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Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health

MSc, PGDip and PGCert

If you’re an animal health specialist, an epidemiologist or a public health specialist, this programme provides an understanding of veterinary epidemiology and public health.

veterinary epidemiology and public health - alumni
This master's is ideal for both animal health and public health specialists. Hear from Laura, who studied the MSc in Australia.

This programme helps you develop skills for disease modelling and for devising strategies to combat chronic farm animal disease.

Learn about the use of economic concepts in animal health, and apply herd-health programmes to maximise economic returns from animal production.

Course details

By taking this programme, you will challenge perceptions of what constitutes safe food production, make objective judgements about contemporary issues such as antibiotic resistance, and develop the skills you need for epidemiological investigations.

  • MSc: You complete 7 modules (3 core, 4 options).
  • PGDip: You complete 4 modules (2 core, 2 options).
  • PGCert: You complete 2 core modules.

Entry levels

View modules for MSc

View modules for PGDip

View modules for PGCert

CPD options

You can also study individual courses of this degree (240-hour modules) for CPD purposes. If you complete one successfully, you can apply to transfer onto the degree programme.

There is also a range of shorter 50-hour and 35-hour modules (see Short courses below).

Application deadline 15 December 2018
Registration deadline 15 January 2019

The programme is offered by distance learning and is fully supported by a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). You study independently, at a time and pace that suits you (subject to course-specific deadlines), using the study materials provided, with support available from academic staff.

In some countries, degrees earned by distance and flexible learning may not be recognised by certain authorities or regulators for the purposes of public sector employment or further study. We advise you to explore the local recognition status before you register, even if you plan to receive support from a local teaching institution.

Study materials

We will send you study materials developed by academics at the Royal Veterinary College. Your materials include a module pack, which contains a study guide and specially selected readings

Online support

When you register, we will give you access to your Student Portal. You can then access your University of London email account and two other key resources:

  • The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) enables access to online tutorials, study materials, previous exam papers, and discussion boards. Tutorials provide the opportunity for you to ask questions and you are strongly encouraged to plan for these sessions.
  • The Online Library holds thousands of journal articles which you can access free of charge. A dedicated help desk is available if you have any difficulties in finding what you need.

Tutors will offer feedback on a number of your written assignments. The marks for the best of these will count towards your module grade. Academic feedback helps you to reach high standards, and support your preparation for exams.

Time commitment

To complete the programme in the minimum study period (2 years), we estimate that you will need to study for approximately 15 hours per week during the academic session (February to September).


Each module is examined by a three-hour unseen written examination which takes place in October (80% of the mark) and up to two written assignments per course, from which the highest mark will count (20%).

You can sit exams at an approved centre anywhere in the world.

More about exams.

What qualifications do you need?

MSc: you will need the equivalent of a UK second-class honours degree (e.g. bachelor) in a relevant subject from an acceptable institution.

Relevant subjects include veterinary science, biological sciences or medicine. (We will consider other disciplines if we believe they offer suitable preparation for the programme.)

PGDip / PGCert / 240-hour modules: an appropriate degree, professional or technical qualification and work experience that we deem appropriate.

English Language requirements

You will meet our language requirements if you have achieved one of the following within the past three years:

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall, with 6.0 in each sub-test.
  • TOEFL iBT: 92 overall, with 22+ in reading and writing, and 20+ in speaking and listening.

Alternatively, you may satisfy the language requirements if you have at least 18 months of education or work experience conducted in English.

Computer requirements

We set minimum basic computer requirements because your study resources are accessed via the Student Portal and it is vital that you can access this regularly.

More about computer requirements.

For the modules 'Management of infectious disease outbreaks in animal populations', you will require the following additional requirements:

  • Industry-standard PC (as some of the software is not compatible with Macs)
  • Pentium processor or better (Pentium IV or higher recommended)
  • 512MB RAM (1GB or higher recommended)
  • CD-ROM drive, double speed (or faster recommended)
  • Windows 2000 or higher
  • 10GB of hard disk space.

The fees below are effective from 1 March 2018 until 28 February 2019 session, and are subject to annual review.

