Postgraduate Factfile: Virology MSc

Virology laboratories, practicing virologist, nature of virology, research project
Download programme brochure

Course at a glance

Mode of study: Distance learning, On-line, Part Time (3 years)
Start date: September

  • Course is accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science
  • Supportive Learning Environment and Personal Tutor System
  • You will be eligible for Chartered Scientist (CSci) title on completion of the programme (other eligibility criteria apply)
  • This part-time programme that can be completed alongside full-time employment
  • Successful completion of the programme can enhance career advancement within the workplace or lead to progression to Ph.D

Course overview

If you are a practicing Biomedical Scientist and looking for an MSc. that is accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science, this could be the course for you.  We also accept suitably qualified students who do not work in virology laboratories. To our knowledge, it is the only course of its kind to be offered as distance learning.

This programme was primarily designed to provide a distance learning opportunity for staff working in diagnostic virology laboratories, although many students who don’t fall into this category have also successfully completed the course.

Much of the learning material has been developed by practicing virologists working at the forefront of diagnostic virology in the UK, and because of the online format, the curriculum is regularly updated to reflect the dynamic nature of virology.

The first year of the programme includes introductory material that underpins the more specialist content of the modules taught in the second year. The third year is spent undertaking a Research Project in the workplace, and for those who do not have this opportunity, we offer an alternative equivalent Dissertation.


Principles of Virology
Understanding and Controlling Viruses
Viral Zoonoses
Viral Infections of the Respiratory and Alimentary Tracts
Blood-borne Viruses and Sexually Transmitted Infections
Viral Infections of Pregnancy and Childhood
Research Methods
Research Project or Dissertation

All learning materials are delivered by Blackboard, LJMU’s Virtual Learning Environment.  You will have access to an extensive database of e-journals and e-books to extend your reading, providing access for students all over the world. The programme emphasises on independent student learning and each module provides you with the opportunity to explore current literature and information.

How will I be assessed?

Most taught modules have a written exam, and two assignments, that are essays, critiques of scientific papers etc.  Two modules do not have an exam and are assessed by two assignments.   The research project and dissertation are examined by both a written report and an oral presentation.  Students can elect to come to Liverpool for the presentation, or deliver it via video link. UK students sit exams at designated venues, which may involve some travel, and individual arrangements are made for overseas students.  

What do past and present students say about the course?

"This course has provided me with a breadth and depth of knowledge of medical virology that has greatly helped me in my work as a virology biomedical scientist.  The design of the course is particularly suited to people in full-time employment who may otherwise not have the opportunity to study."

"Completing the MSc has given me the impetus to continue my scientific education, and having this extra qualification has helped me in my applications for a PhD in virology."

"The organisation of the course is ideal for the distance learning format, with the ability to structure the study around your existing work being invaluable. Coupled with the support provided by your tutor and the University, the structure allows you to progress steadily."

Introduction to the School

The multidisciplinary School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences is one of the oldest providers of Pharmacy education in the world and has been delivering industry-relevant courses since 1849.

Whether you are studying for a taught postgraduate programme or embarking on a research degree (PhD or MPhil), we guarantee you a supportive, flexible academic environment, well-structured programmes and 24/7 access to extensive resources.

The School offers high quality undergraduate and postgraduate education and training in areas including Pharmacy, Applied Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Forensic Science and Biochemistry.

We also have an established reputation for supporting postgraduate students returning to education after a break and for delivering professionally-orientated courses that can be studied along full-time employment.

Internationally recognised expertise

Many of the staff based at the School are internationally recognised experts and leaders in various areas of research including. These include Professor Mark Cronin and Dr Judith Madden who specialise in the area of chemoinformatics (predictive toxicology), Professor Satya Sarker, an expert in natural products drug discovery and phytochemistry, Professor Khalid Rahman in nutraceuticals, Professor  Mark Wainwright in photochemistry, Dr Gillian Hutcheon in nanopharmaceutics,  Dr Glynn Hobbs in biomedical microbiology, and Dr Simon Brandt and Dr Phil Riby in analytical chemistry. 

Research excellence

The School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences carries out research in a number of areas, under the direction of internationally recognised researchers:

  • Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products Research focussing on prevention and cure of human diseases
  • Delivery and Formulation especially focussing on nanopharmaceutics
  • Biomedical Sciences focussing on oncology, toxicology, cell-signalling, immunity and infections
  • Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Forensic Analysis
  • Chemoinformatics focussing on prediction of toxicity, ADME properties and pharmacological activity
  • Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics  focussing on various aspects of clinical pharmacy.

We offer researchers access to both outstanding facilities and the exceptional expertise of our  research staff.

To find out more, read out brochure or go to:

Employment and careers

Many students are in full employment while they study for the MSc Virology, and successful completion has resulted in career advancement within their workplace.

As this programme is accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS), graduates are eligible for the title of Chartered Scientist and the designation CSci, if they meet other eligibility criteria of corporate membership and active engagement in CPD. More details can be found at the IBMS website (

Some students have gone on to enrol for a PhD, and one recent graduate was accepted onto an accelerated Medicine degree shortly after being awarded a Distinction.

