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Unit information: Pre-Clinical Science in 2021/22

Unit name Pre-Clinical Science
Unit code VETS10005
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Vidana Mateo
Open unit status Not open



All other first year units

School/department Bristol Veterinary School
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

This Unit introduces the principles of Biochemistry, Haematology, Microbiology and Immunology and has a large practical element covering the applied laboratory aspects of these subjects. Practicals are compulsory.


  • To provide a sound understanding of the fundamental concepts and relevant scientific principles underlying the subjects of eukaryotic and prokaryotic biochemistry, haematology, microbiology and immunology.
  • To teach the structure and function of fundamental biochemical molecules, their involvement in metabolic pathways and interaction in the whole living organism.
  • To provide the molecular foundation that enables students to understand techniques such as genetic manipulation.
  • To provide the molecular foundation upon which other pre-clinical or clinical units will build on later in the course.
  • To teach the more applied aspects of microbiology, including current knowledge of pathogenic bacteria, viruses and fungi of importance in companion animals in this country.
  • To teach the more applied aspects of biochemistry and haematology, including diagnostic laboratory procedures.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit students will be able to:

  • Describe the structure and function of basic molecules important in biochemistry, including proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids
  • Explain simple metabolic pathways
  • Outline nucleic acid biochemistry from gene to protein
  • Explain importance of biochemical pathways in the whole organism
  • Describe the basic biology of the major groups of microorganisms and, with regards to the major pathogens of animals, describe the diseases they cause, the mechanisms by which they cause disease, their modes of transmission, epidemiology and control, and the principles of laboratory recognition
  • Explain and perform safe working practices in the laboratory
  • Explain the importance of correct collection, preservation and processing of pathological samples and specimens
  • Describe and perform the correct use of laboratory equipment
  • Perform laboratory tests that fall within the remit of the veterinary nurse/laboratory technician in the veterinary practice
  • Demonstrate practical competency in the identification of a wide range of veterinary pathogens

Teaching Information

Practicals Online synchronous and asynchronous teaching and learning Small group working Use of Virtual learning environment (Blackboard)

Assessment Information

Students must pass the following assessment:

1 hour written examination (100% weighting)

All units must be passed in order to progress to the next year of study. There will be an opportunity to resit a written examination during the resit period.

Please note that practical and technical skills will be assessed via the RCVS Nursing Progress Log.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. VETS10005).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.