University of Sydney Handbooks - 2019 Archive

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Immunology and Pathology

Study in Immunology and Pathology is offered by the Discipline of Infectious Diseases and Immunology and the Discipline of Pathology in the Faculty of Medicine and Health. Units of study in this major are available at standard and advanced level.

About the major

The immune system is an integrated network of cells and specialised organs that can respond to external and internal threats. It can be mobilized to protect humans from infections and cancer while simultaneously being the underlying mechanism of major acute and chronic pathologies.

The Immunology and Pathology major examines how it is that our immune system can be both the cause and the cure of disease in humans and animals. This is important, as an understanding of immunological and pathological mechanisms allows us to think about how our immune system can be manipulated to prevent and treat disease. This major draws together studies in immunology, pathology, microbiology, biology, biochemistry, and physiology.

Studies in immunology and pathology are important because they are leading to advances in clinical medicine and clinical science, including helping develop new vaccines and immuno-therapies. In addition, immunological techniques are widely used in biology, endocrinology, microbiology, cell and molecular biology, neurobiology and genetics.

Requirements for completion

A major in Immunology and Pathology 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) 6 credit points of 2000-level core units according to the following:
(a) 6 credit points of 2000-level MIMI coded units or
(b) 6 credit points of 2000-level MEDS coded units for students in the Medical Science stream
(iv) 6 credit points of 2000-level selective units
(v) 12 credit points of 3000-level core units
(vi) 6 credit points of 3000-level selective units
(vii) 6 credit points of 3000-level interdisciplinary project units

A minor in Immunology and a minor in Pathology are available and articulate to this major.

First year

CHEM1XX1 Chemistry 1A and 6 credit points from a selection of BIOL1XX7 From Molecules to Ecosystems and BIOL1XX8 Human Biology (MEDS1X01 is only available to students enrolled in the medical science stream).

The major in Immunology and Pathology begins in first year with a study of chemistry relevant to the life sciences, and a choice of human biology or biology that takes you from molecules to ecosystems and positions human health and disease in this context. Chemistry and biology are foundational to the study of immunology and pathology.

Second year

MIMI2X02 Microbes, Infection and Immunity, and 6 credit points from a selection of BCMB2X01 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and IMMU2X11 Immunobiology.

For Medical Science stream students: MEDS2004 and 6 credit points from a selection of MEDS2003 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and IMMU2X11 Immunobiology.

In the second year of your Immunology and Pathology major you will study microbes, infection and immunity, which provides key knowledge and skills in pathology, infectious diseases, immunology and microbiology. Alongside this essential learning you have the opportunity to further develop your understanding in biochemistry and molecular biology or in immunobiology, depending on your preference.

Third year

Core: IMMU3102/3902 Molecular and Cellular Immunology and CPAT3X01Pathogenesis of Human Disease 1.
Selectives: IMMU3202/3903 Immunology in Human Disease and CPAT3X02 Pathogenesis of Human Disease 2.
Interdisciplinary project units for Major: IMPA3888 Immunopathology Interdisciplinary Project or SCPU3001 Science Interdisciplinary Project

In your third year of the major you will undertake units of study in immunology as well as pathology, with the opportunity to go into further depth in immunology or pathology with a second unit. Building on your second year studies in microbes, infection and immunity, you will investigate molecular and cellular aspects of the immune system in detail and immune responses in human health and disease, alongside the scientific bases of the pathogenesis of disease and evaluation of diseased tissue.

In your third year you must take at least one designated project unit. In Immunology and Pathology we offer IMPA3888 . Students may otherwise be interested in taking an industry and community project (SCPU3001) instead.

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, with a minimum of 24 credit points at 4000-level or above. Of these 24 credit points, you must complete a project unit of study worth at least 12 credit points. Advanced coursework will be included in the table for 2020.

Meritorious students in the Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Advanced Studies may apply for admission to Honours within a subject area of the Bachelor of Advanced Studies. Admission to Honours requires the prior completion of all requirements of the Bachelor of Science, including Open Learning Environment (OLE) units. If you are considering applying for admission to Honours, ensure your degree planning takes into account the completion of a second major and all OLE requirements prior to Honours commencement.

Unit of study requirements for Honours in the area of Immunology or Pathology: 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

Associate Professor Scott Byrne

T +61 2 9351 7308

Professor Nicholas King
T +61 2 9351 4553

Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from Immunology and Pathology will be able to:

  1. Exhibit a broad and coherent body of knowledge of how the cells and molecules of our immune system cooperate to maintain health.
  2. Exhibit an integrated knowledge of the role of the immune system in both the cause of pathology and the cure of disease.
  3. Exhibit a broad understanding of the cellular and molecular bases of pathogenesis of a diverse range of diseases and the pathophysiological responses to disease.
  4. Critically evaluate the application of a range of immunological and pathological techniques/skills.
  5. Observe and describe pathophysiological responses of relevant organs to disease and explain their effect on organ function.
  6. Communicate concepts and findings in immunology and pathology across a range of modes for a variety of purposes and audiences, using evidence-based arguments that are robust to critique.
  7. Apply immunological concepts and approaches to a diverse range of disease contexts and solve complex immunological and pathological problems.
  8. Design, evaluate and test diagnostic pathology assays using knowledge of immunology and of industry standards in assay development and regulation.
  9. Develop creative and innovative approaches to problem solving in the fields of immunology and pathology research and work effectively, responsibly and safely in individual and collaborative contexts.
  10. Evaluate how therapeutic approaches that target cells and molecules of our immune and other organ systems lead to breakthroughs in human disease detection, treatment and management, and examine how these are handled from different community and cultural perspectives.
  11. Work effectively with colleagues from different areas of specialisation to address interdisciplinary problems in immunology and pathology.