module specification

BE5061 - Human Immunity (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Human Immunity
Module level Intermediate (05)
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 50%   Practical report (1500 words)
Coursework 50%   Poster presentation
Running in 2023/24

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

Module summary

This module provides an introduction to physiological, cellular and molecular fundamentals of human immunology. It includes consideration of innate and acquired immune defences, genetic variation and immune defence, and immune responses or involvement in a range of pathological conditions. The aims of this module are aligned with the qualification descriptors within the Quality Assurance Agency’s, Framework for Higher Education Qualifications.
The module integrates the knowledge and skills acquired from other modules and encourages independent learning through the access of information using appropriate laboratory, primary and secondary sources, and informatics resources. It develops competence in laboratory skills through practical work, and in scientific writing. It aims to develop students’ qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment including developing ability to solve problems and gather and interpret data to inform a focussed theme and writing reports.  Moreover, students have an opportunity to develop self-management employability skills by engaging fully with the learning material and opportunities made available to them, and by continually reflecting on their progress through the module using the regular feedback opportunities available to them.


The module is an introduction to immunology that starts with an overview of the systems of the body that provide defence against infection. Key types of immune cell are reviewed, followed by a comparison of innate and acquired immune defences.
Key types of molecules utilised by the immune system are reviewed including antibodies, the major histocompatibility complex, T-cell receptors, complement, signalling molecules such as cytokines, and innate defence molecules.  The mechanisms, and genetic basis, of immune diversity will be reviewed. Immune responses to infection, and immune involvement in a range of pathological conditions will be addressed.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Acquisition of knowledge of the subject matter of this module will be promoted through lecturer-led lectures, associated small-group tutorials and module review. These will be supplemented with the guided use of web-based student-centred learning resources, including web-based directed study and review. Each lecture has an associated tutorial class and web-based review in the form of an MCQ test (formative assessment). Links to selected web resources are also provided within individual sessions. Practical classes will be used to develop laboratory skills and to consolidate knowledge in applied aspects of immunology. The remaining time is self managed for private study

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Show an appreciation of the basic mechanisms of immune responses, including the physiological responses, the types of cells and molecules involved;
2. Procure or generate, assess and interpret data obtained from a variety of resources including laboratory work, primary and secondary literature and relevant databases;
3. Extract, collate, analyse and summarise data on a focussed topic to develop report writing as an employability skill (Communication and Literacy).

Assessment strategy

Assessment is designed to promote deep learning through regular formative assessment with quizzes throughout the module. An end of module online exam will assess knowledge acquired through the semester. The coursework component is a practical report. Criteria for assessment will include an understanding of the subject matter; an ability to explain, describe and discuss the work; completeness and conciseness of written reports with emphasis upon critical ability and scientific rigour.
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%.