Introduction to Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics - 2017

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Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 1
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: SP3 , SP4
  • Availability for 2017: SP3 , SP4
  • Assessment: Invigilated Exam (60%) , Practicum - and micro. pre-prac quizzes (30%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 1,931.00
International 2,181.00

This unit introduces the interrelated topics of genetics, immunology and microbiology. It covers the structure, replication and colonial growth of a range of micro-organisms of significance to health, industry and the environment. It also explores the methods used to safely examine, isolate, transfer and culture micro-organisms. You will study this in conjunction with an introduction to the mammalian immune system. You will study inheritance, genetic transmission, Mendelian inheritance, Mendelian principles in humans, and also the chromosomal basis of inheritance and gene mutations.

Please note the dates below for the compulsory requirements for this unit to attend laboratory classes at RMIT University's City Campus in central Melbourne:

2016, Study Period 4:

  • Feb 13 - 17, 2017 - 9:30am - 12:30pm

2017, Study Period 3:

  • TBA

2017, Study Period 4:

  • TBA

This unit is intended to be an introduction to the inter-related topics of genetics, immunology and microbiology.

In microbiology the unit is designed to provide students with a basic understanding at a basic level of the structure, replication and colonial growth of a wide range of micro-organisms (including viruses) of significance to health, industry and the environment: it will introduce them to the methods used to examine, isolate, transfer and culture micro-organisms. In Immunology the features and functions of the mammalian immune system will be examined in health and disease. In genetics, the unit seeks to provide information to allow students to understand the processes and mechanisms which determine the inheritance of traits in biological organisms. We will use the current understanding of the molecular and chromosomal mechanisms which determine the inheritance as a reference point. We will also provide historical insight into how the current understanding of the processes developed, drawing on experiments of Mendel, Morgan and others. Topics include, but are not limited to, the molecular basis of inheritance, principles of genetic transmission - Mendelian inheritance, chromosomal basis of inheritance, gene mutations.

It is intended to cover the capabilities of: knowledge, technical expertise, problem solving, communication, personal and professional awareness, and integrated practice.

This unit will develop the graduate capabilities of knowledge (of genes, mammalian immunology and microbiology), problem solving (relating to sterilisation and disinfection, the principles behind safe working procedures for isolating, growing and identifying microbes) and technical ability in application of these principles in practical situations. Successful completion of this unit will enable students to understand safe work practices in microbiology and have competency in basic microbiological technique such as microscopy, aseptic technique and streak dilution.

The unit seeks to develop in the student:

  1. an awareness of ubiquitousness and diversity of micro-organisms
  2. an understanding of the methods and applications of sterilisation, disinfection and prevention of diseases caused by micro-organisms
  3. knowledge of the physical nature of inheritance of traits and a detailed understanding of the mechanisms of gene expression and the development of an organisms phenotype, including both microbes and multicellular organisms
  4. an understanding of how genetic variation can arise, both at the phenotypic, chromosomal and molecular level and an understanding of the environmental factors that can lead to increased incidence of these mutation processes
  5. skills that will enable the student to explain modes of inheritance at a genetic and molecular level
  6. an understanding of the mechanisms of microbial challenge in mammals and the immunological responses in the host
  7. through a knowledge of, and ability to articulate to others, the basis of the basic methods used in molecular biology
  8. knowledge of the types of immune cells and their diversity in mammals
  9. the necessary foundation knowledge in microbiology and immunology to understand and interpret the latest rapidly emerging advances in the areas of disease prevention and control, including vaccine development.


The assessment will be combined in the proportions of 60% microbiology and immunology and 40% genetics.

Passing the practical component is a hurdle for passing this unit.


The genetics textbook is a mandatory prerequisite for this unit. The microbiology text comes with an online tutorial system, although this text is prescribed, it is not mandatory.

  • Invigilated Exam (60%)
  • Practicum — and micro. pre-prac quizzes (30%)
  • Quizzes — Genetics (10%)
For more information on invigilated exams see Exams and results

Recommended prerequisites

You are recommended to have completed the following unit(s) or have equivalent knowledge before starting this unit:

  • Broadband access
  • Some on campus attendance — You must pass the final exam and the microbiology practical component of this unit to pass the entire unit. The final exam mark only counts if you pass the microbiology practical component. The practical component is held over 5 consecutive mornings of one week and attendance at the RMIT University practical Laboratories on the City Campus during that week is compulsory.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Introducing Microbiology
2Structure and Function of Microbes
3Growing Microbes in the Laboratory
4Interactions of Microbes and other Organisms
5Control of Microbial Growth
6Overview of the Non-specific Immune Response
7Natural and Acquired Immunity, Immunodeficiency
8Serology and Applications of Immunology
9The molecular basis of inheritance
10Principles of genetic transmission
11Mendelian principles in humans
12Chromosomal basis of inheritance
13Gene mutations

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Online materials

  • Audio/Video - Streaming
  • Online Assessment
  • Quizzes
  • Resources and Links

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbook information for this unit is currently being updated and will be available soon. Please check back regularly for updates. Alternatively, visit the The Co-op website and enter the unit details to search for available textbooks.

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