Postgraduate Programme


Our Department participates in the training of under- and postgraduate medical students and postgraduate medical science students specializing in virology.

The Department currently offers the following postgraduate programs for training:​

  • BSc (Hons) Medical Virology
  • MSc Medical Virology
  • Ph.D. Medical Virology
  • M Med (Path) Medical Virology

Interested students are welcome to contact the academic personnel for more information about each programme or research projects in the department.

BSc (Hons) Medical Virology

Degree Code 10243132: Module GVR 700

Requirements for admission:

Applicants must have a three-year BSc degree in microbiology, genetics or biochemistry with a strong background in molecular biology. Subjects in Virology and Immunology will be advantages. An average of at least 60% in the applicable final year courses is required. Only a limited number of positions are available and candidates will be selected on their undergraduate achievement.

Composition of the Program:

Satisfactory Attendance:

Applied Research Methodology 800 (Module TNM 800) course (compulsory requirement) (1 Week course)

Examination courses:

  • Medical Biostatistics 800 (MBS 800)
  • Medical Microbiology (GMB 200) (BCur, B Phys, B Diet BSc: Modules GMB 252; GMB 253; GMB 254)
  • Lectures commence April: 2 lectures per week until November: Tuesday & Wednesday 10:00 - 10:50. Write all tests and examinations.
  • Pathological conditions MBChB and BChD (Block 4 : BOK 281): Immunology component of Part 1. Lectures commence July: 1 lecture daily ± 3 weeks. Write all tests.
  • Part 2: Principles of Infection Subject 3 (GNK 216) Infectious Diseases Subject 4 GNK 217. Lectures commence August: Full-time daily until ± end September. Write virology specific semester test and exam set by Department of Medical Virology.
  • Medical Virology (GVR 700) examination: November

Research project and Techniques course:

  • Techniques course: covering aspects of molecular virology techniques such as PCR, gene cloning, DNA sequencing, hydridization and basic bio-informatics, as well as cell culture and electron microscopy will be presented at the beginning of the year. The student will be assessed by means of a short report and oral exam.
  • Research Project: Practical research project with independent research report (sent out for external examination)

Journal Club:

Attend and present at weekly journal club meetings (Friday 11:30 - 12:30)

MMed (Path) Medical Virology Tutorials:

Attend weekly tutorials (Thursday 11:00 - 12:00)


  • The BSc (Hons) course is a full time programme that commences in January and concludes in December.
  • Students will be expected to be present in the department on a full time basis during the year and participate in all departmental activities.

MSc Medical Virology


Candidates with an excellent undergraduate record and a BSc (Hons) in Virology, Genetics or Microbiology or equivalent degree, with a sound molecular background, and an average mark of greater that 60% for the honours degree are invited to apply. Knowledge of Virology, molecular biology and immunology will be considered during the selection process. A BSc (Hons) (Medical Virology) is not a pre-requisite although it will be to the student's advantage.

Composition of the program:

  • Students will be required to conduct a full time research project on a topic related to one of the research interests of the department under the supervision of one of the academic personnel.
  • Students will also present a seminar and journal clubs during their training on the topic covered by the project.
  • The student will be required to write a draft article/articles for publication at the end of their project.
  • The MSc degree is conferred by virtue of a dissertation.

PhD Medical Virology


Students need a MSc or equivalent degree in Virology, Genetics or Microbiology, with a sound molecular background. A publication record and research experience will be a recommendation.


  • The student must submit a project proposal for approval by the postgraduate committee.
  • He/she will be required to conduct a research project under supervision of one of the academic personnel in the department that will lead to publication/s in peer reviewed scientific journals.
  • The PhD student must submit a thesis at the end of the project describing the selected topic and results obtained in the project.
  • The doctoral examination is based on assessment of the thesis by two external examiners. The external examiner may recommend an additional written and/or oral exam that covers the content of the thesis as well as the sub-divisions of the field of study on which the thesis is based.

M Med (Path) Medical Virology (Code 10250391)

Major subject: GVR 800 Medical Virology

Prerequisites: GVR 801 Medical Virology 801, or capita selecta from Anatomical pathology (APY871), Chemical Pathology (CHP 871) Haematology (HEM 871), Medical Microbiology (GMB 871) – as approved in consultation with the heads of the departments in question. Satisfactory progress after one year of training is required as evaluated by the applicable examination panel.

Duration of training: Four (4) years, of which at least three years must be in the major subject. The fourth year can either be in the major subject or in any combination of the other Pathology specialisations.

Diagnostic laboratory:

The pathology departments and laboratories of the medical schools of the universities of the Witwatersrand, Pretoria, Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Free State, Transkei and University of Limpopo (MEDUNSA campus) are involved in teaching, research, training, and the provision of diagnostic services to the hospitals in which they teach their students.

The NHLS now forms a national network of integrated pathology laboratories throughout the country that utilise common laboratory management systems and transport networks to facilitate transport of specimens, referral of tests ot reference laboratories and delivery of results. All laboratories provide diagnostic services to the national Department of Health, provincial Hospitals, local authorities and medical practitioners.

The NHLS’ training programme includes the training of medical technologists and medical technicians in association with the Universities of Technology and Technikons.

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