Infectious Diseases

Study in Infectious Diseases is offered in partnership between the Discipline of Infectious Diseases and Immunology in the School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health, and the Discipline of Microbiology in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences in the Faculty of Science.

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 emphasises 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 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) 6 credit points of 3000-level core units
(vi) 12 credit points of 3000-level selective units
(vii) 6 credit points of 3000-level interdisciplinary project units

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

First year

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

The major in Infectious Diseases 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 infectious diseases.

Second year

MIMI2X02 Microbes, Infection and Immunity (MEDS2004 for students enrolled in the Medical Science stream) and a selection from IMMU2X11 Immunobiology, MICR2X22 Microbes in Society or BCMB2X01 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (MEDS2003 for students enrolled in the Medical Science stream).

In the second year of the Infectious Diseases Major 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. Students enrolled in the Medical Science stream will have the opportunity to further their understanding of how cells work at the molecular level, with an emphasis on human biochemistry and molecular biology.

Third year

Core to major: INFD3012 Infectious Diseases.
Selectives: 12 credit points from MICR3X11 Microbes in Infection, VIRO3X01 Virology, VIRO3X02 Medical and Applied Virology.
Interdisciplinary project units for Major: INFD3888 Infectious Diseases Interdisciplinary Project or SCPU3001 Science Interdisciplinary Project.
For the Infectious Diseases Minor you will undertake INFD3012 Infectious Diseases and MICR3X11 Microbes in Infection.

The final year of the Infectious Diseases Major culminates with a focus on the interdisciplinary nature of the Infectious Diseases major by embracing study of microbial causative agents, outbreak epidemiology and host response. Central to this lies the impacts and outcomes of infection with microbial pathogens for humans and other hosts.

In your third year you must take at least one designated project unit. Students can select between the interdisciplinary project INFD3888 or an industry and community project (SCPU3001).

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.

Honours
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 Infectious Diseases: completion of 36 credit points of project work and 12 credit points of coursework.

Contact and further information

W sydney.edu.au/medicine/infectious-diseases-immunology/contact/index.php

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

Associate Professor Helen Agus
E
T +61 2 9351 6043

Professor Jamie Triccas
E
T +61 2 9036 6582

Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from Infectious Diseases will be able to:

  1. Exhibit a broad and coherent body of knowledge of the role of microbes as agents of disease, their virulence mechanisms, functions in the ecosphere, abundance and diversity.
  2. Exhibit an integrated knowledge of the key characteristics of the classes of microbes that distinguish them from each other.
  3. Critically evaluate culture, microscopy, diagnostic and molecular techniques used in the modern diagnostic microbiology and infectious diseases laboratory.
  4. Explain and critically evaluate the scientific principles behind important infectious diseases techniques.
  5. Communicate concepts and findings in infectious diseases through a range of modes for a variety of purposes and audiences, using evidence-based arguments that are robust to critique.
  6. Assess the design and efficacy of measures to prevent and control infectious disease agents.
  7. Critically evaluate the research literature in pathogenic processes of infectious organisms and epidemiology and apply this knowledge to address questions in infectious disease research.
  8. Address authentic problems in infectious disease research, working professionally and ethically within collaborative, interdisciplinary teams.
  9. Develop creative and innovative approaches to problem solving in the field of infectious diseases research and work effectively, responsibly and safely in individual and collaborative contexts.
  10. Examine the reasons why infectious diseases emerge and re-emerge, across the general community and within hospital environments, and with consideration of social and cultural aspects.
  11. Evaluate the impact of major infectious diseases on human and global health from a range of ethical, social and cross-cultural perspectives.