This degree will offer you the opportunity to explore how our body defends itself as well as the role the immune system plays in the debilitating autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, the growing incidence of asthma and allergy and the development of cancer. We look at how the immune system can be exploited for novel therapies including vaccines and how it is important in transplant survival and blood transfusion.
You will gain a broad, in depth, understanding of Immunology at the molecular, cellular and systems levels. Our research-led approach, which covers the latest advances in Immunology, provides you with the skills and knowledge for a wide range of careers in Immunology and more generally in medical science.
In your fourth year you will undertake a year's industrial placement and graduate after five years with an MSci (an undergraduate Masters degree) instead of a BSc. Placements vary considerably but in general terms, you will be placed in an industrial, commercial or research environment where you will obtain a breadth of practical experience to complement your degree programme and enhance your employability.
What You'll Study
A degree in Immunology is taught via a selection of compulsory and optional courses to enhance your learning and prepare you for a future career or further study. In each year you will take courses adding up to 120 credits. Depending on the number of compulsory and optional courses offered by your degree, you can also choose other eligible courses which fit your timetable
Year 1 courses include Medical Sciences and Chemistry for Life Sciences plus additional courses selected from science and other areas.
Introduction to Medical Sciences (SM1001)
Topics covered in this course span medical
science through the ages; from ancient civilizations to the modern day science
of genomics and synthetic biology.
Alongside lecture material, in depth practical
classes will cover biomedical measurement techniques, forensic science and a
research-based mini project.
Also included in the course is a trip to the
Institute of Medical Sciences where you will gain access to cutting-edge
laboratories and equipment.
Overall, this course is a journey through some
of the key milestones that underpin the discipline of medical science we see
Chemistry for the Life Sciences 1 (CM1020)
This course covers the foundations of chemistry that
underpin the life sciences at a molecular level. The course aims to consolidate
a general background in chemistry by putting chemical concepts into a life sciences
context. The basic concepts of chemistry
will be covered, along with organic molecules, acids and bases, and the basic
principles behind the driving forces of reactions.
Laboratory classes introduce important practical techniques,
with experiments that reinforce and complement the taught material.
course will allow students to continue with other chemistry courses as part of
their enhanced study by providing discipline breadth.
The Cell (SM1501)
cells are the fundamental unit of life – without
them life could not exist, and as such understanding how they function is
crucial to our understanding of biology and medical science;
this course provides theoretical knowledge in a diverse
range of topics covering the fascinating world of cells, from molecules like
DNA, to how different cell types function within our bodies;
all practical classes are research based and
will provide theoretical knowledge and skills training in many areas of
molecular and cell biology;
employability skills will also be explored
through a highly interactive session run by the Scottish Institute for
Chemistry for the Life Sciences 2 (CM1512)
Chemistry plays an important role in the life sciences,
explaining the shapes and properties of biomolecules, and helping to provide an
understanding of how biological processes work at a molecular level.
The shapes and function of important biomolecules will be
covered. Organic molecule reaction mechanisms will give insight into how different
types of molecules can be synthesised. The energetics and importance of
equilibrium in driving reactions will be covered.
Methods of chemical analysis and measurement introduce other
important topics linking the chemical and life sciences.
and labs complement lectures by consolidating learning and developing
problem-solving and hands-on practical skills.
Professional Skills Part 1 (PD1001)
This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.
Select a further 60 credit points from courses of choice
Note that you are required to choose 60 credits from Sustained Study, Discipline Breadth or Sixth Century courses across levels 1 and 2.
Year 2 courses introduce Immunity, Infectious Diseases, Bacteria and Parasites and Cell Biology. The year 2 curriculum includes two courses devoted to development of Foundation and Research Skills in the Life Sciences.
