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Molecular Parasitology and Vector Biology


School - School of Environment & Life Sciences

Subject area - Biomedical Science

Start Dates(s): September


MSc (one year full-time or up to three years part-time)
PgDip (eight months full-time or 16 months part-time)


Part-time - £1,334 per 30 credit module

UK - £8,000

International - £13,500

In Brief:

  • Innovative, collaborative course taught jointly by the University of Salford and Keele University
  • Significant practical training in parasitology including intensive residential field trip to Yorkshire’s Malham Tarn
  • Excellent platform for a research career
  • Part-time study option
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

The two contributing universities - 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 pioneering joint masters degree, focusing on the molecular aspects of parasite infections and vector biology. It aims to provide you with a sound insight into the biology of parasites and their control.

This course will educate you in contemporary studies of research on immunological and molecular aspects of selected parasites and vector/parasite relationships. You will also gain research experience in parasitology and/or entomology. Individual research projects can be based in either of the two institutions, choosing a topical aspect of parasitology, or vector biology.

Biomedical Research at the University of Salford

Course Details

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, Veterinary Science, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Biomedical Pharmacology, Zoology, Biomolecular Science, Biotechnology or Biomedical Lab Technology.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

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 applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is 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.

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

For more information please see our funding section


Teaching is delivered by research active staff from the University of Salford and Keele University. Teaching sessions are primarily based at Salford, though the facilities at Keele are also utilised with transport being provided for classes based at Keele.  

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

"All the lecturers involved in the course are passionate about their work and deliver superb lectures." 

Arianne Lovey,
now on PhD program at Rutgers in Infection, Immunity and Inflammation


Career Prospects

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

This MSc also equips students for PhD research and former students have gone on to study at international universities that include our partner university in Toledo (USA). Several students at Toledo have now completed their PhD studies and have gained employment at US Ivy League Institutes (Harvard Medical School and Cornell).

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 (EERC) or Biomedical Research Centre (BRC).

Biomedical Research at Salford

"The best thing about being at Salford was how friendly and close all the staff and students were - I felt like I had 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 two different institutions. The teaching was excellent and the research project has helped me immensely."

Jayde Whittingham-Dowd
MSc Molecular Parasitology and Vector Biology


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.

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