Image of a microscopic view of viruses

Understanding and Controlling Viral Infections

Masters Certificate of Professional Development in Understanding and Controlling Viral Infections

Level 7, 20 credits

Course aims
  1. To provide students with the fundamental principles of epidemiology as related to viral diseases
  2. To extend knowledge and appreciation of the scientific principles used in the control of viral infections and related diseases
  3. To introduce students to the roles of viruses in development of cancers
Course length

The module is delivered in semester two of the academic year which runs from January to April.  

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
  • Basic concepts of epidemiology and causal relationships 
  • Use of epidemiology to predict and control the spread of viral diseases, using AIDS, influenza, small pox and haemorrhagic fevers as examples
  • Cohorts, rates, incidence and prevalence, the predictive values of positive and negative results and the scope and use of meta-analysis
  • Smallpox eradication as an example of a successful vaccination campaign and poliomyelitis vaccination as an example of a current campaign
  • Principles of vaccination, passive and active vaccination, selective and universal vaccination, attenuation, prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines and adjuvants
  • Attenuated and killed vaccines, split vaccines, subunit vaccines, peptide vaccines, recombinant antigens, DNA vaccines (especially in relation to usage in the immunocompromised host)
  • Childhood vaccination schedules, chronicity and carriers
  • Strategies for antiviral drug usage, potency, bioavailabilty, drug resistance, topical agents
  • Antiviral drugs and their clinical use against influenza, herpesviruses, HIV
  • Interferon, nucleoside and non-nucleoside analogues, protease inhibitors, reverse transcriptase inhibitors, neuraminidase inhibitors
  • Tumours, malignancy, transformation and oncogenesis
  • Papovaviruses (Polyomaviruses, Papillomaviruses, HPV) and vaccines
  • Herpesviruses and cancer (EBV, HHV-8)
  • Hepatitis viruses and cancer (HBV, HCV) and vaccines
  • Retroviruses and cancer (HTLV-1, HTLV-2)
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 

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