Image of a microscopic view of viruses

Principles of Virology

Masters Certificate of Professional Development in Principles of Virology

Level 7, 20 credits

Course aims
  1. To introduce students to the study of virus systematics and virus-host relationships
  2. To provide students with the fundamental principles of immunology as related to virology
  3. To extend knowledge and appreciation of the scientific principles used in the diagnosis of viral infections and related diseases
Course length

The module is delivered in semester one of the academic year which runs from September to December. 

Course structure

The module is assessed through one written assignment (40%) and a module examination (60%).


You will undertake the module through distance learning, using the University’s virtual learning environment, Blackboard.

Course content
  • Classification and nomenclature of viruses
  • RNA and DNA virus replication
  • Viral structure and assembly
  • Viral transmission, barriers to transmission and incubation periods
  • Acute and chronic viral infections, persistence and latency, virulence, morbidity and mortality
  • Viral survival mechanisms including mutation, shift and drift and genome rearrangement
  • Zoonoses, epizootics and nosocomial infections
  • Components of innate and adaptive immune systems, with emphasis on roles of antibodies and cell-mediated immunity in viral clearance and recovery from viral infections
  • Mechanisms of viral infections and immunopathology 
  • The consequences of immunodeficiency and autoimmunity in relation to viral infections with emphasis on the immunocompromised host
  • Passive and active vaccination
  • Immune responses to viral infections of the central nervous system
Course fees

£640 (£32 per credit)

Entry requirements

All applicants normally require a relevant BSc degree in a Biological Sciences subject with at least a lower second (2:2) award. We also consider non-standard qualifications supported by relevant experience.  

How to apply

Please apply using the postgraduate online application form 

Accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS)

Further information

Faculty Admissions Team
James Parsons Building
Byrom Street
L3 3AF

Telephone: 0151 231 2888

Dr Anne Humphreys, Programme Manager
Telephone: 0151 231 2205

Janet Jackson, Programme Administrator
Telephone: 0151 231 2524

This Continuing Professional Development programme is accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS)

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Institute of Biomedical Science Logo

The University may make changes to a programme of study or module where such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University.

Further guidance on programme changes