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Royal Veterinary College, Full Time MSc Degrees

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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. Read more
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.

Under the microscope

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).

The course

The MSc consists of eight modules of 15 credits each, plus a compulsory research project (MSc only) of 60 credits -15 credits for integration of One Health principles learnt through development of and writing a research proposal and 45 credits for the empirical or trans-disciplinary innovative study.

The MSc consists of the following modules:
- Foundations of One Health
- Introduction to disease agents for One Health
- Infectious disease emergence core module
- Introduction to One Health epidemiology and surveillance
- Economics of One Health
- One Health skills development
- Medical anthropology and public health
- Optional module choice from; vector biology and vector parasite interactions, environmental epidemiology, epidemiology and control of communicable diseases, and globalisation and health
- Research project (MSc only)

How will I learn?

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.

Learning outcomes

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)

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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. Read more
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.

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Wild animal health has become increasingly popular among non-veterinarians with a first degree in zoology and biology. Read more
Wild animal health has become increasingly popular among non-veterinarians with a first degree in zoology and biology. Recognising this, the RVC, University of London, together with the Zoological Society of London, has developed a unique course aimed at non-veterinary biological science graduates and leading to the MSc in Wild Animal Biology.

Under the microscope

This course has been designed to provide you with practical exposure to wild animal species and an understanding of wild animal health, welfare and conservation, as well as providing training in research methods relevant to the study of wildlife.

You will benefit from working and studying alongside veterinary graduates taking the MSc in Wild Animal Health as well as learning from internationally renowned experts in their field.

The course

The MSc in Wild Animal Biology consists of three levels:

Certificate in Wild Animal Biology - you are introduced to the course objectives, the mission of the partner organizations running the Course and the services you can receive at the Zoological Society of London and the Royal Veterinary College. You will also undertake four core modules:
- Conservation biology module
- The Impact of disease on populations
- Health and welfare of captive wild animals
- Interventions


Diploma in Wild Animal Biology - building on the knowledge and skills learned in the Certificate in Wild Animal Biology, you will undertake four further modules of study:
- Detection, surveillance and emerging diseases
- Ecosystem health
- Evaluation of the health and welfare of captive wild animals
- Practical module


Master of Science in Wild Animal Biology - a graduate of the Master of Science in Wild Animal Biology must demonstrate (in addition to the achievements of the PG Certificate and Diploma):
- A comprehensive understanding of research and inquiry including (i) critical appraisal of the literature, (ii) scientific writing and (iii) scientific presentation
- The ability to design and analyse hypothesis-driven laboratory and/or field studies

Research planning - develop the extensive skills required to design and conduct practical research projects, critically appraise and review the literature, deliver effective scientific presentations, and write scientific papers suitable for submission to peer-reviewed journals.

Project - each MSc student will be required to undertake an individual research project, between mid-June and the end of August, and to submit a typewritten report not exceeding 10,000 words in the form of a literature review and a scientific paper suitable for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. The project will encompass a practical study on an approved aspect of wild animal biology. The project may be undertaken at any place approved by the Institute/College with the guidance of a course supervisor.

Assessment - you will be assessed by four written papers, course work (assignments, casebook), an individual research project report and an oral examination, irrespective of students’ performance in other parts of the course. Project reports are submitted by the end of August and oral examinations are held in mid-September

Project reports are submitted at the end of August and oral examinations are held in mid-September.

How will I learn?

The MSc in Wild Animal Biology is completed over one year of full-time study.

The course starts in mid-September each year, and can be broken down broadly into three sections, comprising two groups of taught modules and a research project. The first section is completed by mid-January, the second by mid-May, and the MSc research project is undertaken during the summer months, finishing in mid-September. More detailed information can be found in the course outline (see link in the top left of the page).

We deliver the programme through two terms of lectures, seminars, tutorials and problem-based learning, with modular examinations. There are no part-time or distance-learning options available.

Learning outcomes

During the programme you will acquire:
- A critical awareness of current problems in wildlife disease with implications for wildlife conservation and welfare·
- A new insight into veterinary interventions for the management of captive and free-living wild animals·
- A systematic understanding of the biological principles underpinning wild animal conservation and management, and the epidemiology, diagnosis and control of wildlife disease·
- Basic competence in veterinary techniques and preventative medicine for wild animals·
- A conceptual and practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create knowledge in the field of wild animal health·
- A comprehensive understanding of scientific skills, including critical review of the scientific literature, and design and analysis of laboratory or field studies.
- Upon completion of the MSc in Wild Animal Biology, you will have gained the analytical skills, understanding, confidence and the language to progress your career within a wide range of organisations, such as zoos, national parks, universities, conservation organisations and government departments worldwide.

