Not only are parasitic infections still on the rise, but they’re spilling into unexpected places, causing infections in non-endemic countries. The climate crisis, globalisation and change in vector ecology are all having an impact. We’ve designed this course for anyone who wants to join our mission to control and eliminate infections and support communities affected.
Our MSc Medical Parasitology is delivered by parasitology and entomology experts at the forefront of the field. With such a high concentration of expertise in one place, you’ll hear about the latest research and learn to apply the latest techniques in the field.
At LSHTM, some of our specialists are looking at different areas of malaria such as cell biology, pathogenesis, population genetics and drug design. Other experts are looking at other parasitic diseases such as trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, filariasis and schistosomiasis. We also have significant experience looking at vectors, from mosquitoes and tick-borne diseases to flies with larvae that hatch and burrow into the skin. Experts from WHO, Natural History and other universities will also give lectures and seminars on everything from forensic entomology to the behaviour of vectors.
What you will learn
- Explore the biology, pathogenesis, immunology, epidemiology and diagnosis of parasitic infections in humans
- Analyse strategies for control of the vectors and intermediate hosts of human parasites
- Hone your microscopy skills, as well as using other research tools such as PCR, sequencing, confocal microscopy and proteomics
- Carry out practical laboratory identification of the parasite stages both free and in tissues
- Sample and identify medically important vectors or intermediary hosts and incriminate them in disease transmission
- Design a laboratory or field-based research project to apply research skills and interpret data
- Develop specialised skills through taking modules on different aspects of the subject including advanced diagnostic, molecular, immunological, genetic, and more
The aims and learning outcomes are detailed in the programme specification.
Parasites are a significant burden to humans and animals, particularly affecting people from low to middle-income countries. Studying them will give you the chance to explore their complex life cycles and see how technology has the potential to significantly advance this area.
We’ve designed this course to study all aspects of parasitic disease from genes to control. At the same time, you’ll develop practical skills, carry out fieldwork and pick modules that give you the chance to develop specialist knowledge.
All of this will prepare you for completing a research project which will develop your skills as an independent researcher. Your project can be laboratory, field, data or literature-based, focused on an area that interests you. Whatever you decide to do, you’ll work within an internationally recognised research group with excellent resources. Many projects involve a significant amount of overseas or UK fieldwork. Past students have looked at areas as diverse as malaria in pregnancy to helminth infection-related neurological complications.
Who is it for?
Medical parasitology sheds light on the basic principles of the life sciences, leading to new discoveries and challenging existing knowledge. This means students usually join us with backgrounds in biology, medicine and zoology. However, other students join us from other related disciplines such as engineering, ecology, public health or even bioarchaeology. We also welcome students intercalating study to help you go beyond what you’ll cover in your medical degree on this topic.
This course is a good match for you if you want to carry out research to understand the biology of parasites and vectors and how they interact with hosts. It’s also ideal for public health professionals eager to apply the science to diagnostics and surveillance to improve control.
Many of our graduates continue to PhD programmes, while others help with parasite control on the frontline or make the move into the pharmaceutical industry to create new insecticides or drugs.
One year full-time or split-study over two years. Ways to study explained.
Find out about intercalating this programme.
Watch Programme Director Matt Rogers talk about the programme.
"LSHTM is renowned for its research excellence and innovation. I wanted to study at an institution where I could develop my research skills, be in a diverse academic environment and collaborate with students and staff from around the world."
The below structure outlines the proposed modules for this programme. Programme and module specifications provide full details about the aims and objectives of each module, what you will study and how the module is assessed.
- Structure of the year
Term 1 (September - December) consists of ten teaching weeks for AB1 slot modules, plus one Reading Week* in the middle of the term. Followed by the Winter break.
Term 2 (January - March) consists of examinations, followed by a further ten weeks of teaching for C and D slot modules, plus a Reading Week in the middle of the term. C modules are taught in five half-week blocks before Reading Week. D modules are taught in five half-week blocks after Reading Week. Followed by the Spring break.
Term 3 (April - September) consists of five weeks of teaching for E slot modules, taught in half-week blocks, and the project report.
*Reading Week is a week during term where no formal teaching takes place. It is a time for private study, preparing for assessments or attending study/computer skills workshops. There are two Reading Weeks at LSHTM: one in November and the other in February.
- Term 1
Students take two compulsory AB1 modules:
- Parasitology & Entomology
- Analysis & Design of Research Studies
Optional module: Molecular Biology
Sessions on basic computing and statistics are run throughout the term for all students.
- Terms 2 and 3
Students take a total of five study modules, one from each timetable slot (C1, C2, D1, D2, E). The list below shows recommended or compulsory modules. There are other optional modules which may be taken only after consultation with the Programme Director.
- Designing Disease Control Programmes
- Molecular Biology & Recombinant DNA Techniques
- Vector Sampling, Identification & Incrimination
- Advanced Diagnostic Parasitology
- Design & Analysis of Epidemiological Studies
- Statistical Methods in Epidemiology
- Advanced Training in Molecular Biology
- Malaria: From Science to Policy and Practice
- Spatial Epidemiology
- Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases
- Immunology of Parasitic Infection
- Molecular and Cell Biology of Infectious Diseases
- Vector Biology and Vector-Parasite Interactions
- Integrated Vector Management
- Neglected Tropical Diseases
- Novel Drug Discovery & Antimicrobial Resistance
- Pathogen Genomics
- Vaccine Immunology
- Residential field trip
There is a compulsory one-week field course, between Terms 2 and 3, on vector and parasite sampling and identification methods. The cost of this is included in the field trip fee.
