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PgDip | Postgraduate Taught

Parasitology and Pathogen Biology

Entry year
Entry requirements
1 year (Full Time)
Places available
Please note, the start date of this course may have changed. Check for latest updates.
  • Overview

    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.

    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.

    Brexit Advice

    Information on the implications of Brexit for prospective students.

  • Course content

    Course Structure


    IntroductionFoundation 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.

    People teaching you

    Dr Nikki Marks

    Biological Sciences

    Teaching Times

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

    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.

    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.


    Assessments associated with this course are outlined below:

    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.

  • 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.

    International Students

    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.

    As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be offering Academic English and Pre-sessional courses online only from June to September 2020.

    • 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.

    INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

  • Fees and Funding

    Tuition Fees

    Northern Ireland (NI) £4,093
    England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £4,600
    Other (non-UK) EU £4,093
    International £13,867

    All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2020-21. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

    More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

    Additional course costs

    All Students

    Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

    Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

    Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

    If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

    Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

    There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

    Parasitology and Pathogen Biology costs

    Students are required to buy a laboratory coat at a cost of £10.

    How do I fund my study?

    The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

    A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,609 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

    More information on funding options and financial assistance.

    International Scholarships

    Information on scholarships for international students, is available at

  • Apply

    How to Apply

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

    Apply now

    Terms and Conditions

    The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
    Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

    Download a prospectus