NPLK15000U Basic Parasitology

Volume 2024/2025

MSc Programme in Biology
MSc Programme in Biotechnology


The course gives an introduction to the biology of parasitism, and the interactions between parasites and their hosts. Focus is on fundamental concepts in parasitology, for example the definition of parasitism as a life form, adaptations to parasitism, host exploitation strategies, and fitness effects of parasitism on host individuals and populations. Those concepts will be supported by “hands-on” experimental work on host-parasite models in the laboratory in combination with research-based lectures. In addition, examples of the distribution and importance of parasites in wildlife populations will be provided, and the potential commercial applications of using parasite models will be explored and discussed.


Learning Outcome

The aim of the course is to provide students with a broad introduction to animal parasites and how they interact with their hosts. Students will gain practical experience working with experimental host-parasite models in the laboratory.



  • Define parasitism and describe adaptations to a parasitic lifestyle.
  • Describe the general biology of major groups of animal parasites.
  • Understand fundamental concepts related to the transmission and host exploitation strategies of parasites.
  • Understand the consequences of parasitism to animal populations.
  • Evaluate the potential use of parasite models in industrial applications.



Students will obtain basic skills in working with experimental host-parasite models. They will learn to quantify and identify parasites from different systematic groups by use of dissection and molecular tools. Students will gain practical experience in obtaining their own data set, hypothesis testing, and data presentation and interpretation. 



Students will obtain knowledge on important concepts of parasitism and how to apply those to: 1) explain the distribution of parasites and the following implications for host populations, 2) understand the transmission of parasites under natural conditions, and 3) examine novel ways to implement host-parasite models in industrial research.

See Absalon for a list of course literature


Fundamental qualifications within the area of zoology is recommended.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
The course provides a “hands on” approach to study fundamental parasite biology by the use of experimental host-parasite models. Learning methods include lectures introducing each concept followed by practical and theoretical exercises. Morphological adaptations to parasitism and variation in life-cycles will be presented. Factors affecting host and parasite fitness, and parasite distribution within and among hosts will be demonstrated experimentally, and their applications in real-life situations will be discussed. A concrete example of how knowledge on fundamental parasite biology was turned into into the production of a medicinal product will be presented.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 34
  • Preparation
  • 126
  • Theory exercises
  • 10
  • Practical exercises
  • 34
  • Exam
  • 2
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 minutes with 30 minutes preparation time
Type of assessment details
Individual oral examination in topics from the textbook and/or other learning material posted on Absalon (including power point presentations and research articles).
Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners

Same as the ordinary exam.

Criteria for exam assesment

In order to obtain the grade 12 the student should
convincingly and accurately demonstrate the knowledge, skills and
competences described under Learning Outcomes.