- Project report
During the summer months (July - August), students complete a research project, for submission by early September. This may be based on a critical review of an approved topic, analysis of a collection of results or a laboratory study. 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 LSHTM's trust funds set up for this purpose.
Please note: Should it be the case that you are unable to travel overseas or access laboratories in order to complete your project, you will be able to complete an alternative desk-based project allowing you to obtain your qualification within the original time frame. Alternatively, you will be able to defer your project to the following year.
The Patrick Buxton Memorial Medal and Prize is awarded to the best student of the year.
Changes to the programme
LSHTM will seek to deliver this programme in accordance with the description set out on this programme page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for LSHTM to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.
In order to be admitted to an LSHTM master's degree programme, an applicant must:
- hold either a first degree at Second Class Honours (2:2) standard in a relevant discipline, or a degree in medicine recognised by the UK General Medical Council (GMC) for the purposes of practising medicine in the UK, or another degree of equivalent standard awarded by an overseas institution recognised by UK ENIC or the GMC.
- hold a professional qualification appropriate to the programme of study to be followed obtained by written examinations and judged by LSHTM to be equivalent to a Second Class Honours (2:2) degree or above.
- have relevant professional experience or training which is judged by LSHTM to be equivalent to a Second Class Honours (2:2) degree or above.
If you have not previously studied in the UK, you can check our guide to international equivalent qualifications for our master's degrees.
An additional preferred requirement for the MSc Parasitology is an interest in parasites of public health importance and disease transmission.
Relevant subjects for the MSc Medical Parasitology include biological and biomedical sciences and zoology. Other life science qualifications (e.g. medicine, ecology, forensic science, public health, environmental science, pharmacy and medical engineering) will be considered subject to evidence within transcripts or relevance of research projects or work experience. Within the application it should be clear how the MSc would further your career or interests in parasitic diseases and/or their vectors.
Applicants who do not meet the minimum entry requirement, but who have relevant professional experience may still be eligible for admission. Qualifications and experience will be assessed from the application.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you will need to meet these requirements: Band B
Please see our English language requirements for more information.
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 LSHTM.
Access and widening participation
At LSHTM we are committed to ensuring that excellent students feel encouraged to apply for a course of study with us. We have introduced an innovative contextual admissions system that is designed to support those students who have faced the greatest barriers to their learning. More information on widening participation at LSHTM.
*Mobile users, scroll right to view fees
Early application fee reduction for UK MSc Students 2024-25
Apply early and lock-in lower fees. If you are a student from the UK (and have a home fee status), you will be eligible to receive a 5% reduction in your tuition fee if you submit your application by Friday 5 April 2024 and subsequently register onto one of our in-person MSc programmes (some exclusions apply, see detailed terms and conditions).
You must be applying for full-time study on a programme starting in September 2024; be funding your fees yourself; and be a new applicant.
If you meet the above criteria and submit your application by the deadline, you will automatically receive the tuition fee discount.
Funding available for this programme:
- 2024-25 Mansfield Aders and Avebury Memorial Fund (application deadline: 8 May 2024)
Graduates from this programme enter global health fields ranging from diagnostics through to applied basic research and operational control to higher degree studies and academic/teaching-related positions.
Below you will find just a few of the positions and organisations that our graduates from this course have entered after graduating:
- Example job titles:
Applied Research Analyst
Microbiology Laboratory Technician
Veterinary Parasitologist Housing Officer
- Example organisations:
Laboratory of Government Chemists
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Medical Research Council
National History Museum
National Institute for Medical Research
The Institute of Cancer Research
University of Oxford
NIBSC (National Institute for Biological Standards and Control
Delta Vector Control
Applications should be made online and will only be considered once you have provided all required information and supporting documentation.
Please also read LSHTM's Admissions policies prior to submitting your application.
You can apply for up to two master's programmes. Make sure to list them by order of preference as consideration will be given to your top choice first.
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.
We strongly advise that you apply early as popular programmes will close earlier than the stated deadline if they become full.
The final closing dates for all taught Master’s applications for entry in the 2024/25 academic year is:
- Sunday 21 July 2024 at 23:59 UK time for all students requiring a Student visa
- Sunday 1 September 2024 at 23:59 UK time for all UK, Irish and non-Student visa students
Applicants will be required to meet the conditions of their offer and provide all necessary documents by the date of their Offer of Admission.
A standard non-refundable application fee of £50 applies to all taught Master’s degree programmes and is payable upon application submission. Income generated from the application fee is shared between scholarships and student hardship fund.
Tuition fee deposit
Applicants are required to respond to their Offer of Admission and pay the £500 deposit within 28 days of receipt, or their place will be released and the offer automatically declined. The deposit is deductible from tuition fees upon full registration with LSHTM.