BSc Microbiology with a Modern Language / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:

Course unit fact file
Unit code BIOL21242
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


Immunology is the study of the body’s immune system. This unit will introduce you to the main features of the immune system, the innate immune system and the specific immune system. You will learn about recognition of microbes by the specific immune system and how the immune system protects against different pathogens. You will also learn how the immune system can itself cause disease, for example in allergy or autoimmune diseases, and the consequences of a deficient immune system.


  • To understand the components and functioning of the immune system

Learning outcomes

  • Students should know the different components of the immune system – cells of the innate and the adaptive immune system and associated soluble proteins and factors and be able to apply this knowledge to understand how the immune system protects against different types of pathogen or tumours.
  • Students should also be able to apply the fundamental knowledge of immune function and how we recognise pathogens and self to be able to appreciate how the immune response can cause immunopathology such as allergy, autoimmunity as well as the consequences of a lack of effective immune function as in immunodeficiency. 
  • Students should be able to reflect and apply how our knowledge of immunology is being applied in the laboratory and clinical settings to treat, diagnose and prevent disease for example via vaccination, antibody production and transplantation.



Lectures will cover the main role of the immune system in providing defence against infection caused by bacteria, viruses, yeasts and parasites. They will describe the two main arms of the immune system, the innate immune system and the specific adaptive immune system. The different anatomical, cellular and molecular components of the two systems will be covered and the way these systems coordinate to tackle different infections will be an important part of the unit. Finally, the unit will cover some of the problems that arise when the immune system ‘gets it wrong’; this will include allergy and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Employability skills

Scope for students to read outside the core lectures and develop their knowledge.
Additional text and resources is provided so that students can have the option of researching the topics in more detail.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 10%
Written exam 90%

e-Learning Activity 10%: Mini-exam consisting of 10 MCQ (multiple choice questions)

Written exam 90%: consists of 30 MCQ and one longer written question designed to assess your understanding and application of your knowledge.

Feedback methods

The written exam consists of MCQ 30 questions and two longer questions.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 76

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Sheena Cruickshank Unit coordinator

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