Infection Biology in a Global Perspective

15 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 3MK014

Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Infection Biology A1F, Medical Science A1F
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
Finalised by
The Master Programmes Board of the Faculty of Medicine, 16 September 2019
Responsible department
Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology

General provisions

The course is part of the third semester of the Master's Programme in Infection Biology.

Entry requirements

Prerequisites equivalent to 40 credits of the courses included in year one of the Master's programme in infection biology or equivalent. This corresponds to in-depth knowledge of the biological mechanisms regulating infectious processes, how infections are diagnosed and treated and knowledge of microbial epidemiology and evolution. Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

Learning outcomes

After completion of the course the student should be able to

  • Explain the basic principles of so-called emerging diseases and zoonotic infections and elaborate on the concepts of hosts and vectors, and have knowledge of important zoonotic infectious agents.
  • Describe the biology of vectors and host animals, as well as elaborate on the pathogens they spread, factors that affect pathogen transmission cycles in nature, and general principles to prevent transmission.
  • Describe the biology of the pathogens that cause infectious diseases of major veterinary medical importance, and analyse and evaluate societal consequences of major outbreaks in e.g. livestock.
  • Identify the most common food- and water-borne pathogens, including their occurrence, reservoirs and ways of transmission, and explain how the risks of a food- or water-borne outbreak relate to handling, behavior and regulations.
  • Describe and assess the methods of surveillance and control of pathogenic microbes, and discuss epidemiological aspects of methods to prevent disease outbreaks.
  • In a global perspective, identify and analyse the most important infectious diseases, including problems relating to poverty, malnutrition and inadequate sanitary circumstances, as well as ethical considerations in developing countries.
  • Interpret, critically assess, extract and communicate scientific reports and other relevant information within the subjects of the course


The course is based on a comprehensive ”One Health” perspective and provides an understanding of how new pathogens may arise and spread between animals and humans, and how the health of humans, animals and ecosystems are interlinked.

The course consists of three modules: Infections in animals and humans (IAH, 5 credits), Food safety (FS, 5 credits) and Global health (GH, 5 credits). Together, the three modules will provide a deeper knowledge of global challenges in infection biology, and provide a comprehensive understanding of infectious disease emergence and spread.

In the IAH module, the interplay between animals and humans will be discussed in detailed, and provide knowledge of how the biology of vectors and hosts affect the transmission of pathogens to humans and domestic animals. This will include the understanding of different aspects of animal husbandry, and how this is related to human health.

In FS, we will discuss food safety and how food hygiene is important for human health. This module will provide knowledge on risks and challenges in the food industry, and how to achieve a safe food production, as well as an understanding of risk assessments and how authorities and industry works to ensure safe food.

In the last module, GH, the burden and impact of infectious diseases will be discussed in a global perspective. Part of this module consists of an optional field trip to a developing country where students will get a deeper understanding for the global challenges in infection biology.

Further, tools for surveillance, control and prevention of disease outbreaks will be discussed in all three modules.


Instruction is provided in English and consists of lectures, seminars as well as practical and theoretical assignments. Seminars and assignments are mandatory.

If resources are available, the course is concluded with a field trip.


Written tests with the grade Fail, Pass or Pass with distinction ends the respective module. The mandatory parts are examined at seminars, oral presentations/reports and through written reports and are graded as fail or pass.

To pass the course all written exams and mandatory parts must be approved. The final grade of the course is based on a weighted rating of all course sections. Possibility to complete non-approved mandatory assignments may be given at the next course opportunity, at the earliest, and only in case of vacancy.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the University's disability coordinator.