Immunology BSc/MSci

Fundamental Topics in Immunology 4X core BIOL4184

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Infection and Immunity
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course focuses on enabling students to develop a detailed understanding of the development and function of the cells of the immune system and awareness of recent developments in innate and adaptive immunity.


Normally, there are 3 hours of teaching on Mondays, which may be split over more than one session.

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed by a 2-hour examination (75%) and in-course assessment consisting of a brief report on a scientific paper in the format of Nature Immunology's "News and Views" articles (25%). 

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

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. 

Course Aims

The aims of this course are to develop:

■ a comprehensive understanding of key topics fundamental to the current understanding of the development and function of the immune system;

■ an awareness and knowledge of recent developments in innate and adaptive immunity.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ analyse how structure relates to function in primary and secondary lymphoid organs; 

■ discuss the development of T and B lymphocytes at the molecular and cellular level, and the mechanisms of selection that occurs during the development of these cells; 

■ give an account of the diversity and role of innate immune cells, and appraise how they sense and respond to microbial products; 

■ evaluate the properties and function of dendritic cells, and their roles in antigen presentation; 

■ critically analyse the role of various T cell subsets during adaptive immune responses and peripheral tolerance; 

■ discuss interactions between the microbiota and the immune system; 

■ relate the processes involved in lymphocyte interactions to the functions of the germinal centre. 

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.