Typical Course Length
This 1 year course leads to an internationally recognised MRes qualification that will provide training in transferable skills essential for those wishing to pursue post-graduate PhD, commercial or industrial research opportunities. Specifically focusing on parasites and the diseases that they cause, you will gain expert knowledge in the detection, prevention and control of protozoan as well as metazoan animal and human pathogens. You will be trained in specialisms including biochemistry, molecular biology, whole organism/cell culture and manipulation, bioinformatics, proteomics, transcriptomics, genomics, functional genomics, drug discovery, vaccinology, biomarker discovery, genetics/epigenetics, epidemiology, vector/intermediate host biology and ecology.
At the end of the course you will understand how interdisciplinary methods can be brought to bear on controlling some of the deadliest infectious organisms on the planet and be ready to pursue your career in parasitology.
Duration: 12 months full time. The academic year (September to September) is divided into three semesters: September to January; January to June; June to September.
Qualification: MRes Parasite Control
Structure: The MRes Parasite Control has a substantial component of independent (though supervised) research project (120 of 180 credits) and structured learning opportunities via the other 60 credits of modules. In-depth knowledge and an understanding of current issues of parasite control will be delivered via the 120 credit dissertation and 40 credits of taught modules. The further development of generic attributes of decision-making, independent learning and communicating effectively to a range of audiences and in a variety of media will be developed in all modules.
Entry Requirements: BSc honours degree (2:1) in a related subject at undergraduate level and accompanying references. We will consider applicants with other experience which gives an equivalent basis for entry. You application will be assessed by the Scheme coordinator and the proposed supervisor as to the quality of the proposed project and suitability of student to the project.
English Language Requirements: If you have a Bachelor’s degree from a UK University, you do not need to take an English proficiency test. Non-native English speakers who do not meet this requirement must take a University-recognised test of academic English language proficiency. For further information please see our English Language requirements page.
Course Fees: Please see the tuition fee pages for current tuition fees. Please note that all fees are subject to an annual increase.
Funding: Funding opportunities may be available, please check the funding calculator for details.
Why study Parasite Control at Aberystwyth?
Parasitism is the most successful lifestyle on the planet and leads to diverse and highly-damaging infectious diseases of agricultural, veterinary and biomedical significance. Therefore, a greater understanding of the parasite species responsible for these conditions and the means by which they are controlled remain a priority for scientists, health care professionals and farmers in this 21st Century. For example, it is recognised that parasitic worms infect greater than 1 billion people worldwide with some species causing between $700 million-$1 billion USDs in economic losses per annum. The development of novel, creative and integrated control strategies are urgently needed to combat the growing threat of changing parasite distributions due to climate change, human migration, animal transportation and farming practices. This MRes course will provide you with a range of vocational skills and prepare you for professional employment or further post-graduate PhD studies in Parasitology or related disciplines (i.e. infectious diseases, public health, epidemiology, etc.).
IBERS continuously maintained an excellent internationally-recognised reputation in parasitological research since the 1930s. One of the British Society of Parasitology’s founding members and two of its past presidents were IBERS Parasitologists. More recently, IBERS appointments and University investments have increased critical mass in Parasitology leading to the formation of the Parasitology and Epidemiology Research Group (in 2007) as well as the Barrett Centre for Helminth Control (in 2016). The creation of both research groupings has facilitated greater interactions with animal health and pharmaceutical/biotech companies as well as increased research grant capture derived from government, research council and charitable funding bodies.
Why study at Aberystwyth?
With 360 members of staff (principle investigators, technicians and post-doctoral fellows), 1350 undergraduate students and more than 150 postgraduate students, IBERS is the largest research and teaching institute within Aberystwyth University. Excellence in teaching was recognised by outstanding scores in the National Student Satisfaction Survey (NSS 2017) and being awarded University of the Year for Teaching Quality by the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018. Employability data from the Recent Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE, 2017) shows that 97% of IBERS graduates were in work or further study six months after leaving Aberystwyth University. The economic and social impact of IBERS research was recognised in 2011 when IBERS won the national BBSRC Excellence with Impact Award.
The majority of teaching staff at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences are qualified to PhD level and are research active. Vocational courses also have staff whose background lies within industry. The Institute has a large number of research only staff with whom students may have contact.
An aspect of this course that uniquely positions itself from other Masters level Parasitology courses in the UK is the 12-month dissertation project (Semesters 1-3). Working under the supervision of active researchers in the field, you will collaboratively develop a research project on diverse topics such as (but not inclusive) intermediate host and vector control, anthelmintic drug and target discovery, biomarker identification, visual cue selection for arthropod vectors, mathematical modelling of disease transmission, host responses to parasite biomolecules, parasite and host population studies and functional genomics manipulation of parasites. A list of available projects and supervisors will be advertised closer to the start of each academic year. Your supervisor/supervisory team will mentor you in hypothesis and discovery driven experimental design, provide training in lab-based and computer-assisted methodologies, arrange instruction in analytical techniques, aid in the trouble-shooting of experimental challenges, assist you in the interpretation of results and prepare you for successful oral presentations. You will also be guided in how to most efficiently communicate your results during the dissertation write-up. It is expected that during this year long research project you will become an expert in your topic.
Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.
This course is an ideal training programme for those wishing to:
- Pursue PhD studies
- Work in industry, charities or funding bodies
- Improve animal and human health
- Influence governmental policies
Throughout this course you will:
- Develop strong data collection/analysis, fieldwork and laboratory skills
- Enhance your scientific communication and team work skills
- Write for a range of audiences including academics and the wider public
- Enhance your analytical abilities, critical thinking and problem solving skills
- Develop study and research skills
- Direct and sustain a self-initiated programme of study underpinned by good time management skills
- Work effectively and independently
- Hone your project management skills to deliver a demanding combination of research, analysis, communication and presentation
Teaching & Learning
How will I learn?
This course takes one year of full-time. Students on this course complete 60 credits of core modules centred on parasitology, parasite control and research methodologies. However, the core element of this course is the 120 credit MRes Dissertation. Here, students will have supervision meetings to give them guidance before undertaking a prolonged period of experimental work/data gathering, research and writing up of the dissertation under the supervision of their dissertation supervisor. All postgraduate students in IBERS also have a named personal tutor, with whom they can discuss personal or domestic concerns that impact on their studies.
What will I learn?
The modules included in this programme are designed to provide a fundamental basis for understanding and contributing meaningfully to parasite control strategies. This qualification combines taught elements that focus primarily on how to undertake excellent research and how research can address grand challenges in parasitology that we face as a society.
This interdisciplinary research training provides you with the skills needed to complete your individual Research Dissertation. The key feature here is that you are able to explore an area of parasitology that fascinates you and undertake higher level research with the personalised support of a supervisor.
How will I be assessed?
The taught modules are assessed by scientific writing assignments (such as reports, critical reviews, essays and journalistic articles), presentations, contribution to group discussions in seminars and online assignments.
Subsequent successful submission of your dissertation leads to the award of an MRes.