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MSc Molecular Biology of Infectious Diseases


This course provides a thorough understanding and practical experience of molecular biology as it applies to infectious agents that cause global health problems. It covers all aspects of the agents, including their taxonomy, diagnosis, epidemiology and chemotherapy. It equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary for research, commercial or management careers that demand knowledge of molecular biology.

Molecular biology forms a cornerstone of many modern scientific disciplines like biomedicine and bioengineering and has broad application in and impact on health, agriculture and the environment. The role of molecular biology is becoming increasingly important in many professions and accordingly this course benefits students pursuing careers in a large variety of professions throughout the public sector (including NHS, DEFRA, DSTL), industry and commerce (including R&D), school and higher education. As such, the course is very effective in transferring high-level skills into other sectors, either directly after graduation or after further research degree study.

The Ralph Neal Memorial Prize is awarded to the best student of the year. This prize was founded in memory of Dr Ralph Neal, a distinguished research worker who died in 1990 in tragic circumstances.

Duration: one year full-time or split-study over two years. Modes of study explained.

The course has offered me the perfect opportunity to enhance my practical skills while learning about a wide range of viral, bacterial and parasitic infectious diseases.
Anu-Nandika Bachew, Trinidad & Tobago


By the end of this course students should be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the principles underlying a wide range of molecular biological techniques and apply these techniques in practice
  • demonstrate specialist knowledge and skills in the areas of gene cloning, DNA sequencing, bioinformatics and studies of gene function
  • devise and critically assess molecular biological approaches to fundamental research, taxonomic studies, production of DNA probes and epidemiological tools, analysis of chemotherapeutic targets and vaccine development
  • develop skills for further independent learning in the context of the molecular biology of infectious diseases


Term 1

There is a one-week orientation period that includes an introduction to studying at the School and sessions on key computing and study skills. Students then choose one of the following ten-week core modules:

  • Bacteriology & Virology
  • Immunology of Infectious Diseases
  • Parasitology & Entomology

In addition, students take two further compulsory modules:

  • Analysis & Design of Research Studies
  • Molecular Biology

Sessions on basic computing, molecular biology and statistics are run throughout the term for all students.

Terms 2 and 3

Students take a total of five modules, one from each timetable slot (Slot 1, Slot 2 etc.). Some modules can be taken only after consultation with the Course Director.

*Recommended modules

Slot 1

  • Molecular Biology & Recombinant DNA Techniques*
  • Advanced Immunology 1 (linked with Advanced Immunology 2)
  • Epidemiology & Control of Malaria 

Slot 2

  • Advanced Diagnostic Parasitology*
  • Molecular Virology*
  • Advanced Immunology 2 (linked with Advanced Immunology 1)
  • Clinical Bacteriology 2 

Slot 3

  • Advanced Training in Molecular Biology (compulsory)

Slot 4

  • Immunology of Parasitic Infection: Principles*
  • Molecular Biology Research Progress & Applications*
  • Clinical Bacteriology 2 

Slot 5

  • Antimicrobial Chemotherapy*
  • Pathogen Genomics*
  • AIDS
  • Mycology

Further details for the course modules

Project Report

During the summer months (July - August), students complete an original research project, for submission by early September. The project must contain a major practical laboratory component on a molecular biological aspect of a relevant organism. This can cover research in the broad areas of virology, bacteriology, parasitology or mycology. Projects may take place within the School or with collaborating scientists in other colleges or institutes in the UK. Occasionally  projects take place overseas, in these cases students are eligible to apply for travel funds.

Titles of some of the recent summer projects completed by students on this MSc.

Entry requirements

A student must normally satisfy the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine general entrance requirements and the additional programme specific entrance requirements as follows:

The normal minimum entrance qualification for registration at the School on a Master's programme is at least one of the following:

  • a second-class honours degree of a UK university, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, in a subject appropriate to that of the course of study to be followed
  • a registrable qualification appropriate to the course of study to be followed, in medicine, dentistry or veterinary studies

Applications with an appropriate technical qualification, or equivalent qualification and experience from overseas, are also welcomed.

Any student who does not meet the minimum entry requirement above but who has relevant professional experience may still be eligible for admission. Qualifications and experience will be assessed from the application.

Admissions FAQs
English Language Requirements FAQs

Intercalating Students

You will need the equivalent of a bachelor's degree to undertake an MSc. This will usually require you to have a BSc degree or have completed the first three years of your medical degree. More information on intercalating an MSc at the School

Fees and funding

Fees 2016/2017
Home Full-time £8,700
  Split-study £4,350
Overseas Full-time £20,450
  Split-study £10,225

Scholarships and funding opportunities

Finances and Funding FAQs

How to apply

Applications should be made online. Paper application forms are available upon request and will normally incur an administration fee of £50. You must send a copy of the personal details and photograph page of your passport with all paper applications. Your application will not be considered until you have provided the above documents.

Applicants wishing to be considered for School scholarships should apply as early as possible. Deadlines for scholarship applications appear on the Master's funding page. Course applications will be considered until all places on the course have been filled. Notification of when a course is closed will appear on the relevant course page. All applicants should be able to start the course on the first day of the academic year.

Students interested in part-time or split-study should contact the Course Directors, via the Registry, to discuss course requirements and likely timetables, and should read the Master's degree information.

Application deadlines

All applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible to ensure availability of a place and a timely decision on their application. This is particularly important for applicants with sponsorship deadlines.

The final closing date for taught Master’s applications is as follows:

  • 11th August 2016 by midnight British Summer Time (BST) for international applicants requiring a Tier 4 Student Visa, and
  • 29th August 2016 by midnight British Summer Time (BST) for applicants not requiring a Tier 4 Student Visa.

Do you need a visa?

EEA Nationals

If you have EU nationality or you are from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you do not need immigration permission to come to the UK. You can enter, study and work in the UK without restriction. If you have dual nationality, and you choose to come to the UK using your EEA or Swiss passport, you do not need immigration permission.

For useful guidance on EEA nationals in the UK, go to the UKCISA website.

Students from outside the EEA

All non-EEA nationals who want to study in the UK must hold immigration permission that allows you to study in the UK.

If you are coming to the School to study on a full time degree programme and you have no other immigration permission for the UK, you will need to apply for a Tier 4 Student visa. You can only apply for Tier 4 when your offer at the School is unconditional.

If you already hold a Tier 4 visa for a different institution, you will probably have to apply for a Tier 4 visa for the School before you can start studying with us.

Still unsure on whether you need a visa?

Admission status

Closed for 2016/17.

Course Director

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