Queen's University
MICR 271 Introduction to Microbiology

Minimum 2nd year (Level 2) standing, and one of (PHGY 170/3.0 or BIOL 102/3.0) or equivalent courses with permission of the instructor.

*May not be taken for credit towards the Plan requirements of the LISC Specialization.

No more than 3.0 units from MICR 271/3.0 and MICR 221/3.0.

After completing MICR 271 Introduction to Microbiology, students will be able to:

  1. Employ a basic understanding of the biological features of bacteria, viruses, and eukaryotic microbes to transition to higher level microbiology courses.
  2. Analyze information pertaining to a specific organism to evaluate the impact of antibiotic resistance of the microorganism in health, disease or the environment.
  3. Collaboratively demonstrate a working knowledge of microbe characteristics that relate to their survival by working effectively with peers.
  4. Employ effective peer review in a small group setting in order to collaboratively formulate predictions of the success or failure of designed superbugs.


As Collaborators, health professionals work effectively with other health care professionals to provide safe, high-quality, patient-centred care.


As Communicators, health professionals form relationships with patients and their families* that facilitate the gathering and sharing of essential information for effective health care.


As Advocates, health professionals contribute their expertise and influence as they work with communities or patient populations to improve health. They work with those they serve to determine and understand needs, speak on behalf of others when required, and support the mobilization of resources to effect change.


As Leaders, health professionals engage with others to contribute to a vision of a high-quality health care system and take responsibility for the delivery of excellent patient care through their activities as clinicians, administrators, scholars, or teachers.


As Scholars, health professionals demonstrate a lifelong commitment to excellence in practice through continuous learning and by teaching others, evaluating evidence, and contributing to scholarship.


As Professionals, health professionals are committed to the health and well-being of individual patients and society through ethical practice, high personal standards of behaviour, accountability to the profession and society, physician-led regulation, and maintenance of personal health.

Assessment 1 – Quizzes (30% total – three quizzes; 10% each)

The course instructor will introduce students to quiz questions during guided, videoed lectures. Students will be guided through specific concepts related to the questions by the instructor in order to help the student understand the question, think about the material needed to answer the question, and formulate answers. Students in small groups will discuss their answers and formulate consensus answers to the quiz questions within a specified time frame. Students will have three quizzes total over the length of the course, the each being worth 10%. TAs will grade quizzes.

Assessment 2 – Group Case-Study Assessment (40% total – two group assessments; 20% each)

Students will complete two group assignments working in groups of 3–4 people. The first assignment will be design-based and consist of the development of a hypothetical “supermicrobe” that will be created to survive specific predetermined conditions.  The second assignment will be a critical assessment of a peer group’s “supermicrobe” design to assess the likelihood of the organism’s survival.  For the first assignment each group will submit a short report outlining their design concept.  For the second assignment each group will submit a critical review of one designed superbug. TAs will grade reports.

Assessment 3 – Final Exam (30%)

The final exam will consist of well-designed short answer questions, aimed at problem solving and assimilating knowledge learned throughout the course, rather than strict memorization.

Required Text

MICR 271 course notes via modules posted online

Queen’s students, faculty, administrators and staff all have responsibilities for supporting and upholding the fundamental values of academic integrity. Academic integrity is constituted by the five core fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility (see http://www.academicintegrity.org) and by the quality of courage. These values and qualities are central to the building, nurturing and sustaining of an academic community in which all members of the community will thrive. Adherence to the values expressed through academic integrity forms a foundation for the "freedom of inquiry and exchange of ideas" essential to the intellectual life of the University.

Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with and adhering to the regulations concerning academic integrity. General information on academic integrity is available at Integrity@Queen's University, along with Faculty or School specific information. Departures from academic integrity include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, use of unauthorized materials, facilitation, forgery and falsification. Actions which contravene the regulation on academic integrity carry sanctions that can range from a warning, to loss of grades on an assignment, to failure of a course, to requirement to withdraw from the university.

Specifically, for MICR 271 Introduction to Microbiology, students must express themselves in their own words, and cite sources when they use outside information. Verbatim copying of the module text or textbook is considered plagiarism and is a breach of academic integrity. Further, lying and misrepresentation are dishonest and violate the core values of academic integrity.

All components of this course will receive numerical percentage marks. The final grade received for the course will be derived by converting the student’s numerical course average to a letter grade according to Queen’s Official Grade Conversion Scale.