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Molecular Parasitology and Vector Biology


School - School of Environment & Life Sciences

Subject area - Biomedical Science

Start Date(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 - £1,370 per 30 credits

UK - £8,220

International - £13,860

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

Semester 1  

This module provides a level of core knowledge and awareness of the importance of human and animal parasites. A major component of the module is a residential field trip in which you will develop skills in diagnostic parasitology. The module is assessed by coursework submission based upon the field        course.      
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 and the assessments are an end of module examination and a coursework        submission based on laboratory classes.      
This module will provide you with the key skills and knowledge to pursue academic research at the postgraduate and professional level. You will gain knowledge and understanding of the current ‘big issues’ in the life sciences and will understand how ethics and bioethics can enhance critical        thinking in often controversial subject areas.      

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. The lecture course is complemented by lab-based learning. The module is assessed by coursework submission        based upon the lecture and laboratory classes.      
This module will enable you to design, plan and execute a programme of research and to apply appropriate analysis of research results, it has a strong focus on acquiring laboratory skills prior to undertaking the final research project module and as such will develop your practical skills beyond that        of a standard MSc programme. It will provide opportunities for you to develop essential research skills in the discipline and allow you to undertake project work broadly aligned to the focus of your dissertation.      
This module presents an up-to-date insight into how parasites interact and influence the mammalian immune response. Mechanisms of resistance and tolerance to infections are discussed as well as disease pathology. Immunology practical classes complement the lecture series. The module is assessed by coursework        submission based upon the lecture and laboratory classes.      
You will gain understanding of detailed information about the major impact of infectious disease on global health and the factors that contribute towards their outcomes. This module will discuss the latest technologies used to investigate key infectious diseases and the current developments in diagnostics        and treatment options. We will discuss the limitations of current diagnosis; treatment and control options in light of increasing antimicrobial resistance and genetic mutation and develop practical knowledge and skills in the application of basic and molecular microbiology techniques.      
This module provides an overview of the main concepts and issues in the epidemiology of communicable and non-communicable diseases, including the key environmental and biological drivers of epidemics.      

Semester 3  

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

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 2018-19

Type of StudyFee
Part-time£1,370 per 30 credits
Full-time International£13,860

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 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 (accommodation on Keele campus guaranteed).


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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