module specification

BM7116 - Clinical Biochemistry (2021/22)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2021/22, but may be subject to modification
Module title Clinical Biochemistry
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 200
126 hours Guided independent study
74 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Progress test
Group Presentation 20%   Case study
Unseen Examination 40%   Learning diary
Running in 2021/22
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester LMET Distance Learning Not applicable -

Module summary

This module provides a review of the principles and practice of clinical biochemistry, draws student’s attention to evolving technologies and expands understanding of biochemical analysis, metabolism and physiology to those situations commonly encountered in the clinical chemistry laboratory.

Prior learning requirements

Standard entry requirement: Lower second (2.2) first degree, or equivalent, in Biomedical Sciences or a related subject containing elements of clinical biochemistry.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:
provide critically review of the principles and practice of clinical biochemistry
to draw students attention to evolving technologies
to expand understanding of biochemical analysis, metabolism and physiology to those situations encountered in the clinical chemistry laboratory
to demonstrate how these principles are applied to contemporary clinical and laboratory practice both for service provision and research.
to examine the evidence for use, and limitations of, the common procedures used in the diagnosis and management of patients and donors.
Outline the principles of quality management and the principles of health and safety management relating to clinical biochemistry.

In conjunction with the above, the module will develop students' ability to appraise, research, critically evaluate, formulate and defend a 2,500 word dissertation on a topical issue in this field.


Includes the scope and potential of clinical biochemistry. Sampling, storage and safety with particular reference to whole blood, lipaemic and icteric plasma and urine samples.
Methodology and instrumentation. Comparison of the principles and applications of manual and automated (process control) methods - immunoanalysers, multi-channel and centrifugal analysers. NPT. Calibration, quality control, definitive and reference methods.
Metabolic investigations: biochemical abnormalities in fat, carbohydrate and protein metabolism in disease. Qualitative and quantitative determination of body fluid components by enzymatic (both end point and kinetic), immunochemical (e.g. ELISA, EMIT) and chemical techniques.
Organ specific investigations. The principles and use of organ function tests e.g. liver (plasma proteins, bilirubin); thyroid (T3 and T4); GI tract (Schilling test, fat absorption). Enzyme diagnostics and isoenzymes (transaminases, LDH, CK). Tumour marker assays.
Applications of molecular biology techniques with particular reference to prenatal diagnosis.
Regulation and control of laboratory procedures linked to clinical biochemistry

Learning and teaching

Students' knowledge and understanding of clinical biochemistry will be developed through a programme of lectures and supporting exercises, together with the guided use of student centred learning resources. Lectures will be used to provide a conceptual framework. Student centred assignments; including the execution of a substantial dissertation assignment will enable students to reinforce and expand their knowledge and develop subject skills and competence.
Activities include: Online lectures (22 hours), tutorials and seminars (16 hours), computer based learning, formative and summative assessments, other activities including: learning diaries; independent learning tasks; library searches.  These activities when summarised in the form of learning diaries can form the basis of a student’s comprehension of their personal development portfolio (156 hours of self-study by the student).

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module the student should be able to:

  1. Critically review published papers, summarising and analysing the findings relating to clinical biochemistry and demonstrate an understanding of the principles and practice of clinical biochemistry.
  2. Demonstrate understanding of the research interface and the impact of molecular biology techniques in clinical diagnosis gain a practical experience of a range of laboratory techniques.
  3. Demonstrate a critical awareness of current issues within the role of practicing health care scientists in clinical and diagnostic Blood Sciences, particularly Clinical Biochemistry.
  4. Complete clinical biochemical analyses with due attention to QC, evaluate data and communicate results and conclusions effectively and research, critically evaluate and present a discourse on an appropriate issue utilising primary sources.

Assessment strategy

The module will be summatively assessed by means of a progress test component (40%), case study (20%) and final exam (40%). The coursework will consist of a progress test including directed reading topics. There will be online formative assessments that provide formative feedback. Summative diagnostic assessment will also be provided by a progress test.  To pass the module students need to achieve a minimum aggregate mark of 50%.

Component Learning outcomes
Progress test 1,2,3
Case Study 2, 3, 4
Learning diary 1, 2, 3, 4



Indicative texts
Ahmed, N. (2010). Clinical Biochemistry. OUP Oxford.
Burtis, C.A., Ashwood, E.R. and Bruns, D.E. (2007) Tietz Fundamentals of Clinical Chemistry 6th Edition Saunders
Gaw, A. and Cowan, R. A. et al. (2013). Clinical Biochemistry (An Illustrated Colour Text) 5th edition. Churchill Livingstone.