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MSc Veterinary Epidemiology

Course Description

***Applications to study individual modules available***


In a world experiencing rapid technological change and with evolving patterns of international trade, the need to protect human and animal health and the recognition of the importance of veterinary epidemiology have increased.

The course draws upon the strengths of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in epidemiological principles and communicable disease epidemiology, and those of the RVC in all aspects of animal health and production. It also presents an excellent opportunity to learn from veterinary epidemiologists and senior policy makers working at the heart of government (in the UK Government Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and its executive agency, the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA)). Lectures will be delivered at LSHTM and at the 2 RVC campuses.

For those completing the MSc, job prospects are healthy. Former students are now embarked on PhD/MPhil studies at the RVC Epidemiology Division and at a number of prestigious UK universities (Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Warwick) and overseas (Cornell University, USA and Massey University, New Zealand).

In the UK our graduates are employed in the government agencies Defra and VLA, as well as private research and pharmaceutical companies.

Past graduates now work for the United Nations’ World Health and Food and Agriculture Organisations. Further afield they are working for government departments in New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Spain, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Croatia, Ireland, Switzerland, Pakistan, Iceland, Norway and France.

Applicants should have a first- or second-class university honours degree. Due to the multi disciplinary nature of the course, individuals with degrees in veterinary science, biological science, medicine, mathematics or statistics are all encouraged to apply.

Applicants from overseas will be required to provide evidence of proficiency in spoken and written English, including scientific usage and comprehension.

Candidates do not require a background in economics or statistics as these topics are taught in depth during the MSc. Relevant work experience in the veterinary field is an advantage but not a necessity.

The course will provide students with an understanding of the conceptual basis of veterinary epidemiology and with training in essential methodological skills for the conduct of epidemiological studies in animal populations. On completion of the course, students will be able to:

• demonstrate an understanding of the key concepts underpinning the discipline of veterinary 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 follow-up 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, and
• communicate effectively with other people with an interest in human and animal health, including the general public and key policy makers.


All students take 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.

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

Public Health lecture series (terms 1&2)

Epidemiology in context, Introduction to computing

Animal Health Economics, Epidemiology & Control of Communicable Diseases;
Statistical Methods in Epidemiology; Applied Risk Assessment and Management

Advanced Statistical Methods in Veterinary Epidemiology

Modelling and dynamics of infectious diseases
Methods of vector control

Students spend the second part of the year working full-time on an individual project with the guidance of a supervisor. Individuals sponsored by an employer may undertake a project related to their work.

Candidates 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.

The course can be undertaken on a full-time basis over one calendar year starting in late September, or on a part-time basis.

Part-time study necessitates full-time attendance from October to December in Year one, followed by classes during one half of the week from January to May. The part-time study option can be tailored to meet the specific requirements of the student in agreement with the course director.

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

Student Profiles

BBSRC Scholarship for MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology - 4 Awards

Awarding body: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.Scholarship includes full fees (equivalent of £4,600) and a tax free stipend of £14,970 (for non-vets) and £19,970 (for vets) .The deadline for September 2008 start has now closed, there are still places available be to study on the course.Deadline for September 2009 start: 01 May 2009.

Value of Scholarship(s)

£14,970 - £19,970


Scholarships available to applicants resident in the UK.Individuals with degrees in veterinary science, biological science, medicine, mathematics or statistics, and relevant experience are all encouraged to apply.

Application Procedure

Scholarship form can be downloaded from our website http://www.rvc.ac.uk/vetepi and must be sent with the application form.

Further Information


Entry Requirements


Course Fees

£5,080 for EU/UK and £15,530 for Overseas

Email Enquiry

Recipient: Royal Veterinary College
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