- Study the ways in which parasites interact with their hosts and affect them and the wider environment
- A highly specialist field where you develop deep knowledge in a specific scientific discipline
- Most opportunities will require you to have a degree and specialist postgraduate qualifications
Parasitology is generally considered a specialist area within microbiology, and your role would be to study parasites and how they affect the organisms they feed on and the wider environment. Parasitologists work in areas like agriculture, veterinary medicine, human medicine, and conservation as parasites can be both useful and harmful to animals, humans and the environment.
For example you might be involved in studying the way parasites can be used to control other invasive species within an environment, or vaccines and immune responses in relation to specific parasites.
- Studying parasites in their natural environment or as part of a programme of lab research
- Collecting and analysing data
- Reporting on your findings
If you work in a university you might combine your research work with teaching and presenting at academic conferences.
In some roles you may work out in the field or with larger animals who are hosts to parasites, and there may be opportunities to work abroad.
To get started in this field you'll normally need to complete a degree in a related area like microbiology or biology, and then you might go on to complete as specialist postgraduate qualification and/or a PhD in parasitology. Choosing science subjects including biology at school or college will help you gain a place on a degree course.
You'll normally need to be on your way to gaining a PhD to gain a role at a university, but you may be able to apply for roles in commercial labs or for other organisations without a PhD.
You will be able to specialise in a particular branch of parasitology, including medical parasitology; agriculture, aquaculture, and veterinary parasitology; wildlife and fisheries parasitology; or ecological and systematic parasitology. You could also move on to become a lecturer or educator in parasitology.