University of Sydney Handbooks - 2018 Archive

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Infectious Diseases

Study in Infectious Diseases is offered in partnership between the Discipline of Infectious Diseases and Immunology in the Sydney Medical School and the Discipline of Microbiology in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences in the Faculty of Science. Units of study in this major are available at standard and advanced level.

About the major

Infectious diseases occur as a result of interactions between microbial pathogens and their hosts. The Infectious Diseases major is a multidisciplinary pathway of study that emphasizes how infectious agents interact with human hosts at the molecular, cellular, individual patient and community levels to cause disease.

This major begins with developing an understanding of the relevance of infectious diseases within the concept of ‘One Health’ in which the multifactorial interrelationships between human, animal and environmental health are critical. Central is the context of microbes: bacteria, viruses, fungi and protists being beneficial for good health as well as effective causative agents of disease. The structural and functional cellular and molecular mechanisms that enable establishment and progression of infectious diseases are covered with a particular focus on pathogens: microbial virulence mechanisms; their capacity to evade the human response to injury and infection; their ability to cause tissue damage; their resistance to antimicrobial therapy and the development of new tools to control infectious agents. This progresses to explore patterns of incidence and the epidemiology of outbreaks of infectious diseases within communities.

Requirements for completion

A major in Infectious Diseases requires 48 credit points, consisting of:

(i) 6 credit points of 1000-level core units
(ii) 6 credit points of 1000-level selective units
(iii) 12 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iv) 24 credit points of 3000-level core units

A minor in Infectious Diseases is available and articulates to this major.

Pathway through the major

The requirements for a major in Infectious Diseases are spread out over three years of the degree (possibly four years if students are completing a combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies degree).

A sample pathway for the Infectious Diseases major (over three years of a degree) is listed below.

Sample pathway: Infectious Diseases major (48 credit points)



Units of study


Semester 2

Core: BIOL1XX7 From Molecules to Ecosystems

Semester 1 or 2

Selective: CHEM1XX1 Chemistry 1A or BIOL1XX8 Human Biology

(MEDS1X01 only available to students enrolled in the medical science stream.)


Semester 1

Core: IMMU2101 Introductory Immunology

(BMED2404 and MEDS2004 only available to students in the medical science stream)

Semester 2

Core: MICR2X22 Microbes in Society

(BMED2405 and MEDS2003 only available to students in the medical science stream)


Semester 1

 Core: MICR3X11 Microbes in Infection

Core: VIRO3X01 Virology

Semester 2

Core: INFD3012 Infectious Diseases

Core: VIRO3X02 Medical and Applied Virology


Please Note. This sample progression is meant as an example only. Depending on unit prerequisites, students may be able to complete these units in a different sequence from that displayed in the table above.

For details of the core and selective units of study required for the major or minor please refer to the Infectious Diseases section of the unit of study table, Table S, in this handbook.

Fourth year

The fourth year is only offered within the combined Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Advanced Studies course.

Advanced coursework
The Bachelor of Advanced Studies advanced coursework option consists of 48 credit points, which must include a minimum of 24 credit points in a single subject area at 4000-level, including a project unit of study worth at least 12 credit points. Space is provided for 12 credit points towards the second major (if not already completed). 24 credit points of advanced study will be included in the table for 2020.

Requirements for Honours in the area of Infectious Diseases: completion of 36 credit points of project work and 12 credit points of coursework.

Honours units of study will be available in 2020.

Contact and further information


Infectious Diseases and Immunology
Level 5 (East), Charles Perkins Centre hub (D17)
University of Sydney NSW 2006

Ms Helen Agus

T +61 2 9351 6043

Dr Jamie Triccas
T +61 2 9036 6582
Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from Infectious Diseases will be able to:

  1. Describe the role of microbes as agents of disease, their function in the ecosphere, abundance and diversity
  2. Define the key characteristics of the classes of microbes that distinguish them from each other
  3. Perform culture, microscopy, diagnostic and molecular techniques used in the modern diagnostic microbiology and infectious diseases laboratory, and explain and critically evaluate the scientific principles behind these important infectious disease techniques
  4. Have a detailed knowledge of microbial virulence mechanisms and their role in invasion, establishment and progression of infection
  5. Know the major causes of important infectious diseases in the general community and hospital environments
  6. Explain how infectious diseases emerge or re-emerge to impact human and global health
  7. Explain the ways in which important microbial pathogens pose a challenge for public health
  8. Be familiar with the measures that have been developed to control infectious agents and the conceptual basis of the control strategies
  9. Critically evaluate the research literature dealing with pathogenic processes of infectious organisms and epidemiology and apply this knowledge to infectious disease research.