MSc Medical and Molecular Virology / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Introductory Medical and Molecular Virology

Course unit fact file
Unit code BIOL65201
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Biological Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No


The unit will focus on the general concepts in medical and molecular virology. These will include the varied structure and replication mechanisms of viruses and how the host immune system responds to infection. This understanding will be used to explore how viruses cause disease and how the immune response and molecular structure can be helpful in informing diagnosis, management and prevention of infection and disease.

The unit will comprise a mixture of lectures, seminars and practical laboratory classes.



Develop and/or consolidate the knowledge and understanding of the concepts and tools used in medical and molecular virology.  This learning is essential to allow access to the advanced material delivered in the following 3 units of the programme.


Teaching and learning methods

Teaching and Learning processes will include lectures, structured practical laboratory classes, and seminars. Resource materials will be provided via Blackboard.


Knowledge and understanding

A systematic understanding of viral structure, classification and replication and how this differs between viral species.

Understand the normal human immune response to viral infection and how this influences disease pathogenesis.

Systematic understanding of how viruses are detected and viral infections are diagnosed to enable critical evaluation of the most appropriate diagnostic methods for particular situations.

Current and comprehensive understanding of the principles of control and prevention of virus infection including knowledge of the science underlying antiviral chemotherapy and vaccine development.

Critical awareness of management and treatment strategies for viral infections

Intellectual skills

Critically analyse, evaluate and interpret the results of controlled experiments and from different technological platforms and integrate theory and practice

Be able to articulate orally and in writing why particular diagnostic and management strategies are, or are not, appropriate.

Begin to consider ethical issues associated with viral infections and formulate independent views on these.

Show development of planning and organisational skills


Practical skills

Be able to carry out standard laboratory techniques in medical and molecular virology demonstrating competency and awareness of health and safety issues.

Use conventional and electronic resources to synthesise and analyse relevant scientific information

Present information clearly in the form of written reports

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Efficiently utilise resources in a laboratory environment where data is required within a given timeframe and using limited reagents

Start to work effectively in a team by carrying out tasks within a small group in a structured laboratory situation, and by problem solving within a group setting.

Be able to assimilate complex ideas and translate them in written form to present new information in a concise but understandable format. 


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 50%
Set exercise 50%

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Pamela Vallely Unit coordinator

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