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Course content

What is the MSc/PGDip in One Health (Infectious Diseases)?

Changing environmental, social and agricultural conditions are a threat to animal and human health and welfare.

Many infectious diseases can pass between animals and humans, while food production, human diet and community stability are harmed by diseases that infect livestock and wildlife. Emerging veterinary infectious diseases and human diseases, such as highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses, emphasise the threat posed by these issues.

The One Health approach recognises the relationship between health and disease at the human, animal and environment interfaces and has become an important focus in both medical and veterinary science. It promotes a “whole of society” treatment of health hazards and a systemic change of perspective in the management of risk.

If you are interested in One Health and the control of infectious disease (particularly in the developing world), then this unique course could be for you. We welcome applications from individuals with a background in public health, veterinary sciences, animal or biological sciences, social and environmental sciences, ecology and wildlife health. If you are interested in this field, but do not have the relevant background, please speak with the course directors who can consider such cases on an individual basis.

The course is delivered jointly by the RVC, University of London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). 

What will I learn?

The course will provide you with:

  • A comprehensive foundation on the principles of diseases in the context of socio-ecological systems, global health and food safety
  • Knowledge and skills in relation to One Health methodologies, transdisciplinary interactions and in using a systems approach. 

At the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Understand the One Health concept and approach problem solving using a trans-disciplinary methodology
  • Understand the origin, context and drivers of infectious disease at the human, animal and environment interface
  • Evaluate impacts of multi-host infections on human, animal and ecosystem health and economics directly, or indirectly, via food, disease vectors or the environment.
  • Develop a One Health systems approach to complex disease issues in monitoring, surveillance, diagnosis, prevention and control
  • Critically review published literature
  • Design a research project (MSc students only).

Programme delivery

The MSc may be completed full-time in one year or part time over two to three years, and consists of eight taught modules and a research project.

The PGDiploma is shorter (eight modules with no research project component) and may be completed in two terms. 

The course starts in September each year and you will split your time between the RVC and LSHTM. Students studying the MSc will then undertake a four-month research project in an area and country of their choice.

What will I be able to do with my qualification?

A postgraduate degree from the RVC and LSHTM is highly regarded and recognised internationally. This course is one of very few face-to-face One Health courses designed to develop the skills and knowledge needed for resolving complex health challenges.

Ministers of State and international agencies have endorsed the One Health approach and governments are establishing joint committees between public health and veterinary authorities, with close links to wildlife and environmental agencies, with a view to developing inter-sectoral programmes. Our Diploma and Masters provide training to fulfil this growing demand.

Our graduates have a track record of successful careers in Government, research and other organisations where they are involved in the implementation and management of human and animal health programmes. However, as this unique MSc/Diploma is a new programme, we are currently unable to provide specific details of what our graduates in One Health have gone on to do.

Please see the testimonial below of Jessica Floyd, one of our successful One Health graduates, who has gone on to work on human and livestock movement patterns in Kenya, and the associated risk of zoonotic disease transmission:

Jessica Floyd testimonial 


Visit the One Health (Infectious Diseases) - MSc/PGDip page on the Royal Veterinary College website for more details!

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