MSc Course in The Molecular Biology and Pathology of Viruses - Imperial College


Course Objectives
Virology Links
Course Structure
How to Apply
Further Information
Topics Covered
Imperial College Links
How to Find Us
Entry Qualifications


Recent advances have led to the identification of a number of viruses which are important agents of disease e.g. human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Much of this progress has come about through the application of the techniques of molecular biology to the identification and characterisation of these viruses. This in turn, has led to the prospects of new therapies being developed against these and many other important pathogenic viruses. There is also a growing concern that viruses may play a role in a number of other (particularly chronic) diseases. In addition there is the threat of new diseases due to the emergence of novel viruses or virus-like agents.

Imperial College Faculty of Medicine has a number of first rate research groups with a wide range of expertise in human pathogenic viruses including: hepatitis viruses (especially HBV and HCV), retroviruses (including HIV and HTLV-1), respiratory syncytial virus, poxviruses, Epstein- Barr virus and human papilloma viruses. Most of the teaching on the MSc in The Molecular Biology and Pathology of Viruses is carried out by members of these research groups. In October 2000, a new Institute for Infectious Diseases (The Wright-Fleming Institute), was formed by these groups on the St Mary's Campus. This now provides an even greater focus for research on human viral pathogens at Imperial College and excellent opportunities for student research projects.

Course Objectives

This MSc 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.

Course Structure

The course runs for 12 months of full-time study commencing in October 2010. The course is comprised of two parts, a taught component which is given over the first two terms (approximately 4 months) and a full-time laboratory based research project (8 months) which is carried out over the remainder of the session. The taught component is comprised of lectures, laboratory practicals, tutorials and student presentations and covers the most important aspects of viruses and viral diseases under 6 topic headings (see below).

Topics Covered

Introductory Core Lecture Programme
Virus Architecture and Virus Interactions with Cells
Virus Genomes, Gene Expression and Replication
Host Responses to Virus Infection
Diagnosis, Vaccines and Therapies
Epidemiology, Transmission and Evolution of Viruses


Continuous assessment, written examinations, research project report and an oral exam at the end of the course.

Entry Qualifications

A first degree in biological science (normally second class honours or better), medicine, veterinary science or a non-UK qualification of an equivalent standard.

You can apply now online: Registry , or contact the Registry: tel: +44 (0)20 7594 8093, fax: +44 (0)20 7594 8004,


This course should provide excellent training for students who wish to pursue a career in academic or industrial research and in particular it will provide a solid foundation for those who intend to go on to study for a PhD.

Further Information

Dr M.J. McGarvey (MSc Course Director), Division of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, Variety Wing Floor D, Room 3, St Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London, W2 1PG, tel: +44 (0)20 7594 9035, fax: +44 (0)20 7724 9369, or


How to find us

Campus information:

Department of Medicine A, Hepatology Section
Division of Medicine
Faculty of Medicine
Imperial College London
Variety Wing floor D, Room 3

St Mary's Campus
Norfolk Place

London W2 1PG

tel: +44 (0)20 7594 9035, fax: +44 (0)20 7724 9369

Travel Instructions

St. Mary's Campus

By Tube:

You can take the Hammersmith & City, District, Bakerloo or Circle Lines to Paddington Station. If you come out of Paddington Station turn left (Praed Street) and follow the road for approx 5 minutes. The St. Mary's Campus is a five minute walk.

By Rail:

If you come out of Paddington Station turn left (Praed Street) and follow the road for approx 5 minutes. The St. Mary's Campus is a five minute walk.

By Plane:

From Heathrow airport:

Take the Heathrow Express from Heathrow Airport direct to Paddington Station (15 minutes travelling time) or, take the Underground train (via Piccadilly Line) to Paddington (50 minutes travelling time).

From Gatwick airport:

Take a British Rail train to Victoria station (journey time 40 minutes) and then by Underground train to Paddington.

Both airports are some distance from central London therefore we would not recommend taxi.


For all alternative routes try these links:

Online A-Z:
Online A-Z:


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