As a postgraduate student you will be able to take full advantage of the extensive range of advice and guidance available in our World of Work Careers Centre, including our Ready for Work training courses, which cover everything from interview skills to preparing for assessment centre tests.

LJMU also has a dedicated Centre for Entrepreneurship, offering business advice and start-up funding, to students and graduates interested in setting up their own companies or working freelance.

Map of UK

International applicants are required to demonstrate equivalent qualifications to the standard requirements for entry when applying for courses at LJMU.

Students must also demonstrate a proficiency in communicating through English, for example via an IELTS tests or equivalent.

Please note: UK visa restrictions mean that international students are only permitted to study on a full-time basis.

Please contact LJMU’s International Team by visiting for more information and advice.


LJMU has launched a range of generous international scholarships for students enrolling at the University from September 2014 onwards.

These prestigious scholarships take the form of tuition fee waivers and are available for outstanding international students applying for taught postgraduate programmes and research degrees.

You will need to complete an additional application form in order to be considered for these scholarships. Full eligibility criteria and the online application form are available here:

Applications for these scholarships are welcomed from:

  • new international applicants
  • current LJMU international students hoping to progress onto postgraduate study at the University
  • LJMU international alumni
Name of scholarship Level of study Value of scholarship Number available Additional eligibility criteria
John Moores International Undergraduate Scholarship Postgraduate taught and research degrees (MSc, MA, MRes, MPhil / PhD) A full tuition fee waiver worth up to £12,000 8 You must:
  • have an English IELTS score of 7.0 (with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component) or recognised equivalent
  • be a self-funded student
  • have a valid offer to study a masters programme at LJMU in September 2014
  • submit a completed scholarship application form
Developing Global Citizens Postgraduate Scholarship Postgraduate taught degrees (MSc, MA, MRes) A one-off £4,000 fee waiver 20 You must
  • be a self-funded student from Africa, the ASEAN countries, the People’s Republic of China or Commonwealth country
  • have a valid offer to study a masters degree or research programme at LJMU in September 2014
  • submit a completed scholarship application form

English for Postgraduate courses bursary

A bursary will be available for students who must complete the six week English for Postgraduate Studies course to improve their IELTS score by 0.5 prior to enrolling on their postgraduate taught or research degree at LJMU.

This bursary is worth £700 and takes the form of a tuition fee waiver, which will be deducted from your tuition fee when you enrol on your degree programme. You do not need to complete the online scholarship form in order to receive this bursary. Please note: If you are awarded this bursary you are not eligible to apply for an international scholarship.

English language requirements

Entry requirements

Entrants should hold a relevant Biosciences degree (e.g. Microbiology, Biomedical Sciences etc.) of classification 2:2 or higher.

Professional experience, publications, CPD activities and other suitable evidence of accomplishment will be taken into account, and the candidate may be interviewed by the Programme Leader.

Industry experience: Please refer to Admissions Hub

In addition, international students should hold IELTS English language at a minimum of 6.5 or equivalent

Minimum TOEFL requirements:
Listening - 17
Reading - 18
Speaking - 20
Writing - 17

Applicants who do not hold an Honours degree in a relevant biological science will be considered on their individual merits in relation to the programme.

All applicants must provide a satisfactory reference from a suitable person such as their employer or line manager.

An intake of students is recruited in August every year.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: Please note that as this is a Distance Learning programme that the usual rules in terms of UK Visas and restriction to full-time study do not apply to MSc Virology.

Application and Selection

To discuss the programme please contact Dr Anne Humphreys at or call 0151 231 2205

Will I be interviewed?

No, an interview is not required.

Fees information

Please contact the admissions team for details

Financial support

How to apply

Further information

Please contact the Faculty of Science on:
0151 231 2888
fax: 0151 207 3224
web: Faculty web site

If you have any queries relating to LJMU or university life in general please contact:

Course Enquiries
tel: +44(0)151 231 5090

Please contact the programme leader

LJMU's Admissions policy is in line with the University's Equal Opportunities Policy and applications are welcome from all candidates who fulfil the entry criteria. The university has a commitment to equality of opportunity and welcomes application from everyone regardless of age, disability, race or sex. The University is committed to widening participation and therefore will actively consider applicants who do not have a relevant degree but who are able to provide satisfactory evidence of their knowledge in the area. All applicants will be considered by the Recruitment and Selection Panel, if shortlisted applicants will be asked to attend for an interview.

International students

LJMU offers an extensive support system through its international office and study centre. An equivalence to the normal entry requirements is needed for entry. Students must also demonstrate a proficiency in communicating through English, for example with an IELTS tests or equivalent. Please note that because of UK visa restrictions, International students are only permitted to study on a full-time basis. Please contact LJMU’s International Team by visiting for more information and advice.

Please Note: The University reserves the right to cancel, suspend or modify in any way the information contained in this leaflet.

Page last modified by Marketing and Corporate Communications on 23 July 2014.
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