Academic year


Registration fee (MSc)

£ 1,775

Registration fee (PGDip)

£ 1,335

Registration fee (PGCert)

£ 885

Module fee

£ 1,775


£ 13,490

Postgraduate Diploma

£ 8,015

Postgraduate Certificate

£ 4,215

Continuing Professional Development


240-hour short course

£ 1,930

50-hour short course

£ 710

35-hour short course

£ 535

Disclaimer: Currency conversion tool.

If you pay the total fee at the point of registration, this covers your registration fee, all module fees, and offers a discount on the individual components of the qualification.

You can also spread out your payments. In the first instance, you pay for registration plus your first-year modules. In subsequent years, you pay for each new module you take.

Additional Costs

You will also need to budget for exam centre fees, which are paid directly to the venues where you sit your exams. There is also the cost of software, which is not covered by your module fee.

We accept most traditional payment methods, including debit/credit card, international money order, and Western Union.

How to pay your fees.

Graduates of this programme are employed in a variety of organizations, including the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra), University Veterinary faculties and international organisations including the FAO and World Health Organisation (WHO).

What do employers think of our graduates?

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) is the UK’s longest established veterinary school and one of the most highly regarded institutions of its kind in Europe. It has over 1,500 students enrolled on its programmes and four state-of-the-art teaching and referral hospitals, providing services to the public and the veterinary profession.

The RVC’s independent status enables it to innovate and to remain at the forefront of knowledge and practice. Postgraduate students learn alongside experts in their field and are provided with the specialist knowledge and skills required to make it to the very top of their chosen profession.

Academic leaders

Dr Christine Thuranira-McKeever is the Distance Learning Director at the Royal Veterinary College, providing academic leadership for the two MSc postgraduate courses offered by distance learning. She manages course content, monitors your progress, oversees teaching strategies, co-ordinates the course administration, and liaises with external partners and collaborators.

Without the cost of moving to London, studying for your University of London degree anywhere in the world represents excellent value for money. However, there are additional sources of support depending on where you live and how you choose to study.

Royal Veterinary College staff members and alumni receive a 20% bursary off fees for this programme (excluding resit fees).

More on funding your study.

Commonwealth Scholarships

Fee-waiver scholarships worth £13,483 are available for the MSc Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health and the MSc Livestock Health and Production.

To apply, you must be a national of a qualifying Commonwealth country and hold the entry requirements for this master's degree. Apply by 31 May 2018.

More details and how to apply.

Can I get sponsored?

If you're employed, your employer may be willing to cover part/all of the programme fees if you can make a compelling case as to how this programme will boost your contribution to the workplace.

Our courses are ideal for employers because they get to retain you as an employee and benefit from your learning from the moment you begin.

How can I get sponsored by my employer

In addition to the main course modules, the RVC also offers 35-hour and 50-hour modules for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). There are no entry requirements for these modules.

Once you register for a short course, you will receive a letter of registration and a pack containing all the materials you need (e.g. learning notes, readings and textbooks). Access to the VLE is limited for 35-hour and 50-hour modules.

If you successfully complete the assessment we will send you a Certificate of Achievement, which notes the number of study hours required for the course.

What can you study?

50-hour short courses

  • Advanced risk analysis using @ RISK software
  • Animal disease surveillance
  • Control of food safety: red meat, poultry, eggs, milk and milk products
  • Design and analysis of epidemiological investigations – observational and intervention studies
  • Development of a disease control programme: salmonella in pigs and bovine TB
  • Herd health management
  • Introduction to statistics, hypothesis testing, study design and analysis of data
  • Introduction to veterinary public health, risk analysis and risk assessment
  • Principles of food safety control and ‘farm to fork’ concept
  • Principles, methodology and sampling in epidemiological investigations
  • Tools for economic analysis in epidemiology
  • Zoonoses of parasitic, bacterial and viral origin

35-hour short courses

  • Animal disease modelling
  • Animal health analysis and database management on farms
  • Animal transport and slaughter - critical welfare considerations
  • Diagnostic decision making and epidemiological disease information management
  • Principles of farm animal economic analysis
  • Tools for economic analysis
  • Welfare issues in extensive farming systems
  • Welfare issues in systems involving confinement

Apply online for:

Hear from our graduates

MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health student, Daniel Karugu

"This course has helped me gain expertise in risk analysis and the management of disease outbreaks. I am very confident that I can do a better job now."

Daniel Karugu, Kenya

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