Genes and Evolution (BI2017)
look at how instructions in genes are transformed
by natural selection to produce the diversity of life on Earth;
learn how species evolve, how we determine
why populations change, understand why
humans (and other organisms) must carry genetic diseases;
meet enthusiastic staff; each teach about
areas we are expert on;
take 3 Genes & Evolution Practicals to
gain hands on experience of approaches used by researchers to map genes,
estimate rates of evolution, and determine evolutionary relationships;
keep up to speed with in-course tests, understand
basic statistics, see why mutations are not the only evolutionary currency
Molecular Biology of the Gene (BI20M3)
this course will provide a comprehensive
understanding of how genetic information is stored, how it is accessed by the
cell to form functional proteins and how the release of this information is
controlled to produce a healthy human child;
understanding this process is essential to
understanding the basis of human disease and the course will examine how
genetic differences affect disease susceptibility;
this popular, comprehensive and cutting edge course
will equip students with the essential knowledge, skills and confidence in
molecular biology required to progress on all courses undertaken in the School
of Medical Sciences
Foundation Skills for Medical Sciences (SM2001)
this course is the cornerstone to all the
advanced science courses in later years and provides you with key skills for
success in science;
feedback from employers drove the course design
to give specific and focused science skills to enhance your employability;
analytical, professional, data interpretation,
experimental design and problem solving skills are core elements that are
essential for any graduate career portfolio;
this course and the additional specifically
developed online resources have been commended by employers and students alike.
Microbes, Infection and Immunity (BI25M5)
if you were to count the
number of bacteria in your gut, you might be surprised to find that you have 10
times more of them than you have cells in your body;
from the moment we are
born, we become infested with microbial life that has an enormous impact on our
in this course we explore the positive and negative aspects of our
relationship with microbes, and how our immune system helps to maintain a
fragile peace with our closest neighbours
Research Skills for Medical Sciences (SM2501)
course cultivates literature research skills, building confidence in
team-working and communication through scientific writing and seminar
encourages student-led learning and organisation in researching a topic on
human health or disease of your own choice, with tutors providing guidance;
will learn to use online and library resources to search for information
from primary research articles and relay that information in the form of a
written report and a Powerpoint presentation to peers and academic tutors;
are all fundamental skills for scientific researchers, but are also
transferrable talents for many other career pathways
Select a further 45 credit points from courses of choice.
Note that you are required to choose 60 credits from Sustained Study, Discipline Breadth or Sixth Century courses across levels 1 and 2.
Year 3 covers the fundamentals of Immunology, including Immune Regulation, Tolerance and an introduction to new ideas and advances in our understanding of the immune system. The latest technologies available for immunological analysis both in clinical and research settings will also be covered
Molecular Biology of the Cell (MB3006)
a course detailing
for the first time how a cell really works; we reveal and explain how cell
biology is governed by a cell's molecular biology and biochemistry;
a course placing a high value on its teaching and
learning; all lecture material supported by non-assessed workshops – your
chance to team-work, ask questions and enjoy the science;
contains an extended research practical; you carry out
lab research to understand how cells responds to starvation stress, and write
up in research paper format;
we teach how to access the scientific literature and
write successful essays, preparing you for Honours year
Working Out: Placement & Career Skills (BT3006)
a pre-requisite for all students intending to apply for a year’s industrial
this course covers the skills necessary to complete placement
applications by exploring CV preparation;
writing covering letters, completing application
forms, identification of your skill sets and good interview technique;
course will prepare you for the workplace by making you aware of general
employment skills and by helping you identify your own transferable skills;
the pre-placement workshops delivered as part of this course will also
provide an excellent introduction to completing graduate job applications
Fundamentals of Immunology (IM3501)
this course will give you a broad understanding
of the immune system, the way it works and its role in health and disease;
you will cover the core concepts which are
essential for advanced study in Immunology;
practical classes will extend your knowledge and
abilities in both generic laboratory techniques and those more specifically
related to Immunology;
you will gain wider transferrable skills
including team-working, improved ability to present and interpret data and write
reports, and improved numerical skills all of which are key requirements for
Applied Immunology: Human Health (IM3502)
Immunology in the context of human disease, discussing the mechanisms the human
immune system uses to protect against pathogens and also how its dysfunction
may lead to problems such as autoimmune disease, allergy and cancer. Therapeutic
approaches are considered;
you for further study in Immunology and other aspects of medical science;
classes will give you the opportunity to consider the use of immunology in
terms of diagnosis and typing as well as reinforcing general laboratory skills;
will gain wider transferrable skills of value to employers including
report writing, presentation of a topic and team working
Biology and Control of Infectious Diseases (ZO3808) or Mechanisms of Disease and Principles of Chemotherapy (PA3802)
Select a further 30 credit points from Discipline Breadth or Sixth Century courses.
