Molecular Biology and Pathology of Viruses
  • Postgraduate taught
  • MSc

Molecular Biology and Pathology of Viruses

Analyse the nature of viruses as cellular parasites and their importance in human, animal and plant diseases.

Analyse the nature of viruses as cellular parasites and their importance in human, animal and plant diseases

Engage with leading experts in virology and molecular biology and attend the UK’s principal virology conference

Develop your research skills and carry out a laboratory-based research project

Course key facts

  • Qualification

    • MSc

  • Duration

    1 year

  • Start date

    September 2024

  • Study mode


  • Fees

    • £14,900 Home

    • £43,250 Overseas

  • Delivered by

  • Location

    • South Kensington

Minimum entry standard

  • 2:1 in Biological Sciences, Biochemistry, Biophysics, Medicine, Physiology, Veterinary Sciences or a related Biomedical science subject.

  • The department will consider 2:2 on a case-by-case basis.

View full entry requirements

Course overview

Examine the fundamental nature of viruses as molecular machines and cellular parasites on this Master's course.

You'll consider their importance in human, animal and plant diseases and explore recent major advances in the understanding of how the viruses manipulate host cellular machineries to establish infection.

The programme also covers the molecular mechanisms of virus replication, virus disease pathogenesis, and the emergence of novel viruses, alongside the intrinsic defences mounted by our cells, as well as exploring the therapeutic strategies for detecting, preventing and treating viral diseases.

You'll engage with experts from many areas of molecular virology and cell biology during the course. Through this collaborative work, you'll develop skills to embark on further study at PhD level or support a career in academic or industrial research.

Two research projects also provide an opportunity to learn and apply techniques to important research problems.


This page is updated regularly to reflect the latest version of the curriculum. However, this information is subject to change.

Find out more about potential course changes.

Please note: it may not always be possible to take specific combinations of modules due to timetabling conflicts. For confirmation, please check with the relevant department.

You’ll take all of these core taught modules.

Taught modules

You'll join an academic research laboratory to carry out an original research project investigating an important question on a subject related to virology.

During the six-month project, you'll work under supervision in a research team, interacting with researchers working in related areas.

You'll also attend the Annual Conference of the Microbiology Society.

Most projects are carried out within the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College. However, some may be carried out at other Imperial campuses or with external research institutions in the UK, or possibly abroad.

You will give an oral presentation of your project to your peers, and your work will be assessed by a 10,000 word thesis and an oral ‘viva’ examination.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning methods

  • Person giving seminar
  • Four students sitting in a tutorial
    Group tutorials
  • Person at lectern giving speech
  • Journal clubs
  • Group work
  • A person studying independently
    Independent study
  • Data interpretation sessions
  • People attending a conference
  • Blackboard virtual learning environment
    Virtual learning environment
  • Laboratory skills sessions

Balance of assessment


  • Modules and mini-research project
  • Research project

  • 50% Modules and mini-research project
  • 50% Research project

Assessment methods

  • Papers from a written report
    Scientific writing abstract or summary
  • A person completing a written exam
    Written examinations
  • Poster project
    Poster and oral poster presentation
  • Papers from a written report
    Individual written project report
  • Literature review
  • Research project proposal document
    Research grant proposal
  • Research project thesis
  • Oral examination

Entry requirements

How to apply

Apply online

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

Tuition fees

Home fee

2024 entry


Overseas fee

2024 entry



The Dean’s Master’s Scholarships

Value per award

  • £10,000

Who it's for

  • All students applying to study a Faculty of Medicine Master’s programme beginning in October 2024
Find out more

The Dr Jean Alero Thomas Scholarships

Value per award

  • Partial or full tuition fee at the Home rate

Who it's for

  • All students applying to study a Faculty of Medicine lab-based Master’s programme beginning in October 2024
Find out more

How will studying at Imperial help my career?

Test tubes

Be equipped with the skills to pursue PhD study, or if medically qualified, move into clinical practice or research.

Lightbulb with graduate cap inside

With specialised knowledge, you'll be highly sought after in a range of sectors.

Terms and conditions

There are some important pieces of information you should be aware of when applying to Imperial. These include key information about your tuition fees, funding, visas, accommodation and more.

Read our terms and conditions

You can find further information about your course, including degree classifications, regulations, progression and awards in the programme specification for your course.

Programme specifications