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Over the past 30 years, interventions, for reasons of health, welfare and the conservation of free-living wild animals, have been undertaken with increasing frequency. Read more
Over the past 30 years, interventions, for reasons of health, welfare and the conservation of free-living wild animals, have been undertaken with increasing frequency. Specialist veterinary expertise is required in order to diagnose and control diseases in wildlife.

Emerging infectious diseases are also recognised as a serious hazard, both for wild animal species and for the domestic animal and human populations that interact with them. In addition, a large number of wild animal species are kept in captivity – in zoos and in laboratories – which has led to an increased demand for specialist skills and knowledge.

Under the microscope

The MSc in Wild Animal Health is a world-class specialist postgraduate veterinary science programme taught jointly by the RVC, University of London and the Zoological Society of London.

Aimed at qualified veterinarians, the MSc in Wild Animal Health will equip you with an in-depth knowledge of the management of wild animals and the epidemiology, treatment and control of wild animal disease.

The course

The MSc in Wild Animal Health consists of thee levels:

Certificate in Wild Animal Health - you are introduced to the course objectives, the mission of the partner organizations running the Course and the services you can receive at the Zoological Society of London and the Royal Veterinary College. You will also study four core modules:

- Conservation biology
- The impact of disease on populations
- Health and welfare of captive wild animals
- Interventions


Diploma in Wild Animal Health - building on the knowledge and skills learned in the Certificate in Wild Animal Health, you will study four further modules:

- Detection, surveillance and emerging diseases
- Ecosystem health
- Evaluation of the health and welfare of captive wild animals
- Practical module


MSc in Wild Animal Health - a graduate of the Master of Science in Wild Animal Health must demonstrate (in addition to the achievements of the PG Certificate and Diploma):

- A comprehensive understanding of research and inquiry including (i) critical appraisal of the literature, (ii) scientific writing and (iii) scientific presentation
- The ability to design and analyse hypothesis-driven laboratory and/or field studies

Research planning - in this module we will develop the extensive skills required to design and conduct practical research projects, critically appraise and review the literature, deliver effective scientific presentations, and write scientific papers suitable for submission to peer-reviewed journals.

Project - you will be required to undertake an individual research project, between mid-June and the end of August, and to submit a typewritten report not exceeding 10,000 words in the form of a literature review and a scientific paper suitable for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. The project will encompass a practical study on an approved aspect of wild animal health. The project may be undertaken at any place approved by the Institute/College with the guidance of a course supervisor.

Assessment - you will be assessed by four written papers, course work (assignments and casebook), an individual research project report and an oral examination for all candidates, irrespective of their performance in other parts of the course.

Project reports are submitted at the end of August and oral examinations are held in mid-September.

How will I learn?

The MSc in Wild Animal Health is completed over one year of full-time study.

The course starts in mid-September each year, and can be broken down broadly into three sections, comprising two groups of taught modules and a research project. The first section is completed by mid-January, the second by mid-May, and the MSc research project is undertaken during the summer months, finishing in mid-September. More detailed information can be found in the course outline (see link in the top left of the page).

We deliver the programme through two terms of lectures, seminars, tutorials and problem-based learning, with modular examinations. There are no part-time or distance-learning options available.

Learning outcomes

During the programme you will acquire:

- A critical awareness of current problems in wildlife disease with implications for wildlife conservation and welfare
- A new insight into veterinary interventions for the management of captive and free-living wild animal species
- A systematic understanding of the biological principles underpinning wild animal conservation and management, and the epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment of wildlife disease
- Basic competence in veterinary techniques and preventative medicine for wild animals
- A conceptual and practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create knowledge in the field of wild animal health
- A comprehensive understanding of scientific skills, including critical review of the scientific literature, and design and analysis of laboratory or field studies.

Upon completion of the MSc in Wild Animal Health, you will have gained the analytical skills, the understanding, the confidence and the language to influence thinking and policy making within a wide range of organisations, such as zoos, national parks, universities, conservation organisations and government departments worldwide.

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