Molecular Parasitology and Vector Biology

Part-time study available
International Students can apply

3 good reasons to study Molecular Parasitology and Vector Biology at Salford


Innovative, collaborative course taught jointly by the University of Salford and Keele.


Significant practical training in parasitology including intensive residential field trip to Malham Tarn.


Excellent platform for a research career

Course Summary

The two contributing universities of Salford and Keele have considerable complementary research experience in the biology of parasites and the vectors which transmit them.

This has led to the development of this unique, pioneering joint Masters degree focusing on the molecular aspects of parasite infections and vector biology. It aims to give you a sound insight into the biology of parasites and their control. The course provides you with contemporary studies of research on immunological and molecular aspects of selected parasites and vector/parasite relationships. You will gain research experience in parasitology and/or entomology.

Course Details

Course Structure

Individual research projects can be based in any of the three institutions, choosing a topical aspect of parasitology, or vector biology.

This course has both full-time and part-time routes, comprising of three 14-week semesters or five 14-week semesters, which you can take within one or up to three years respectively:    

For the full-time study option:

Semester 1 - September to February

Semester 2 - February to June

Semester 3 - June to September

Semester 1

In semester 1 there is also a residential field trip to Malham Tarn field-centre, North Yorkshire where you will learn parasite diagnostic techniques through analysis of local wildlife.

This module provides a level of core knowledge and awareness of the importance of human and animal parasites. The module then develops to provide a basic understanding of the mammalian immune system, its control and how it is involved in protection against parasitic infections. There is detailed information on immunity to specific nematode, cestode, trematode and protozoan parasites.
This module provides an up-to-date insight into the major vector groups of arthropods, their behaviour and transmission potential, and the application of modern control techniques. Lectures are complemented with laboratory classes.

Semester 2

This module presents a coherent overview of some of the most recent and important research that exploits molecular biology to advance the study of parasite biology and the diseases that they cause. Extensive training in molecular biology is offered via a laboratory course.
Training in data handling, written and presentation skills required for successful and efficient approaches to research. Additional careers support and advice sessions. Students not wishing to continue onto the dissertation project can be awarded the Postgraduate Diploma if leaving the course at this stage.

Semester 3

Research projects in the areas of parasite biology, vector biology or immunology can be carried out at Salford or Keele Universities.

Part-time structure

The MSc in Molecular Parasitology and Vector Biology would run over a three year period part-time.

Year 1 Semester 1

  • Fundamentals of Parasitology

Semester 2

  • Research Skills (Parasitology)

Year 2 Semester 1

  • Vector Biology and Control

Year 2 Semester 2

  • Molecular Biology of Parasites

Year 3

  • Dissertation

Entry Requirements

Applicants should possess at least a UK lower second class honours degree (2:2) or equivalent in either Biological, Medical, Vetinary Science, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Biomedical Pharmacology, Zoology, Biomolecular Science, Biotechnology or Biomedical Lab Technology.

Accreditation for Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

English Language Requirements

International and EU students must provide evidence of proficiency in English- IELTS 6.0 band score (with no element below 5.5) or above are proof of this.

Suitable For

Graduates who wish to enter research, teaching, scientific laboratory management and careers in parasitology and vector biology including diagnostic centres and overseas fields centres.

Applicant profile


Teaching is delivered by research active staff from Salford and Keele Universities. Teaching sessions are primarily based at Salford, though the facilities at Keele are also utilised. Transport is provided for classes based at Keele.  

Teaching sessions include lectures, laboratory practicals, field work, tutorials, guest lectures and guided reading.

The Dissertation can be based at Salford or Keele.

Part-time students study Fundamentals of Parasitology and Molecular Biology of Parasites in year 1, Vector Biology and Control, and Research Skills (Parasitology) in year 2.  Students may wish to complete the Dissertation in year 2, or year 3 depending upon commitments.


The Research Skills (Parasitology) and Dissertation modules are assessed by coursework. The remaining modules are assessed by coursework and examination.

Postgraduate Staff Profile

Dr Darren Brooks
MSc Molecular Parasitology and Vector Biology
Expertise: Roles of peptidases in nematode biology; impact of parasite diseases upon threatened wildlife.

Dr Frederic Tripet, University of Keele
MSc Molecular Parasitology and Vector Biology
Expertise: population structure and speciation of the Anopheles gambiae complex; evolutionary ecology of mating behaviour in mosquitoes; ecological immunology of Anopheles/Plasmodium interactions.


Career Prospects

Graduates from this course have entered employment as research assistants or research laboratory technicians in pharmaceuticals, drug design and pesticide research. Other careers have included pollution microbiologists with water authorities, and work in hospital laboratories investigating the haematology, molecular biology and immunology of infectious diseases.

The MSc equips students for PhD research and former students have gone onto PhD study at prestigious Universities, including Oxford, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester and Toledo (USA).  The students at Toledo have now completed their PhD studies are have gained employment at US Ivy League Institutes (Harvard Medical School and Cornell).  Other students have elected to work in hospital laboratories, or diversify their careers by taking medical sales or enter teacher training posts. 

Former overseas students have returned to their home country to take academic, or government positions.

Alumni Profile

Jayde Whittingham-Dowd

The best thing about being at Salford was how friendly and close all the staff and students are - I feel like I have been accepted as one of the team rather than just another student.

I really enjoyed everything about the course, especially the fact that I gained expertise from three different institutions.  The teaching was excellent and the research project has helped me immensely.

Links with Industry

Further Study

After completion of this course you may wish to specialise in a chosen subject area in one of the School’s two main research centres: Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre (EER) or Biomedical Research Centre (BRC).

Fees and Funding

Fees 2016-17

Type of StudyFee
Part-time£1,334 per 30 credits
Full-time International£13,300, part-time £2,217 per 30 credits
Full-time PgDip£5,334

Fees 2017-18

Type of StudyFee
Part-time£1,334 per 30 credit module
Full-time International£13,500

Additional costs

  • Field courses - a non refundable deposit of £25 is charged for all residential field courses 
  • Field trips - students will not be charged for field (day) trips but are expected to provide their own refreshments.

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We offer awards to help you study through our:

  • Vice-Chancellor's Excellence Scholarship
  • University of Salford student loyalty discount
  • Country bursary scheme for International students only

There are also other sources of funding available to you.

For more information please see our funding section

The Postgraduate Bursaries and Scholarships for 2017-18 entry are currently under review and subject to change. A revised schedule of scholarships and bursaries will be published in Spring 2017.


The School is home to state-of-the-art laboratories with dedicated research labs for your research project, and you will also have use of the facilities at Keele.