MSc Immunology of Infectious Diseases (pre-course info)

General welcome

We are delighted to welcome you to LSHTM and to the MSc Immunology of Infectious Diseases.

You have chosen an exciting, multi-cultural place of academic excellence to develop your career for the next 12 months and this programme will provide a sound basis for your future plans in research or infectious disease control.

During the year you will make a lot of new friends, not just with other MSc students but also PhD students and staff. We are a friendly and interactive bunch of people who look forward to supporting you in this next phase of your academic career. We hope to bring to you our excitement in trying to understand the intricate biology of immune system, the devious strategies of the pathogens that try to attack us and the real-life implementation of immunology, such as in vaccination, which has had such a dramatic effect on global public health.

Welcome Week

Welcome Week timetable

The first week of term is given over to an introductory process involving registration and meetings with the Programme Director and teaching staff. There will be introductory sessions to explain the year in total and more specifically the Term 1 teaching plans and how to access the learning material.

You will also be allocated a personal tutor for the duration of the year. Tutorials are timetabled for every two weeks during Term 1, then as agreed in arrangement with your tutor for the rest of the year. You will be able to access your email account and get to know the Moodle, LSHTM's virtual learning environment, where almost all materials will be held.


When you arrive at LSHTM, your Programme Director will invite you to participate in a Pentacell, an activity that strengthens the School community, increases our wellbeing and forwards our goal of improving global health. The idea is deceptively simple – five students meet weekly for five weeks and listen to each other’s ideas and perspectives. It’s not compulsory but is strongly recommended by our School's Director, Liam Smeeth, Programme Directors, Student Support Services and former students.

Feedback from previous students:

“It was nice to be able to connect with people on my programme that I wouldn't necessarily have spoken to otherwise and it was a good way to make friends at the beginning.”

“Our Pentacell group chose not always to follow the exact guidelines for each session, and instead focused more on getting to know members of our programme better. I enjoyed the Pentacell experience we had, as it helped develop interpersonal relationships with those on my programme.”

“It gave me an opportunity to meet people on my programme. It also helped me develop interpersonal skills.” 

“Very pleasant experience especially for me as an international student who moved to the UK for the 1st time.”

Term 1

Term 1 is mainly devoted to the MSc core module “Immunology of Infectious Diseases”.

This part of the programme aims to equip you with a balanced knowledge of important immunological concepts before you progress to more advanced studies in Terms 2 and 3.

The core timetable is modified each year, based on comments and suggestions from previous MSc student evaluations, and will include many lecturers from colleges and institutes external to LSHTM. This will give you access to expertise in a wide range of immunology topics and also an opportunity to talk personally to experts about your own areas of interest. There will also be tutorial sessions with your personal tutor.

The default for lectures, tutorials and problem sessions are for face-to-face delivery in Keppel Street (except in some instances where the presenter is overseas, in which case they will deliver via webinar while you are all together in a teaching classroom). Laboratory classes will mostly occur on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. There are also private study sessions throughout each week to give you time to assimilate the material covered. Friday is devoted to further skills in statistics and molecular biology, some of which may be delivered online. You will note that the timetable is fairly full so you will need to give your full attention to the MSc.

Preparing for the programme

It may be useful if you have limited prior knowledge of immunology to look through one of the major immunology text books before you arrive but there is no essential requirement for this. If you are worried – don’t be – but if you are please contact We do start at the beginning with innate immunity, then antigen recognition and the immune system biology, immune organs, their architecture and cells. Although we progress rapidly, we do start at the beginning.

We do not recommend a specific book as each book has its strengths and weaknesses and it would be wrong to suggest the programme relies on a particular source. Immunology is fast-moving and even the core immunology course includes material where expert lecturers in particular areas will provide insights beyond the current text book material. The important thing is that within a week or so of starting lectures you should have access to a recent edition of one of the following:

  • Janeway’s Immunobiology ISBN-10: ‎0393884910, ISBN-13: 978-0815345510 (Norton & Company)
  • Roitt’s Essential Immunology ISBN: 978-1-118-41577-1 (Wiley-Blackwell)
  • Abbas Cellular and Molecular Immunology, ISBN-10: ‎ 9780323479783, ISBN-13: 978-0323479783 (Elsevier)

You will not need any other materials.

In terms of laboratory classes: lab coats are provided by the appropriate laboratory.

Timetable and programme materials

You will receive your Term 1 module 3120 timetable during Welcome Week and other materials at the start or shortly before each module. Rest assured that this is a full-time programme and there will not be much time off during the day and what you have is expected to be spent in private study.

Copies of lecture slides and all other learning materials will be provided via a dedicated MSc IID Moodle folder. During the term, these materials from each speaker usually go online only a few days before the lecture slot in your timetable so please don’t expect to see a lot of material for specific lectures too many weeks in advance. We try to update things as close to the time of presentation as possible.

Module and summer project choices

Everyone taking the MSc does the Immunology of Infectious Diseases core module followed by two Advanced Immunology modules.

As you will have gathered from reading about the MSc, the length of the project can vary considerably to suit your needs. Those who wish may pursue additional taught course modules (after completion of Advanced Immunology 1 & 2) and then do a laboratory project over the summer period. For these students, the decisions about modules are likely to be made at around mid November and the project needs to be chosen by the start of February.

Some students may choose to do the extended project starting immediately after the end of Advanced Immunology. You should be aware that this is one of the earlier decisions you will need to make. We will discuss this more with you when you arrive but you will have time to discuss areas and potential projects with a variety of supervisors at least until towards the end of the core module.

Information for split-study students

Initially you will be doing the whole of the Term 1 core module so your timetable will be the same as everyone else. You will have until Christmas to finalise any arrangements for which components of the MSc you complete in which year, but as you will be aware this is not a part-time programme.

Page last updated September 2023