Parasitology & Pathogen Biology

The PgDip programme in Parasitology and Pathogen Biology is designed for students seeking training in parasite-borne infectious diseases that severely undermine: human health in the developing world and tropics; agri-food production systems globally (including plant health and animal health and welfare).

Students taking the course will develop expertise directly applicable to human, plant and animal health and welfare, food security and the future sustainability of food production, particularly within livestock and plant/crop production systems.

The course will be run entirely by research active and will offer students the opportunity to gain experience in internationally competitive laboratories.

Entry requirements

Entrance requirements
Normally a 2.2 Honours degree or above in a relevant area of science or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University.

Applicants with qualifications below 2.2 Honours degree standard (or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University) will be considered on a case-by-case basis, if they can demonstrate appropriate experience, acceptable to the School.

For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

English Language Requirements

Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.0, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
•Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
•Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.


1 year full-time.

Teaching times will be across morning and afternoon, at various times throughout the week

Careers or further progression

Career Prospects
The skills set and knowledge acquired will equip you with a comprehensive academic and methodological repertoire to undertake careers in agriculture, plant science, animal and human health, pharmaceutica, academia and food security.

Further enquiries

Dr Nikki Marks
School of Biological Sciences
Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 2046

Subjects taught

Course Structure
Foundation for Research in the Biosciences

This module introduces students to the process of designing and planning a research project including all associated aspects such as: formulating hypothesis; designing experiments; budgeting; and potential impact of research.

Fundamental Parasitology & Advanced Skills
A range of key techniques in infection biology, including the rationale behind the use of both currently employed and emerging technologies is covered alongside a variety of methods used to treat, monitor and identify parasite and pathogen infections. Overviews and practical experience of technologies such as ribonucleic acid interference (RNAi), immunocytochemistry (ICC), polymerase chain reaction (PCR), the McMaster technique, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), bioinformatics and endoparasite egg and vector identification will be covered

Advanced Parasitology I
This module covers a range of diverse internationally relevant diseases/infections and their impact on human, plant and animal health will be discussed as will the current challenges faced in terms of their control in light of abiotic and biotic factors.

Advanced Parasitology II
This module covers key facets of parasite biology including: drug action and resistance; drug discovery and drug target validation; vaccine development; host-parasite interactions; parasite induced pathology; parasite genomics/transcriptomics/proteomics; parasite functional genomics; parasite behaviour and neurobiology.

Bio-Entrepreneurship & Advanced Skills
Covers the fundamentals of bio-entrepreneurship; business and financial planning; routes to market: the role of R&D in the Biotech industry; intellectual property; literature critiquing and solving quantitative problems in the molecular biosciences.

Literature Review
A review of the literature in the field of parasitology using primary scientific literature with skills such as literature searching; referencing of literature; scientific writing; presenting an argument and independent learning skills.


Parasitology and Pathogen Biology highlights
Biological Sciences was the first school of Bio Sciences in the UK to achieve a prestigious Athena SWAN Gold award in recognition of its outstanding progress in promoting gender equality and addressing the unequal representation of women in science.

Industry Links
•This programme embraces the One Health approach to these infectious diseases, with strong recognition of the interplay between health and disease at the dynamic interface between humans, animals and the environment. In addition to embedded generic skills training, students will have the opportunity to acquire subject-specific skills training, e.g. molecular biology techniques, diagnostics, epidemiology (human, animal and plant diseases), drug/vaccine development, pathogen management/control, host-parasite interaction, immunobiology, drug resistance and the potential impact of climate change on parasites and their vectors.

Career Development
•The transferrable skill set and knowledge base acquired from the programme will equip students with a highly desirable qualification that is suited to those wishing to pursue careers in human health/infectious disease, animal health, veterinary medicine, animal/plant biology, pharmaceutical sciences and food security.

World Class Facilities
•In addition to the taught elements of the course, students will undertake a research project working in research active laboratories (academic or industrial), or in the field, e.g. the impact of helminth infections on animal welfare, the economic impact of parasites on agriculture, the role of vectors in emerging diseases, the ecology of zoonotic diseases, the molecular basis of anthelmintic resistance, emerging technologies for drug discovery, the pathology of infection, parasite immunomodulation of the host.

Learning and Teaching
Learning opportunities associated with this course are outlined below:
At Queen's, we deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable students to achieve their full academic potential.

In addition to laboratory teaching it is envisaged that participants will also acquire field experience in vector and parasite sampling and control methodologies.

Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course include; lectures, practical experiences, E-Learning technologies, self-directed study and added value qualifications to enhance employability.

Assessment method

The award of the PgDip in Parasitology & Pathogen Biology is based on continuous assessment of coursework, examinations and assessment of modules based on submitted work related to private, individual study.

Application date

How to Apply
Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

Enrolment and start dates

Entry year 2020

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