The MSc Immunology of Infectious Diseases aims to provide advanced theoretical knowledge and practical training in the immunology of infectious diseases through a comprehensive range of teaching and research methods. It equips students with the range of specialized knowledge and skills in applying scientific concepts, evaluating scientific data and carrying out modern immunological techniques.
This is facilitated by the unique mix of interests in immunology, molecular biology, virology, bacteriology, parasitology, mycology and clinical medicine at the School. Infectious diseases represent an increasingly important cause of human morbidity and mortality throughout the world. Vaccine development is thus of great importance in terms of global health. In parallel with this growth, there has been a dramatic increase in studies to identify the innate, humoral or cellular immunological mechanisms which confer immunity to pathogenic viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. As a result, increasing numbers of scientists, clinicians, and veterinarians wish to develop their knowledge and skills in these areas.
The flexible nature of the course allows students to focus on attaining a broader understanding of infectious disease through attending taught units. Students can also undertake an extended research project within groups led by experienced team leaders. Such projects can involve basic investigations of immune mechanisms or applied field-based studies.
Graduates from this course go into research positions in academia and industry, and further training such as Ph.D. study.
By the end of this course students should be able to: demonstrate specialist knowledge and understanding of the basic principles of host immunity to infection against the diverse range of pathogens which confront human populations; apply this specialist knowledge to a range of practical skills and techniques, in particular modern molecular and cellular techniques for assessing immune responses to pathogens; critically assess, select and apply appropriate research methods to investigate basic immunological mechanisms and applied issues in the immunology of infection; critically evaluate primary scientific data and the published scientific literature, and integrate and present key immunological concepts at an advanced level, both verbally and in written form.
An initial one-week orientation period includes sessions on key computing and study skills and an introduction to major groups of pathogens. This is followed by a ten-week module, Immunology of Infectious Disease, consisting of lectures, practicals and journal clubs. Sessions on basic computing, molecular biology and statistics are run.
Terms 2 and 3
All students attend a five-week advanced immunology course in Term 2 based on current research literature. Students taking the extended project option start their project after completion of Advanced Immunology. Students taking the taught option attend a total of four further study modules, one from each timetable slot. A typical selection of modules is given below; not all modules will be available in any one year. Some modules can be taken only after consultation with the Course Director.
C1: Advanced Immunology 1.
C2: Advanced Immunology 2.
D1: Applied Molecular Biology of Infectious Diseases: Advanced Practical Training in Gene Cloning; Molecular Cell Biology & Infection.
D2: Clinical Immunology; Advanced Diagnostic Parasitology; Molecular Virology.
E1: Immunology of Parasitic Infection: Principles; AIDS; Genetic Epidemiology; Mycology.
E2: Immunology of Parasitic Infection: Practice; Antimicrobial Chemotherapy; Control & Epidemiology of Malaria; Training in Research Methods.
Residential Field Trip
Towards the end of Term 1, students get the opportunity to hear about the latest, most exciting aspects of immunological research at the British Society of Immunology Congress.
Students complete a research project on an immunological subject. Some of these projects may take place with collaborating scientists overseas or in other colleges or institutes in the UK. Students undertaking projects overseas will require additional funding of up to £1,500 to cover costs involved.
The majority of students who undertake projects abroad receive financial support for flights from the School's trust funds set up for this purpose.
Full-time for one year or split study over two years. Students taking the course by split study over two years attend full-time for part of Year 1, and then undertake the remainder of their course in Year 2. The split can occur anytime between the Christmas break and the end of the formal teaching in May, by prior arrangement with the Course Director. Paper 1 may be taken at the end of Year 1 or at the end of Year 2. Paper 2 must be taken at the end of Year 2. Interested applicants should indicate their choice on the application form.
Either a Second-class Honours degree from a recognized university in science, or a related subject, or a degree in medicine. Applicants with an appropriate technical qualification and work experience, or equivalent qualifications, are also welcomed.
* Tuition fee: fees status is considered on application.