module specification

BM7103 - Introduction to Clinical Biochemistry (2016/17)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2016/17, but may be subject to modification
Module title Introduction to Clinical Biochemistry
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 10
School School of Human Sciences
Total study hours 100
100 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
In-Course Test 20%   On-line Quizzes (200 words)
Coursework 40%   Reflective learning log (800 words)
Coursework 40%   Written assignment (ECA) (1000 words)
Running in 2016/17

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year LMET Distance Learning Not applicable -

Module summary

Introduction to Clinical Biochemistry
This module provides experience, knowledge and understanding of the principles and practice of clinical biochemistry. It explores the rationale for laboratory testing in routine and specialised investigations, the methodologies used and quality assurance
Semester: Autumn, Spring, Summer (10 credit)

Module aims

The aims of this module are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s Framework for Higher Education Qualifications.
Provide a review of the operation of the clinical biochemistry laboratory and its contribution to screening, diagnosis and monitoring. Develop detailed knowledge and understanding of the rationale for clinical biochemical analyses, their principles, and their application to the detection and assessment of selected disease states. To reinforce analytical, evaluative and communication skills. To research a topical issue in depth and present it at an appropriate level. To reflect on the topics studied and their application in biomedical practice.


The scope and potential of Clinical Biochemistry. Sampling, storage and safety with particular reference to whole blood; lipaemic and icteric plasma (or serum) and urine samples.
Methodology and instrumentation: qualitative and quantitative determination of analytes by enzymatic, immunochemical and chemical techniques; manual and automated (process control) methods. Near Patient Testing. Internal and external quality control. Definitive and reference methods. Reference ranges and interpretation of results.
Core investigations: Routine and emerging diagnostics. Biochemical profiles. Electrolyte homeostasis and acid-base balance. Plasma proteins and trauma. Enzymes, isoenzymes and isoforms. Diabetes mellitus. Principles and use of organ function tests e.g. GI tract and liver, renal. Endocrine function e.g. pituitary, thyroid, adrenal.
Selected special investigations: e.g. the cancer patient and tumour marker assays; the alcoholic.

Learning and teaching

Information pertaining to the subject matter will be presented through an integrated programme of lectures and supporting exercises, together with some use of a problem-based learning approach and the guided use of student-centred learning resources.  Lectures will be used to provide a conceptual framework.  Student centred assignments will enable students to reinforce and expand their knowledge, and develop subject specific skills and competence.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the principles and practice of chemical pathology
2. Execute specified analyses with due attention to QC, evaluate obtained and researched experimental data and communicate conclusions effectively
3. Communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.
4. Produce reasoned discourse on a topical issue and show an awareness of the research interface and developing technologies

Assessment strategy

The module will be formatively assessed by in-course online quizzes and two coursework components. A reflective learning log (800 words) and a written assignment (1000 words). Criteria for assessment will include an understanding of the subject matter; an ability, both orally and written, to explain, describe and discuss the work; completeness and conciseness of written reports and essays with emphasis upon critical ability and scientific rigour. To pass the module students need to achieve a minimum aggregate mark of 50%.

Component Learning outcomes
Quizzes   1,3
Reflective learning log 2,4
Written assignment 2,4



Burtis CA, Ashwood ER, Bruns DE. (2007) Teitz Fundamentals of Clinical Biochemistry. 6th Ed. Saunders.
Hughes J, Jefferson JA. (2008) Clinical Chemistry made easy. Churchill Livingstone.
Gaw A, Murphy M, Cowan R, O’Reilly D, Stewart M, Shepherd J. (2004) Clinical Biochemistry (An Illustrated Colour Text) 4th Ed. Churchill Livingstone.
Kumar V, Abbas AK, Fausto N. (2005) Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease 7th Ed. Elsevier Saunders.