University of Sydney Handbooks - 2019 Archive

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

About the minor

A minor in Virology will equip you with knowledge and skills relating to the role of viruses in human, animal and plant hosts.

Requirements for completion

A minor in Virology requires 36 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
(iv) 12 credit points of 3000-level minor core units

First year

BIOL1XX7 From Molecules to Ecosystems and 6 credit points from a selection of: CHEM1XX1 Chemistry or Human Biology BIOL1XX8 or MEDS1X01 (MEDS1X01 is only available to students enrolled in the Medical Science stream, students outside the Medical Science stream take BIOL1XX8).

The minor in Virology begins in first year with an introduction to biology that takes you from molecules to ecosystems and positions human health and disease in this context, together with a choice of chemistry relevant to the life sciences or human biology. These subjects are foundational knowledge in Virology.

Second year

MIMI2X02 Microbes, Infection and Immunity (MEDS2004 for students enrolled in the Medical Science stream) and a selection from IMMU2X11, MICR2X31 or BCMB2X01 (MEDS2003 for students enrolled in the Medical Science stream).

In the second year of the Virology Minor you will study microbes, infection and immunity and develop key knowledge and skills in pathology, infectious diseases, immunology and microbiology. Alongside this essential learning you have the opportunity to develop your understanding further in immunobiology, microbiology or biochemistry. From this selection you may study of defence mechanisms that protect living organisms against life-threatening infections, explore the impacts and applications of microbes in human society and in the environment at large, or further your understanding of how cells work at the molecular level, with an emphasis on human biochemistry and molecular biology.

Third year

Core: VIRO3X01 Virology and VIRO3X02 Medical and Applied Virology.

The final year embraces the study of viral causative agents, outbreak epidemiology and host response. Central to this lies the impacts and outcomes of infection with viral pathogens for humans and other hosts: animals and plants. Even with development of improved treatment and control processes for infectious diseases, viruses remain important pathogens today. Two 3000-level units cover in-depth study of viruses: what they are, their classification, how they replicate, how they infect and damage cells, how hosts respond to viral infection, diagnostic processes and vaccination strategies.

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

Professor Jamie Triccas
T +61 2 9036 6582

Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from Virology will be able to:

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