Key Facts

Course Title: Molecular Parasitology and Vector Biology
Course type: MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
Mode of Study:Full Time or Part Time
Contact Details:Salford University
Website: Go to School homepage
Faculty: Faculty of Natural Sciences
Subject Area: Science


This course has been running for over 25 years and is one of only three in the country. The two contributing universities of Keele and Salford have considerable complementary research experience in the biology of parasites and the insect vectors that transmit them. This has led to the development of this unique, joint MSc degree between the two institutions, focusing on the ecology and molecular biology of parasitism, immunology of infection, treatment of infection, the ecology and molecular biology or insect vectors, and the control of their natural populations. The teaching is undertaken by staff from the two institutions and mostly based at Salford with specialized laboratory session at Keele. Students are able to carry out an extensive research project in the research laboratories of one of the two universities. The strong focus on the molecular aspects of parasitic infections, vector biology, and vector control, will appeal to recent graduates wishing to further their training before embarking upon a research career in Entomology, Parasitology, Molecular Biology or Immunology; to those considering a career in Biotechnology; and to overseas students seeking specialist training before entering a career in managing parasitological or vector-related research and control appropriate to their own country.

The vast majority of the teaching team on the course are internationally recognized experts in their field of research. As an example, most of the Keele teaching team belong to the Centre for Applied Entomology and Parasitology which is highly rated for its world-leading research and excellent research facilities. Therefore the course provides a unique opportunity to set a foot in the real world of research in Parasitology and Medical Entomology.

Aims of the Course

The aims of the course are to provide:

  • A sound insight into the biology of parasitic diseases their transmission and control of the vectors
  • Contemporary studies of current research on immunological and molecular aspects of selected parasites and vector/parasite relationships
  • Training in research and modern techniques in the study of vectors and parasites

Entry Requirements

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

International and EU students must provide evidence of English proficiency – IELTS 6.0 overall with no individual band score below 5.5 or a score of TOEFL at 550 or above (76 and above internet based test).

Course Content

Taught Masters programmes require satisfactory completion of at least 180 credits, 120 from taught modules and 60 credits from the research project. Students who complete their studies after satisfactory completion of 120 taught credits may receive a Postgraduate Diploma. Students gaining 60 credits will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate. The programme is as follows:

Course Modules

Semester 1

  • Module 1 – Parasitology and Immunology (30 credits)
  • Module 2 – Vector Biology and control (30 credits)          

Semester 2

  • Module 3 – Research skills in Parasitology (30 credits)
  • Module 4 – Molecular Biology of Parasites (30 credits)

Semester 3

  • Module 5 – Research Project – 4 months (60 credits) PgDip students only

Modules 1-4 are compulsory for all students. If modules are passed at 50% or higher, students may progress to module 5. Students also successfully completing module 5 will be awarded an MSc.

If modules 1-4 are passed, students may be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma. Students successfully completing 60 credits may be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate.

Module Descriptions

In addition to Modules 1 and 2 in semester 1, there is a residential field trip to Malham Tarn field-centre, North Yorkshire where you will learn parasite diagnostic techniques through analysis of local wildlife.

Parasitology and Immunology - An introduction to parasites and vectors concentrating on life cycles, transmission, pathology and control of parasitic infections. Immunological aspects of parasitic infections including immunity, immunodiagnosis, regulation of immunity, immunoevasion and vaccine development.

Vector Biology and Control - An introduction to the life-cycles of vectors, their ecology, role in transmission, vector/parasite interactions as well as past and current developments in vector control strategies.

Molecular Biology of Parasites - Genome analysis in parasites, molecular taxonomy, antigen cloning and molecular approaches to parasite/vector cell biology.

Research Skills in Parasitology - Analytical Techniques module incorporated into the Research Skills course will enable students to gain hands-on experience in modern molecular techniques including cDNA library manipulation, PCR, Immunoassays and separation techniques.

Research Projects - Towards the last part of the second semester (May/June) students will choose individual research projects which will be carried out within a research group of one of the two institutions for the remainder of the course and which will be presented as a dissertation for the final examination.

Exchange programs

Keele University has an exchange programme with the University of Sains Malaysia and MSc students have the option of conducting their research projects in a tropical setting at the USM Penang campus (additional costs apply). 

Teaching and Assessment

Assessment is through a variety of methods including exams, essays and practical work. MSc students will be required in addition to carry out a research project and write it up in a dissertation.

All Masters students must pass modules 1-5 at 50% to give them 180 credits. Students gaining 120 credits will be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma. Students gaining 60 credits will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate.

Additional Costs

Apart from additional costs for text books, inter-library loans and potential overdue library fines we do not anticipate any additional costs for this post graduate programme.

This is administered by Salford University. Please see here for details.

Current fees are:

  • Full-time MSc Home/EU: £7,500
  • Part-time MSc: £1,250 per 30 credits
  • Full-time PgDip: £5,000
  • International Full-time MSc: £12,800

Undergraduate students finishing with distinction (1st or 70%) are eligible for the excellence scholarship (£1,500 for UK/EU and £2,000 for international students).

25% loyalty discount is granted to all former Salford and Keele undergraduates.