Biology and Control of Infectious Diseases (ZO3808)
This course will provide you with insights into
key infectious diseases of humans and domestic animals of major importance
around the world and approaches to control these diseases
Weekly practicals include hands-on modern
molecular diagnostic techniques for disease detection and surveillance
In course assessments include group-work
posters, talks and the production of public health information pamphlets
The mixture of a theoretical background, hands-on
modern practical techniques and communication skills via different media gives
a base from which to develop careers in the extensive field of infectious
Mechanisms of Disease and Principles of Chemotherapy (PA3802)
by understanding the process of a disease we can find ways
of both treating it and/or preventing it;
this course uses the examples of
cancer, infectious disease and inflammatory disease to illustrate this;
the factors leading to or causing the disease
will be described;
using this knowledge
the way in which the drugs used to treat the disease work will be
problems that arise from drug
treatment such as drug resistance will also be covered
You will spend year 4 on placement in an industrial, commercial or research environment.
Industrial Placement (BT5007)
placement allows students to experience workplace culture and makes them more
effective employees following graduation;
placements vary considerably but in
general terms, students are placed in an industrial, commercial or research
environment where they obtain a breadth of practical experience to complement
their degree programme;
employed by their host company and can expect to work a normal 40 hour week,
possibly on a number of projects, over a full calendar year;
assistance from a member of the University academic staff is available via
email and / or telephone throughout the year
The Honours year extends and explores molecular and cellular aspects of Immunology. An important feature is the ten-week research project, carried out in research laboratories at the University or in local research institutes.
Advanced Immunology (IM4005)
course will extend your broader knowledge of the immune system and how it
functions in health and disease giving you a sound basis for further work in
this field or related areas;
will introduce current topics at the leading edge of immunology research which
further our understanding of the immune system;
will extend your knowledge of gene
expression and protein structure which underpin immunology;
will develop your ability to read and critically assess current scientific
improve understanding of current research techniques applicable in Immunology
and other medical and basic sciences
Immunology Honours Research Project (IM4505)
This 10 week research project will give the student experience in advanced laboratory or literature research techniques.Wider
transferrable skills which will enhance employability are
the ability to design and plan
the ability to critically assess the work of others;
skills in data analysis and
the ability to maintain accurate,
detailed, up-to-date records of work;
the ability to write a clear
account of the aims of the work, what was achieved and its significance;
the ability to present the major
findings of the project orally to a general audience
Honours Immunology - Option 1 (IM4007)
students will extend from their "textbook"
knowledge in basic Immunology to frontline research into areas such as the
specific mechanisms that successfully eliminate different types of infectious
agent, and the cells and molecules that prevent autoimmune diseases;
students will understand how pathogens are able to
evade our immune system and the current strategies and challenges in
immunotherapeutic and vaccine development for these pathogens;
research tutorials help students to acquire further
knowledge in a specialist subject in Immunology and develop their reading,
writing, numeracy, communication and critical analysis skills that are
attractive to employers in academia and industry.
Honours Immunology - Option 2 (IM4307)
understanding the molecular mechanisms
involved in shaping our immunity will lead to vast treatment improvements for a
range of diseases, especially in the areas of autoimmunity, cancer,
transplantation and infection;
a deeper understanding of our immune system
has already been exploited in so many ways – as immunotherapies for the
treatment of cancer and autoimmune disease, in kits that aid early diagnosis of
disease, as prognostic markers of disease activity, and in the development
of novel vaccination strategies;
this course focuses on recent advances in
molecular Immunology will start you on the path to further, higher studies of
the immune system
Immunology Honours Exam Data Analysis (IM4901)
You will improve your ability to assess and critically
analyse and interpret research data and published research papers, an essential
skill for more advanced scientific work;
You will improve numerical skills needed for laboratory
work which are a key requirement for employers in this area
Molecular & Cell Biology Honours General Essay Exam (MB4902)
this is a non-credit bearing course code for the Honours General Essay Exam
We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.
How You'll Study
You will be taught using a variety of methods and styles and we continually seek to make the teaching engaging, exciting and responsive to the latest research in your subject area. The research we carry out in the School directly informs and guides our teaching, particularly in the final Honours year. Our commitment to teaching is recognised by the range of University of Aberdeen Student-led Teaching Awards given to staff from our School.
