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, Online, Part Time (3 years)
Start date: September

  • Distance learning course accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science
  • Programme can be completed alongside full time employment
  • Benefit from a supportive Learning Environment and Personal Tutor System
  • Gain eligibility for Chartered Scientist (CSci) status (other criteria apply)
  • Enhance your career opportunities or progress to PhD study

Postgraduate open days

Our taught masters programmes and research degrees could transform your career prospects. Find out more at our forthcoming postgraduate recruitment events – click here for details

Course overview

The only distance learning course of its kind, the MSc in Virology is an ideal choice for practicing Biomedical Scientists looking for a Masters accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science. The programme is also open to suitably qualified students who do not work in virology laboratories.

Much of the programme's learning material has been developed by practicing virologists working at the forefront of UK diagnostic virology. The online curriculum is, therefore, regularly updated to reflect the dynamic nature of the subject.

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

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. The programme emphasises independent student learning and each module enables you to explore the latest literature and information.


Erasmus is a European Union-funded programme that could enable you to either study or work in Europe. If selected, you will receive a grant which can be used to meet some of the costs of funding your placement. To find out more about Erasmus, and explore the opportunities available within your Faculty/School, please visit

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. 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."

Why study this course at LJMU?

In the 2014 REF, some 68% of LJMU’s health-related research was considered world leading or internationally excellent. This research helps ensure our postgraduate courses are at the forefront of developments in the field and that you have an opportunity to study alongside leading experts.

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 our brochure or go to:

Employment and careers

Many students are already in employment during their MSc Virology studies, and successful completion of the programme often leads to career advancement.

As the 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. See for further details.

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

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.

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

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 take 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


6.5 (minimum of 5.5 in each component)


58-64 (Min. 51 in each component for UKVI Purposes)

Entry requirements

Entrants should have a minimum 2:2 degree in Biosciences e.g. Microbiology, Biomedical Sciences etc.

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

Industry experience: Please refer to the Admissions Hub.

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

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: as this is a distance learning programme, 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

Part time fees are charged by the number of credits you are registered for per annum, at a rate of:

  • £36.00 per credit for home and EU students
  • £61.00 per credit for international students

Financial support

Tuition fees

All full and part time students enrolled on postgraduate taught programmes at LJMU are liable to pay an annual tuition fee. You can opt to pay your tuition fees in full at the start of each academic year or pay by instalments. If you need advice about how you will pay your tuition fees, please talk to LJMU’s Student Funding Team as soon as possible:, 0151 0151 231 3153/3154.

Sources of funding

LJMU Alumni Award

Final year undergraduates and alumni of the University are eligible to apply for a 15% reduction in their postgraduate tuition fees if they choose to progress onto a higher degree programme at LJMU. Both home and international LJMU students and alumni can apply for this award (subject to eligibility criteria*).  Please go to for more details.

Postgraduate International Scholarships

LJMU offers scholarships for international applicants accepted onto taught masters programmes (excluding distance learning programmes) and research degrees. Current LJMU international students and alumni interested in pursuing postgraduate study and research at the University are eligible to apply for these scholarships along with new applicants. For further details, go to:

English for Postgraduate Studies Bursary

A Bursary is also available for international students who need to improve their IELTS score prior to enrolling on their postgraduate course or research programme at the University. This course is run by LJMU’s International Study Centre ( ). For further details, go to:    

Earn While You Learn

Working while you study means you may be able to pay for your course without taking out any further loans or at least reducing the amount you need to borrow. Working while you study also gives you the skills valued by employers, such as managing your workload and prioritising your time.

LJMU’s Vacancy website ( can help you find graduate vacancies, sandwich/industrial placements, internships/summer work, part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities and work based learning placements. Over 1,000 local and regional employers regularly list opportunities on the website.

Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDL)

Many students fund their postgraduate studies via Professional and Career Development Loans. This is a bank loan which you will have to pay back once you’ve completed the course. However, while you are studying any interest on the loan will be paid for you by the Skills Funding Agency. PCDLs worth between £300 and £10,000 are available for eligible postgraduates to fund up to two years of study (three if the course includes work experience). The loan is split into course fees and living costs. Go to for more details.

Employer sponsorship

Some organisations and companies fund the cost of postgraduate studies for their employees as they recognise the value of having well qualified staff. Check out our courses and see if there are any on offer that could enhance your current career. Remember, employer support doesn’t always have to be financial; it can take other forms too, such as flexible working arrangements, day release and time in lieu of study.

Support for disabled students

Disabled Students’ Allowances or DSAs are designed to help meet the extra course costs students can face as a direct result of a disability, on-going health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty. DSAs don’t have to be paid back and the type of support you receive will be determined by your specific needs not your household income. Please contact LJMU’s Disability team for further advice: 0151 231 3164/3165.

Council tax exemption

All full time postgraduate students studying courses lasting one year or more are eligible for a council tax exemption certificate.

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

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 20 February 2015.
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