Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Infection Biology 3A BIOL3010

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: School of Life Sciences
  • Credits: 60
  • Level: Level 3 (SCQF level 9)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

The course describes the process of infection by the major human pathogens - viruses, fungi, bacteria, protozoans and helminths; the molecular mechanisms utilised by these organisms to aid their survival; and how these organisms are able to invade and interact with various host tissues.


Normally, 6 hours of lectures per week (usually Mon/Tue/Wed), laboratory work (usually Thu all day and Fri mornings), field course (3 days in week 2), tutorials as organised.

Requirements of Entry

Normally, this course is only open to students admitted to Year 3 of a programme for which this is a compulsory course. The course may also be available to visiting students, at the discretion of the School's Chief Adviser.

Excluded Courses

BIOL4092 Medical Microbiology 3A


The course will be assessed by a 3-hour examination (worth 70%) and in-course assessment (worth 30%).


The in-course assessment comprises 5 assessments accumulating a total of 30%: 1 tutorial essay (5%), an open book class test on the Molecular Methods course block (5%), 2 lab reports (7.5% each) and a class test of SAQs (5%).

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those, which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 


Reassessment is not available for class tests (Molecular Methods course block and SAQs).

Course Aims

To provide students with a broad-based knowledge and understanding of Infection Biology, which is appropriate for employment as a BSc Designated degree graduate in a wide range of employment.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

■ Describe and explain key features of microorganisms that contribute to disease pathogenesis;

■ Explain cellular mechanisms employed by microbes for interacting with the host;

■ Demonstrate broad-based knowledge in the field of molecular biology;

■ Interpret, analyse and discuss microbiology in both written and oral formats;

■ Apply microbiological laboratory techniques to investigate relevant problems;

■ Identify and critically analyse scientific data and draw valid conclusions from them;

■ Demonstrate the use of computer search engines and databases to locate original scientific literature and data for interpretation.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

The minimum requirement for the award of credits is the completion of at least 75% by weight of the summative assessment for the course.