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Course content

In a world where global transport links allow rapid movement of people and animals, disease can spread more quickly than before and is harder to control than ever. In such a world there is a growing need for trained epidemiologists at the front line of disease surveillance.

The UK leads the way in providing this training and, in order to meet the demand for skilled professionals, the RVC has developed a unique postgraduate veterinary epidemiology course, delivered jointly with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

Under the microscope

This demanding masters in veterinary epidemiology programme is led by veterinary epidemiologists and supported by policy makers from the forefront of UK government and you will gain a fascinating insight into the work of the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA, formerly AHVLA). Your areas of study will combine LSHTM’s strengths in epidemiological principles and communicable disease epidemiology, with the RVC’s expertise in veterinary epidemiology, animal health and production.

The course

All students are required to study the core units and usually the recommended units. Students are advised to take at most one optional unit unless they are very familiar with the content of several core or recommended units.

Term one core units:
- Extended epidemiology
- Statistics for EPH
- Epidemiological aspects of laboratory investigation
- Surveillance of animal health and production
- Data management using epi-data
- Communication skills in epidemiology

Recommended unit: Public health
Optional units: Epidemiology in context, Introduction to computing

Term two core units:
- Animal health economics
- Epidemiology and control of communicable diseases
- Statistical methods in epidemiology
- Applied risk assessment and management

Term three core unit:
- Advanced statistical methods in veterinary epidemiology

Recommended units: Modelling and dynamics of infectious diseases, Methods of vector control

Projects - you will spend the second part of the year working full-time on an individual project with the guidance of a supervisor. If you have been sponsored by an employer, you may undertake a project related to your work.

Assessment - you will be assessed by two written exams in June, six in-course assessments throughout the year, and a project report with oral examination in September.

How will I learn?

You can choose to complete the Veterinary Epidemiology post-graduate course over one year full-time study, or part time over two years.

All participants begin the course in September. Over three terms, you will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, practicals and tutorials. Both MSc and Diploma students complete the Term One foundation module. MSc students then complete a further five compulsory modules over Terms Two and Three, while Diploma students complete a further four modules, with some module choice available.

Students on both courses sit written examination papers in June, after which the veterinary epidemiology MSc students will work on a research project from June to August, culminating in an oral examination in September.

Part-time students attend the course full-time from October to December in year one, followed by classes two to three days a week from January to May. You will usually study the remainder of the course in year two, including the summer research project (MSc students only).

We recognise the need for flexibility, however, and are happy to tailor your part-time study to meet your specific requirements (subject to agreement with the course director).

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course you will be able to:

- Demonstrate and understand the key concepts underpinning the discipline of veterinary and medical epidemiology
- Select an appropriate study design when confronted with an epidemiological research question and develop a detailed study protocol capable of answering the research question
- Analyse and interpret epidemiological data derived from cross-sectional, case-control and cohort studies
- Review critically the published epidemiological literature
- Apply epidemiological principles to surveillance, and infection and disease control, within animal and human populations
- Communicate effectively with researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds
- Communicate effectively with other people with an interest in human and animal health, including the general public and key policy makers.

Visit the Veterinary Epidemiology (MSc) page on the Royal Veterinary College website for more details!





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