University of Technology Sydney

91352 Parasitology

6cp; 2hpw (lecture), 2hpw (practical class), 1hpw (seminar/tutorial)
Requisite(s): 91314 General Microbiology
These requisites may not apply to students in certain courses. See access conditions.
Recommended studies:

91401 Immunology 1; 91132 Molecular Biology 1


This subject covers the exciting world of parasites and the discipline of parasitism. Parasites come in all shapes and sizes, from single celled protozoa to very large worms that can live in your gut and get to several metres in length. Parasites impact on society in all sorts of ways: they cause disease in people and animals, and affect agricultural production of your food. The study of parasites is therefore an important area of microbiology. In the first half of the subject students explore the diversity of parasites in the natural world; they explore the worlds of protozoa, helminths and ectoparasites such as ticks, lice and mosquitoes. Students then explore the simple and often complex life cycles of these organisms, what they look like morphologically and factors contributing to their classification.

Transmission of parasites to people can occur through water, food, poor hygienic practices and sex. Guest lecturers, specialists in their disciplines, share their knowledge on parasite transmission. They explore the needs of society, such as why Sydney's tap water is safe to drink and the essential nature of food security and safety. Diagnostic and clinical parasitology, for those interested in a career in clinical microbiology, is included throughout the subject. The impact of parasites on society is also emphasised through a series of movies and documentaries produced by science communicators.

The final component of the subject focuses on how parasites interact with a host's immune system. The disease-causing nature of parasites and how they may impact on society and the world at large is emphasised. Students consider the topics of immunity and inflammation, and their contribution to disease outcomes and discuss why it's difficult to make vaccines for some of the world's major parasitic diseases, like malaria.

This subject is taught by leading researchers in parasitology, as well as external staff from Sydney's major hospitals, Sydney Water and the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Typical availability

Spring session, City campus

Detailed subject description.

Fee information

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Access conditions

Note: The requisite information presented in this subject description covers only academic requisites. Full details of all enforced rules, covering both academic and admission requisites, are available at access conditions and My Student Admin.