module specification

BC6062 - Clinical Biochemistry (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Clinical Biochemistry
Module level Honours (06)
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
In-Course Test 50%   Case Study 1.5 hrs
Unseen Examination 50%   Online exam (1.5 hours)
Running in 2023/24

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

Module summary

The module covers the advanced aspects of the role of Clinical Biochemistry, as practiced in a pathology department. More in-depth focus on disease screening, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring in clinical biochemistry, the principles and application of common methods used in the clinical setting and point of care testing, therapeutic drug monitoring and the investigation of substances of abuse. Quality control and quality assurance, sample quality and regulatory issues within clinical biochemistry.
Students’ clinical biochemistry skills will be developed in the laboratory in practical sessions. Theoretical and practical problems will be employed to assist students in the development of their analytical and problem-solving capabilities. Case studies will be examined to give students practice in diagnosis.

Prior learning requirements



The scope and potential of clinical biochemistry in diagnosis, and monitoring of disease.
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 and specialist investigations in the diagnosis of diseases affecting the biochemistry of a patient. 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. Heart, 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; nutritional assessment and monitoring, nutritional support.

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Students will be provided with the opportunity to acquire knowledge through a programme of lectures, problem-solving tutorial sessions, laboratory based practical exercises and on-line exercises. Students’ ability to make critical evaluations will be developed through analysis of source material and case studies supported by tutorial material. Students ability to attain and critically evaluate data, and scrutinise the data through problem solving activities will be developed through laboratory based exercises. Students will be expected to reflect on taught material in order to demonstrate their understanding of the principles and practices of blood science (total: 150 hours).

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Compare and contrast of the principles and practice of clinical biochemistry, including near patient testing.
2. Produce reasoned discourse on a topical issue within the arena of clinical biochemistry
3. Show an awareness of the research interface and developing technologies and critically assess the principles of quality control and quality assurance in relation to clinical biochemistry.

Assessment strategy

The module will be summatively assessed by a time constrained case study exercise in week 8, and an online unseen written exam.
The case study exercise will test the application of student’s knowledge of disease and diagnosis and monitoring. The exam will assess knowledge of the subject and its application.
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%.