As a student, your learning is supported by MyAberdeen, our virtual learning environment from which you can access the lecture Powerpoint slides, online practice tests, links to related reading, and tutorial support material.
We make innovative use of 'educational voting' handsets in class, remote control 'clickers' that allow each and every student to electronically respond in class by anonymous vote to questions posed by the lecturer.
Your academic development is supported from year 1 through to year 5 by an assigned personal tutor, who acts as adviser and mentor throughout your University career.
Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:
coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course;
practical assessments of the skills and competencies learnt on the course; and
written examinations at the end of each course.
The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, year of study and individual courses.
Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.
Why Study this Degree?
You will spend the fourth year of your degree in paid employment and graduate after five years with an MSci (an undergraduate Masters degree) instead of a BSc.
Our teaching is underpinned by world leading research groups particularly in immunohaematology and the immunology of Fungal Infection.
This is a wide-ranging programme that includes training in both specialist and generic employment-related skills
Excellent staff, passionate about high quality teaching (91% of our students were satisfied they received strong academic support), using modern, up-to-date teaching facilities.
Modern teaching facilities and labs which will enhance your learning and provide you with an opportunity to experience working in a research focussed laboratory environment.
The University is ranked 9th in the World and 5th in Europe for its international research collaboration in Biomedical and Health Sciences (Leiden Ranking 2015).
Immunology research here has led to major improvements in treatment for the debilitating autoimmune eye disease uveitis.
The Wellcome Trust medical research foundation has funded a £5.1 million Strategic award in Medical Mycology and Fungal Immunology to members of the University’s Aberdeen Fungal Group. It represents the single largest award in the mycology-immunology field.
Fees and Funding
You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.
For international students (all non-EU students) entering in 2017/18, the 2017/18 tuition fee rate will apply to all years of study; however, most international students will be eligible for a fee waiver in their final year via the International Undergraduate Scholarship.
You will find all the information you require about entry requirements on our dedicated 'Entry Requirements' page. You can also find out about the different types of degrees, offers, advanced entry, and changing your subject.
SQA Highers - AABB* A Levels - BBB* IB - 32 points, 5 at HL* ILC - AAABB (B1 or B2 required)*
*Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/Science subjects.
Advanced Entry - Advanced Highers ABB or A Levels ABB, or IB 34 points (6 at HL) including Biology and Chemistry, one of which must be at A-grade.
Our commitment to teaching is underscored by our recent rebuild and modernisation of the teaching lab space dedicated to practical teaching at years 1, 2 and 3.
The Institute of Medical Sciences
Focused on developing future effective therapies, the Institute of Medical Sciences houses nearly 400 researchers and support staff working on cutting-edge biomedical subjects aimed at understanding the human body's response to infection and disease.
A dedicated Medical Library on the Foresterhill Health Campus and the fantastic facilities in the Sir Duncan Rice Library at King’s College, are complemented by online access to the key medical and health sciences journals and textbooks.
Many of our graduates follow their undergraduate degree with a postgraduate programme or with PhD research in a wide range of research laboratories. Others move directly into positions in hospital research, diagnostic laboratories and research institutes. Other major employers of Immunology graduates include the scientific civil service, pharmaceutical, food, fermentation and biotechnology industries.
An Immunology degree is also a starting point for a career outside science in management, intellectual property, publishing, teaching or a wide range of other professions.
Our degree programmes are built to enhance your employability and three flagship options give our degrees a distinctively different flavour from many others. All our degrees offer:
A 10-week full time research project in the final year which will provide you with valuable experience of working in a medical science research environment
Highly relevant and sought after experience in bio-business aimed at giving you an understanding of the commercialisation of scientific ideas and an opportunity to learn about the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries
We have close links with the British Society of Immunology who provide funding for the Aberdeen Immunology Group enabling bi-weekly talks in term time from Immunologists across the UK and further afield as well as an annual symposium.
We have close teaching and research ties with the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service.
The Immunology-associated companies that have been spun-off from the University provide links that are valuable both for teaching and student research projects.
You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.
Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Key Information Set.
You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.
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