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Introductory Microbiology for Health Sciences

Course Code: BIOL 2401
Faculty: Science & Technology
Department: Biology
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Lab
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

A survey of the biology of microorganisms with an emphasis on bacteria. Topics include prokaryotic diversity, bacterial cell structure and metabolism, and microbial reproduction. Introductory virology and immunology, epidemiology and public health, and selected topics in medical microbiology. Laboratory activities introduce a wide variety of techniques in microbiology and immunology.

Course Content

    • Introduction to microorganisms
    • Historical overview of microbiology
    • Prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms
    • Introduction to bacteria
    • DNA replication and protein synthesis
    • Bacterial cell structure
    • Chemical and physical requirements for growth
    •  Phases of bacterial growth
    • Gram + and gram – bacteria
    • General antiseptics
    • Antimicrobial drugs
    • Drug resistance
    • Introduction to viral structure
    • Viral replication
    • Viruses and disease
    • Innate and acquired immunity
    • Humoral and cell-mediated responses
    • Microbial pathogenesis
    • Immunization
    • Epidemiology and public health
    • Emergent diseases
    • Transmission of disease
    • Nosocomial infections
    • Specific body system diseases
    • Basic Techniques in Microbiology
      • Laboratory operations and safety
      • Laboratory reporting techniques
      • Microscopy
    • Bacteria: Transfer, culture and isolation techniques
      • Aseptic techniques
      • Preparation of media and plates
      • Tube transfers
      • Streak plate and spread plate techniques
    • Colony and Cellular Morphology
      • Agar plate colonial characteristic and agar slant growth
      • Individual cell characteristics (coccus, bacillus and spirillum microscopic recognition)
    • Differential Staining
      • Negative staining
      • Gram stain
      • Endospore staining
    • Bacterial Growth
      • Serial dilution
      • Growth rate determination (direct/plate counts)
    • Bacterial Sensitivity and Resistance
      • Examination of bacterial sensitivity to a variety of antibiotics
      • Plating and isolation of antibiotic resistant bacteria
    • Antibody-Antigen reactions
      • Agglutination reactions
      • ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay)
    • Control of Microbial Growth
      • Disc Diffusion Assays
      • Antiseptics, Disinfectants, Anitbiotics
      • Probiotics
    • Practical Case Study
      • Characterization and identification of a microorganism using the techniques learned throughout the laboratories, as well as the information given in the theory lectures.

Methods of Instruction

This course involves four hours of lecture per week and two hours of laboratory work.  The content of lectures is integrated with laboratory experiments, and readings in the textbook. Instruction may include group work and online components.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will present a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester. Evaluation will be bassed on the following:

Class tests and assignments   20-30%
Laboratory   20-30%
Term exam(s)   15-25%
Final exam   25-35%
Total    100%

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the range of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms that are considered to be microorganisms and explain the historical context of microbiological science.
  2. Explain the components and cellular structure of bacterial cells.
  3. Explain the principles of classification and be able to explain the classification of bacteria.
  4. Explain the process of bacterial cell division and relate it to the growth of bacterial populations and describe the principles involved in the control of bacterial growth.
  5. Describe the structure of viruses, viral replication and explain the role of viruses in disease.
  6. Explain the difference between innate and acquired immunity to disease in humans and how they are affected by humoral and cell-mediated responses.
  7. Describe the mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis.
  8. Explain the modes of transmission and mechanisms of infection by human bacterial diseases and strategies for management of transmission and infection in the context of public health.
  9. Explain the basis of the development of bacterial resistance to antimicrobial agents.
  10. Demonstrate familiarity and competency with a wide variety of microbiological laboratory techniques including transfer, culture, isolation and identification techniques, growth rates and antibiotic sensitivity.

course prerequisites

Biology 1103 or 1109, and BIOL 1203 or BIOL 
1209 with C- or better or permission of the 

(Biology 1103 or 1109) and (BIOL 1203 or BIOL 1209)


Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.