Module and Programme Catalogue

Search site

Find information on

2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

CIVE5680M Environmental Microbiology

15 creditsClass Size: 55

Module manager: Dr. Louise Fletcher

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

This module is mutually exclusive with

CIVE5679MEnvironmental Microbiology

Module replaces

CIVE5563M - Environment and Health Management

This module is not approved as an Elective


This module provides a practical introduction to the classification of microorganisms, their importance in a range of environments and the impact they can have on the environment and human health. It also provides an overview of key legislation for environmental protection and methods for assessing the impact on the environment.
The objectives of the module are to:
- Develop an appreciation of the value of microorganisms that exist and their classification;
- Develop an understanding of how legislation is applied to protect the environment and health;
- Develop an understanding of the role of engineers in designing and developing technologies to ensure compliance with key legislation;
- Provide an in depth picture of the important role of microorganisms in both causing pollution and adverse health impact and also remediation of these problems;
- Develop an appreciation of the impact of microorganisms in the indoor and outdoor environment on health;
- Make students aware of the many environmentally related microbial infections (air, water, excreta);
- Help students to understand the role of engineers in identifying and removing the causes of environmentally related infections.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students will have:

1. A comprehensive understanding of the scientific principles of environmental microbiology
2. An in depth knowledge of how microorganisms are classified and the role they play in the environment and in terms of human health
3. The ability to collect and analyse primary data, to recognise where data is incomplete and the impact that this might have on research outcomes
4. To use engineering methods to tackle unfamiliar problems
5. An awareness of relevant regulatory requirements governing environmental quality and engineering activities that may adversely affect the environment
6. Ability to use research data to evaluate risks in terms of human health and safety and environmental quality
7. Ability to work as part of a team and recognise the different roles within a team
8. Development of laboratory and field based analysis techniques for environmental samples
9. Development of written and oral communication skills

Skills outcomes:
Upon successful completion of the module, students would benefit from gaining valuable transferable skills such as: communication skills, creative problem solving, independent working, professionalism and team working. In addition to this they should have developed a range of specific skills such as data analysis and presentation, practical skills including environmental sampling and analysis.


- Introduction to the key classes of microorganisms of environmental importance (bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae, protozoa);
- How microorganisms are classified;
- The role of microorganisms in the environment;
- The importance of indicator organisms;
- Microbial growth and metabolism;
- Importance of microorganisms in wastewater treatment;
- European legislative framework for environmental management;
- Clinical microbiology
- The role of microorganisms in the carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles.
- - Sources of aquatic pollution;
- Environmental sampling;
- Engineering intervention for the control of environmental microbial contamination;
- Introduction to public health engineering (water);
- Introduction to public health engineering (sanitation);
- Environmental classification of disease;
- Practical river sampling (field trip);
- Laboratory water analysis (practical session) - membrane filtration, MPN, biotic index, counting and staining of cultures;
- Indoor environmental sampling (practical session) - swabbing, air sampling.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment21.002.00
Group learning21.002.00
Private study hours103.00
Total Contact hours47.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

The students will have to prepare for two group presentations based on two different aspects of the course. This will require data analysis and background research which will be done independently by the students.

The module will be assessed by 100% coursework in the form of an individual report based on the fieldtrip results. This will also require background research and data analysis, presentation and interpretation.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students are required to prepare two oral presentations, one based on the indoor air quality workshop session and the other based on the River Aire fieldtrip. Written and verbal feedback will be given on the first presentation which will allow students to use this to make any improvements necessary for the second presentation.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Report5000 word individual report60.00
PresentationClinical Microbiology15.00
In-course AssessmentIn-class Test25.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Resit 100% report.

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:52:56


Browse Other Catalogues

Errors, omissions, failed links etc should be notified to the Catalogue Team.PROD

© Copyright Leeds 2019