Career - Virology
Virology is the study of viruses including their composition, infectious capacity and pathological effects. Viral studies may also include host immunity, treatments for viral infection, and applications of viral based technologies in medical research or the biotechnology & pharmaceutical industries. A virus is an extremely small (ultra-microscopic) infectious agent composed of a DNA or RNA core of genetic material, a protein coat, and in some cases surrounded by an envelope. Viruses alone are not considered living organisms as they are unable to replicate (reproduce) on their own but rather replicate only after they have invaded a living cell 'hijacking' the cells reproductive machinery. Virology as a distinct subject is not commonly studied in most Bachelor degrees. In Medical Science degrees, viruses are often covered as a component within microbiology subjects. Common subjects associated with most bioscience degrees including biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology provide a core foundation for any later studies in virology. If considering a career in research, virology may be the focus of any higher degree project for either Honours, Masters or PhD. Given the huge impacts of viruses on human health there is often a steady supply of research positions for higher degree graduates with virology experience. Individuals with higher degree experience in virology are also highly sought after in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, often migrating to industry once skills and experience acquired in academia can be translated into commercial applications.