Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information

Module MSE-2019:
Medical Microbiology

Module Facts

Run by School of Medical Sciences

10 Credits or 5 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Mr Merf Williams

Overall aims and purpose

The aim of this module is to develop an understanding of the role of the Medical Microbiology laboratory in investigating and identifying medically important bacteria and parasites. Students will be introduced to the theoretical principles of various major bacterial and parasitic groups and the practical application of a range of microbiological procedures used in the laboratory diagnosis of human bacterial infections. The use of case studies will enable the students to use the theoretical information gained to understand the pathological changes that occur in clinical infections caused by some of the bacteria and parasites studied in this module and provide the necessary prerequisite knowledge to study Year 3 Microbiology and Human Disease.

Course content

The study of some major groups of bacteria and parasites of importance in human infection. Understanding of the key concepts used in investigating and diagnosing infections in the Medical Microbiology laboratory. The major groups of bacteria that will be studied will include the Gram positive Staphylococcal and Streptococcal species; the Gram negative coliforms and non-coliform species; anaerobic Clostridium species; aerobic spore forming species of the Bacillus group including Bacillus anthracis; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Medically important parasites; Infection prevention control in the community and health care setting will also be discussed. A practical session will encompass the use of various methodologies utilised to identify bacterial cultures, including commercially available kits.

Assessment Criteria


Category B (60%-69%):

A good student should have a thorough factual knowledge across all aspects of the module, and be able to detail examples where appropriate. Written answers should demonstrate an ability to critically synthesise lecture material. Evidence of background reading is limited.


Category D (40%-49%):

A threshold student should have a basic knowledge of the essential facts and key concepts in Medical Microbiology presented in this module. Written answers should demonstrate an ability to organise relevant lecture material into a coherent argument. Answers may lack detail and may reveal knowledge gaps.

C- to C+

Category C (50%-59%):

A less engaged student would have a correct understanding of the essential facts and key concepts in Medical Microbiology presented in this module. Written answers should demonstrate an ability to organise relevant lecture material into a coherent argument. Answers may lack explanation and context. No evidence of wider reading.


Category A (70%-100%):

An excellent student should be able to demonstrate the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (working independently, time management and organisation) and have a detailed in depth knowledge of all aspects of the module. Written answers should have an extremely high standard of presentation, structure and clarity with a very well argued coverage of accurate and relevant information.

Evidence of wider reading & critical thinking is required for A+ and A* marks.

Learning outcomes

  1. Produce a Medical Microbiology practical report and process, document and interpret the data given or obtained.

  2. Explain the principles of Quality Assurance and good laboratory practice.

  3. Describe the principles of some of the most frequently used Medical Microbiology laboratory tests and their diagnostic significance.

  4. Demonstrate knowledge of the development, diagnosis and treatment of various diseases studied in this module.

  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the role of Medical Microbiology in the day to day operation of a Pathology laboratory.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight

A class or on-line formative MCQ test to enable students to engage with the areas so far studied and to reflect on their understanding.

COURSEWORK Practical report

A 1500 word report based on given or lab deduced data from bacterial strains.

EXAM End of module exam

1 hour on-line or class sat MCQ exam paper consisting of 50 MCQ questions.


Teaching and Learning Strategy


Revision before final exam including a Q & A session.


8 x 2hr weekly lecture sessions.

Private study

Preparing before lectures, reading around the topic, (text books/journals/directed reading), revision and coursework including Logbook for the practical.

Practical classes and workshops

The first 2 to 3 hours of practical time is utilised to demonstrate the techniques used to identify organisms in the laboratory where students can practice before the 3 hr assessed practical which normally runs the same day to preemptively identify four given cultured bacterial species and record results in tabular form. In the event of the practical sessions not being run for Covid-19 reasons, data will be given to enable completion of the laboratory based report.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

The programme aims to give students a comprehension of scientific investigation of Medical Microbiology. (benchmarks: 5.1; 5.3; 5.5)

On successful completion of the course, students will be able to engage with essential facts, major concepts, principles and theories associated with medical microbiology, and understand the biological mechanisms underlying human pathological conditions and the basis of the analytical techniques used to diagnose and monitor these conditions. (benchmark: 6.4)

Be able to undertake practical investigations in a responsible, safe and ethical manner while paying attention to risk assessment, relevant health and safety regulations, ethical issues, procedures for obtaining ethical permission and informed consent and issues relating to patient welfare. (benchmark: 4.3)

Graduates will be able to apply their knowledge to a professional, evidence-based approach to research into the pathogenesis and origins of disease processes. (benchmark: 6.2)

Biomedical science graduates are aware of the current laboratory methods to investigate and diagnose human diseases in clinical and research environments. This includes an appreciation of research and the development of new technologies. (benchmark: 6.3)

Biomedical sciences graduates should recognise and apply subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts or principles to reach evidence-based decisions. (benchmark: 4.2)

To be able to receive and respond to a variety of sources of information (textual, numerical, verbal, graphical), carry out sample selection, produce record scientific records & analyse data within a statistical context (an understanding of statistical significance and statistical power), and to communicate the outcomes to a variety of audiences using a range of formats, media and approaches including the avoidance of plagiarism. (benchmark: 4.4; 4.5)

Graduates should develop the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning, have an appreciation for the role and impact of intellectual property, and identify and work towards targets for personal, academic, professional and career development. (benchmark: 4.7)


Courses including this module

Optional in courses: