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MSc Molecular Biology and Pathology of Viruses

MSc Molecular Biology and Pathology of Viruses

Duration: 1 year full-time



This course offers an integrated approach to the understanding of the nature of viruses and their role in disease pathogenesis, with an emphasis on the understanding of these processes at the molecular level.

The objectives of this course are to equip those intending to pursue a career in academic or industrial research with the required knowledge and skills, and to provide a solid foundation for those who aim to go on to study at PhD level.

During the course you will develop an in-depth understanding of the structure and function of viruses and the processes of viral infection and viral diseases at the molecular level.

The course also provides training in laboratory and research skills in a supportive learning environment.


Study programme


The programme is comprised of two parts:

  • Taught component: lectures and seminars given over the first two terms (5 months)
  • Research project: full-time laboratory based research project completed in the last term (6 months)

The taught component is comprised of lectures, laboratory practicals, tutorials and student presentations and covers the most important aspects of viruses and viral diseases.

Testing of the knowledge acquired is through a combination of written examinations, assessments, and the individual research project report and viva.





Many graduates proceed to PhD study, or if medically qualified, to clinical practice or research. As well as scientific training, this course expands your transferable skills, allowing you to enter a variety of other careers including, industry, finance, management and various types of consultancy.



Modules shown are for the current academic year and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

Please note that the curriculum of this course is currently being reviewed as part of a College-wide process to introduce a standardised modular structure. As a result, the content and assessment structures of this course may change for your year of entry. We therefore recommend that you check this course page before finalising your application and after submitting it as we will aim to update this page as soon as any changes are ratified by the College.

You take all of the core modules below.


  • Diagnosis, Vaccines and Therapies
  • Epidemiology, Transmission and Evolution of Viruses
  • Virus Architecture and Virus Interactions with Cells
  • Virus Disease
  • Virus Genomes, Gene Expression and Replication

You begin your research project in the Spring term and continue to work on your project for six-months. You complete a 10,000 word thesis and give an oral presentation at the end of the academic year.

Most projects are carried out at the  campus, with the option to conduct your project at other Northampton campuses or at external research institutions and companies in the USA.

Teaching and assessment


Teaching methods


  • Four-week Mini-Research Project
  • Six-month Laboratory Based Research Project
  • Class tutorials
  • Computer Data Analysis Sessions
  • Group Revision Sessions
  • Group Work Sessions
  • Formative assessment on Blackboard
  • Laboratory Teaching
  • Lectures and keynote Lectures
  • Online tutorials on Blackboard
  • Small Group Tutorials


Assessment methods


  • Data interpretation exercises
  • Research paper critique
  • Viva voce
  • Written examinations
  • Written Research Thesis

Entry requirements


We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis.

Minimum academic requirement

Our minimum requirement is a 2.2 degree in biological science, medicine or veterinary science.

International qualifications

We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications.

The academic requirement above is for applicants who hold or who are working towards a USA qualification.

For guidance see our Country Index though please note that the standards listed here are the minimum for entry to the College, and not specifically this Department.

If you have any questions about admissions and the standard required for the qualification you hold or are currently studying then please contact the relevant admissions team.

English language requirement (all applicants)

All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for postgraduate applicants.

How to apply


You can submit one application form per year of entry, and usually choose up to two courses.


Making an application

All applicants to our Master’s courses must apply online.