module specification

BC4057 - General Microbiology (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title General Microbiology
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 150
111 hours Guided independent study
39 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 60%   Practical Portfolio (1000 words)
In-Course Test 40%   Online Exam (1 hour)
Attendance Requirement 0%   Practical Attendance - satisfactory attendance required to pass module
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Thursday Afternoon

Module summary

This module focuses on the structure and classification of a selected range of microorganisms and their impact on human society. Laboratory classes develop the skills required to work safely and cooperatively in the laboratory.
This module aims to provide students with the opportunity to:
study the classification, structure and function of bacteria, fungi, protoctista and viruses;
understand the diverse nature of microorganisms, their roles in the environment and their impact on human society as normal flora and as agents of disease;
the exploitation of microorganisms by humans in medicine and biotechnology.


An introduction to microbiology: historical perspectives; basic microbiological techniques including laboratory cultivation, formulation of growth medium, laboratory-based methods of identification and safety aspects.
Growth requirements: physical parameters (temperature, pH, redox potential, water activity, gaseous environment, atmospheric pressure, light); macro- and micro-nutrients; growth factors.
The morphology and reproduction of eukaryotic microorganisms (fungi, algae and protozoa), prokaryotic microorganisms (eubacteria and archaebacteria) and bacterial, plant and animal viruses, including HIV.
Microbial ecology, diversity of habitats and microbial interactions.
Biotechnology: the role of microorganisms in agriculture, in the production of food, beverages and pharmaceuticals.
Medical microbiology: the role of microorganisms in health and disease. (1-4)

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The module will be summatively assessed by means of a coursework component and an unseen examination. The coursework component will be used to provide formative feedback via coursework sheets

To pass the module students need to achieve a minimum aggregate mark of 40%. Practical sessions have an attendance requirement.

The practical portfolio will relate to practical sessions.  Evaluation of pre-lab assignments ensures that students have demonstrated an ability to locate and interpret safety information and have given thought to their preparatory work as they act appropriately in the laboratory. Practical data sheets will reinforce the fidelity of the production and recording of data, and assesses students’ overall capabilities in communicating, handling and analysing data.

Students will be provided with the opportunity to acquire knowledge of the subject matter through a variety of teacher led activities and self-directed study. Teacher led activities will include traditional and interactive lectures, problem solving and revision tutorials and laboratory practical classes.

Theoretical and practical problems will be employed to assist students in the development of their analytical and problem solving capabilities.

Tutorial exercises are designed to support both the module lectures and practical classes and to assist with assessed coursework. They also aim to enhance and extend knowledge of the subject material by working through questions and through stimulating discussion.

The student’s ability to handle and interpret information will be encouraged through laboratory based investigations taken over several weeks and the guided use of directed reading, video material and other learning resources.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Understand that microorganisms comprise a diverse range of organisms that includes bacteria, fungi, protoctista, algae, viruses and sub-viral particles and have some understanding of their structural diversity and classification.
3. Be aware of  their physiological diversity which is reflected in the broad range of microbial activity in the environment, in their importance in biotechnology and in health and disease.
4. Manipulate and interpret numerical data relating to microbial cell counts and understand and work in compliance with health and safety policies, good laboratory practice, risk and COSHH assessments.

Assessment strategy

The module will be assessed by the completion of a practical portfolio of their practicals and by an online time-constrained written exam of short answer questions.
Formative assessment and feedback is provided by completion of the weblearn online quizzes for the module topics.
To pass the module, students need to achieve a minimum aggregate mark of 40%. 
There will be an attendance requirement for the practical sessions.
If the module is passed on reassessment, then the maximum mark awarded will be 40%.