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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 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 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.

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).

Assessment

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

The Research project is assessed through a research paper written in the style required by an identified scientific journal (80%) and an oral examination (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

2018/2019

Registration fee (MSc)

£ 1,775

Registration fee (PGDip)

£ 1,335

Registration fee (PGCert)

£ 885

Module fee

£ 1,775

MSc

£ 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?

In some countries, qualifications 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.

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 10% bursary off fees for this programme (excluding resit fees).

More on funding your study.

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

You can apply to study main course modules (240 hours) on an individual basis. You will need to meet entry requirements to study these courses.

There are also a number of 35-hour modules available 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 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?

Animal disease modelling (LVM334)

Simulation models have become important for the control of infectious diseases. They examine 'what if' scenarios for current disease control and herd production, plus a mechanism for generating hypotheses about the components of epidemiological systems. This course introduces the concepts of deterministic and stochastic disease modelling.

Animal health analysis and database management on farms (LVM333)

Learn how computer software can be used to interrogate and handle databases to generate summary statistics and graphs. Get to grips with some of the technical language used to describe databases, and learn more about the important points to consider when designing them.

Animal transport and slaughter - critical welfare considerations (LVM305)

Learn about the animal welfare issues involved in the handling, transport, and slaughter of livestock, and how auditing systems can maintain welfare levels. This course prepares you to provide advice on the design and management of facilities for loading and unloading animals, stockyards, and restraint equipment to prevent welfare problems.

Diagnostic decision making and epidemiological disease information management (LVM323)

Applying epidemiology to the improvement of livestock health and production requires responsible management of information. From milk production on a single farm to countrywide diseases, data management is essential. Find out about the types of data you might encounter, methods of collecting and storage, and tools that will help you extract useful information.

Principles of farm animal economic analysis (LVM319)

This course introduces the role that economics plays in animal health decision making. Assess the issues, then learn about concepts used in animal health economics. The conclusion is a practical session, which guides you through how to calculate the output of livestock enterprises.

Tools for economic analysis (LVM320)

Investigate the methodologies used for decision making in animal health and production so you can critically evaluate studies. Explain the basic principles involved and familiarise yourself with the techniques of partial and benefit-cost analysis, as well as the economic tools used to analyse the risk and uncertainty associated with livestock production.

Welfare issues in extensive farming systems (LVM304)

The welfare of extensively farmed animals is influenced by factors including climate, food availability, handling, parasites, predators, etc. As these factors interact in a complex way, there are no simple answers regarding animal welfare. Understand the complex interplay between them and the dilemmas they bring.

Welfare issues in systems involving confinement (LVM303)

Intensive farming systems, including small-space confinement, have led to many animal welfare issues. Scientists and agricultural engineers are working on enclosures and environments to better meet the needs of animals. Explore these issues in detail and gain a better understanding of the economic and political ramifications involved in improving husbandry systems.

You can apply to study main course modules (240 hours) on an individual basis. You will need to meet entry requirements to study these courses.

There are also a number of 50-hour modules available 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 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?

Advanced risk analysis using @ RISK software (LVM501)

Understanding risk analysis has become essential for people working in animal health policy. This course provides a basic understanding, with particular emphasis on qualitative and quantitative risk assessment. Discover how to use frameworks and probability theory to build a simple quantitative model using a software package called @RISK.

Animal disease surveillance (LVM503)

Animal disease surveillance has become more important given increasing concerns for food safety and the emergence of new diseases. This course introduces the principles of disease control and how programmes are implemented and evaluated. Understand the complexity of the decision-making process and how epidemiological tools can help in the control and eradication of animal diseases.

Control of food safety: red meat, poultry, eggs, milk and milk products (LVM509)

This course concerns microbiological aspects of food safety in the production of red and poultry meat, eggs, milk and milk products. Examine methods to reduce microbiological contamination in meat during the entire production chain. Understand the importance of egg shells and milk as vehicles for human infection and the methods used to reduce contamination.

Design and analysis of epidemiological investigations - observational and intervention studies (LVM513)

This course introduces you to observational and intervention studies conducted on populations, and how to measure association between disease and risk factors. Learn more about different measures of association and the most suitable application for each one. This allows you to evaluate these studies and statistical testing requirements.

Development of a disease control programme: salmonella in pigs and bovine TB (LVM510)

Analyse two examples of national disease control programmes in veterinary public health - salmonella in pig herds in Denmark and tuberculosis in cattle in the UK - to recognise the important elements of a disease eradication programme. By the end of this course, you can develop your own strategies for combating similar chronic farm animal diseases.

Herd health management (LVM502)

Information management is the foundation of food animal production-oriented health programmes. Good information allows managers to make good decisions, identify shortfalls, and monitor interventions. This course introduces herd health programmes and the economic principles governing their design and delivery, plus the role of computers in herd health management, using the CamDairy software package as an example.

Introduction to statistics, hypothesis testing, study design and analysis of data (LVM511)

Assuming you have no prior knowledge of statistical analysis, this course explains the basic concepts of statistics and provides a basic introduction to statistical analysis in veterinary and animal health fields. Learn about hypothesis testing, sampling, study design and parametric and nonparametric methods of data analysis.

Introduction to veterinary public health, risk analysis and risk assessment (LVM506)

Explore the diverse nature of Veterinary Public Health (VPH) in this introductory course. Discover how food can constitute a hazard to human health, and how to measure the risk to consumer health. Gain a basic understanding of risk analysis, with particular emphasis on qualitative and quantitative risk assessment.

Principles of food safety control and 'farm to fork' concept (LVM508)

Examine how to control food safety hazards throughout production, storage and distribution. Identify suitable control measures to avoid food poisoning bacteria and viruses that may contaminate ready-to-eat food. Examine the controversial use of antibiotics, the associated problem of antibiotic resistance, and the implications for public health.

Principles, methodology and sampling in epidemiological investigations (LVM512)

The course emphasises the practical use of sampling theory to answer epidemiological questions, with examples of effective use of sampling techniques for epidemiological investigations. Discover methods for describing the frequency of disease occurrence in animal populations; examine techniques for making inferences about large populations on the basis of a sample; and learn about the techniques used for effective sampling of populations.

Tools for economic analysis in epidemiology (LVM515)

Assuming no prior experience of animal health economics, this practical course introduces the principles of economic analysis and a number of tools used to aid decision making. Learn how to use the tools in a number of activities and case studies while understanding issues so you can critically review the work of others.

Zoonoses of parasitic, bacterial and viral origin (LVM507)

This course provides an overview of some major zoonotic diseases, their epidemiology and their control. It considers some emerging and re-emerging zoonoses that are important to human health. The course provides separate coverage of parasites, bacteria, viruses, rickettsia and prions.

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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