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Last modified: 28 Jun 2018 10:27

Course Overview

  • if you were to count the number of bacteria in your gut, you might be surprised to find that you have 10 times more of them than you have cells in your body;
  • from the moment we are born, we become infested with microbial life that has an enormous impact on our lives;
  • in this course we explore the positive and negative aspects of our relationship with microbes, and how our immune system helps to maintain a fragile peace with our closest neighbours

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 2
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Frank Ward

Qualification Prerequisites


What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • One of BI1507 The Cell (Passed) or SF1503 The Cell (Foundation) (Passed) or SM1501 The Cell (Passed)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Bacteria, fungi, algae, protozoa and viruses occupy all niches of this planet, from the deepest oceans to the human body. Their success in such a wide variety of environments is dependent on their diversity and adaptability. This course is an introduction to the biology and ecology of micro-organisms, and an introduction to the immune system and its role in protecting against microbial disease. The course stresses the importance of man's relationships with micro-organisms, from disease to biotechnology and in particular, describes how we build immunity by meeting all of the challenges that arise in combating infection.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: 1 two-hour extended matching question (EMQ) examination (70%) and in-course assessment (30%). Continuous assessment comprises: 4 written practical reports (15% in total), 4 homework assignments (15% in total). Resit: 1 two-hour EMQ examination (70%) and previous continuous assessment (30%).

Formative Assessment

PRS questions during lectures and practice questions on WebCT. EMQ Mock Exam


Practical reports will be marked with written comments. Students will be given general feedback on performance during timetabled exam information sessions. PRS MCQ assessment answers discussed during lectures. Immediate feedback on practice questions available on WebCT.

Course Learning Outcomes


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