate the importance of Microbiology in society KC
Define the basic processes carried out by a microbial cell K
Understand how viruses replicate and contribute to disease in a host K
Explain how the information contained in the microbial DNA is translated into proteins K
Describe the distribution and main species of microorganisms associated with the human body and be aware of their impact on human health
Describe the basic principles of epidemiology and its importance in the spread of plant and human diseases K
Distinguish between the importance (and transmission routes) of a variety of disease causing micro-organisms KC
Be aware of the measures that can be employed to combat infectious diseases K
Describe how the metabolism of some micro-organisms can be utilised for the benefit of humans (ranging from antibiotic production, food processing, to alcohol production KC
Describe how different micro-organisms grow and cover their energy requirements K
Understand the purpose and application of basic microbiology techniques, and analyse and report associated data scientifically CPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

Indicative content includes:

Introduction to Microbiology
Bacteria, their growth and genetics
Viruses – the infectious cycle, genomes and structure
Protozoan microorganisms
Epidemiology of pathogens
Human-associated microbiota
Microbe-environment interactions
Microbial metabolism: human health and disease
Food- and water-borne diseases
Respiratory diseases
Animal transmitted diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases
Immune response to disease-causing organisms
Prevention and treatment of pathogenic diseases
Microbial products and microbial biodiversity
Primary metabolites
Secondary metabolites and recombinant DNA products
Culture, microscopy and staining techniques
Enumerating and measuring bacteria
Isolating bacteria from the environment

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to: provide students with a solid basic knowledge of microorganisms and key microbial processes.  Furthermore, it provides the students will critical practical skills essential for working with microorganisms in the laboratory and begins to develop their skills in scientific writing. As such, this FHEQ level 4 module is designed to provide students with a framework from which to build their knowledge and inform further learning in the medically-related subjects covered as part of the Degree programme. 

The learning and teaching methods include:

lectures (2 x 1 hour lecture per week for 10.5 weeks)
formative assessment exercises (2 x 1 hour session)
feedback sessions on formative assessment (2 x 1 hour session)
practical classes (3 x 3 hour sessions, spread over 3 weeks)

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge by correctly answering multiple choice style questions designed to test their understanding of basic microbiological principles.  Using this approach, we are able to assess knowledge across a broad range of topics within a short period of time. In addition, the practical component is designed to introduce the students to basic techniques in microbiology as well as develop their ability to produce scientific reports.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Final MCQ exam (80%) consisting of 90 multiple choice (5-answer) style questions to be answered in 90 minutes.
 Laboratory techniques report (20%) – this exercise gives the students an opportunity to practice basic microbiological techniques and prepare a written laboratory report. The students receive immediate and constructive feedback on their reports from the demonstrators and the lecturer during each of the 3 practical sessions. They are then encouraged to revise and improve their write-ups before the end of the final session when their report is assessed and given a mark.  Reports typically consist of 3 - 6 A4 pages of writing and analysis (1-2 pages for each week)


Formative assessment and feedback

The students will have the opportunivty to undertake 2  on-line multiple choice style assessments consisting of 30 questions each, as part of formative assessment.  These assessments will take place mid-way through the module and in the last week of the module, just before the students leave to prepare for their exams. The assessments will be taken on SurreyLearn within a defined period and upon complettion, they will receive their mark. The following session with the students will be used to go over all the questions and explore any areas of concern they have with the lecture content. All lecturers on this module use a range of tools (e.g. electronic voting, worksheet examples or peer-to-peer learning) to assess learning and understanding during the course of their lectures.

Reading list

Reading list for MICROBIOLOGY: AN INTRODUCTION TO THE MICROBIAL WORLD : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/bms1026

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 2017/8 academic year.