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Infectious Diseases by Distance Learning (Certificate, Diploma and MSc)


These courses provide a broad understanding of infectious diseases through the core modules in public health, biostatistics and epidemiology, and the biology and control of infectious diseases which are taken by all students, together with the subsequent opportunities for specialised study in areas of the student’s own choice. Most of the students are in-service health professionals working for example as doctors or laboratory staff, who take the courses in order to acquire new knowledge in infectious diseases, or to update their current expertise.

The Infectious Diseases courses draw upon the School’s long tradition in the study of clinical and epidemiological aspects of infectious and tropical diseases. Providing a broad understanding of infectious diseases, together with developing strategies for their control and treatment, the courses will be of particular relevance to in-service health professionals, such as doctors or laboratory staff who either wish to acquire new knowledge in infectious diseases or update their current expertise.

These courses are aimed both at recent graduates who wish to pursue an advanced degree, and at people who took their first training some time ago and wish to update their knowledge in this rapidly evolving field or who wish to change career direction.

Course You study Study period
Master's 9 modules + a project report or 12 modules 2-5 years
Postgraduate Diploma 8 modules 2-5 years
Postgraduate Certificate 4 modules 1-5 years
Individual modules Studying individual modules is an ideal option if you wish to update your professional knowledge or sample the programme.
 Key dates
Application deadline for the PG Cert, PG Dip and MSc 30 June
Application deadline for individual modules 30 September
Registration deadline for PG Cert, PG Dip and MSc 30 September
Registration deadline for individual modules 30 November
Start of the course October
Examinations (take place the following year after registration) June


School alumna Enas Newire talks about her experience studying for the MSc Infectious Diseases by distance learning.

The fact that one can take a break from studies as needed, enter the class at any time and find the lectures readily available is a flexible and efficient way of studying.
Melvin Sanicas, Philippines


Course objectives

Students will develop:

  • a comprehensive understanding of the role of biology of infective agents and hosts on the outcome of infection
  • the use of this knowledge, in combination with epidemiological and public health approaches, to develop rational strategies for the control and treatment of infection

Method of assessment

All distance learning modules are assessed by means of a two-hour unseen written examination (with 15 minutes planning/reading time at the start of the examination). 

Elective modules (i.e. modules other than the IDM1 modules) are assessed partly by the two-hour unseen written examination (70%) and partly by an assessed assignment (30%), submitted electronically to the School by a set deadline.

Examinations take place once a year in June (please note: it is not possible to hold examinations at other times of year). These are normally held in a student’s country of residence. Details of available examination centres.

They are arranged mainly through Ministries of Education or the British Council. Students taking distance learning examinations will need to pay a fee to their local examination centre. Please note that if you fail an examination at the first entry you will be allowed one further attempt, if you have failed the module overall.


Course structure

  • Postgraduate Certificate: 4 modules (4 compulsory core modules)
  • Postgraduate Diploma: 8 modules (4 compulsory core plus 4 elective modules)
  • MSc: EITHER 12 modules (4 compulsory core plus and 8 elective) OR 9 modules (4 compulsory plus five elective) plus project report

The courses provide core training in infectious diseases. Students can choose to study an MSc, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate (core modules only) or individual modules. The last option is ideal if you wish to sample the degree or update your professional knowledge.

Module selection

Postgraduate Certificate

The Certificate comprises the 4 compulsory core modules, which are common to the Certificate, Diploma and MSc:  

After completion of the core modules, those registered for the Postgraduate Diploma and MSc must successfully pass a required number of elective modules to complete the award.

Postgraduate Diploma

To complete the Postgraduate Diploma, students must choose 4 elective modules to complete the award; three of these must be from the IDM elective module list below.

Master's Degree (MSc)

To complete the MSc, students must choose 4 elective modules from the IDM elective list below. Another 4 further elective modules may then be chosen from either the IDM modules or from the PHM2 list below.

Note that restrictions and pre-requisites may apply to some of the modules below. Not all modules will be available every year.

IDM elective modules

PHM2 elective modules

Project Report

Alternatively, with the permission of the Course Director, MSc students may choose to study five elective modules (three must be ID modules) and complete a project report (maximum 10,000 words) in their final year of study.

Credits awarded

Credits will be awarded to all modules (15 credits each) and (MSc only) the project (45 credits) successfully completed. To successfully pass an award the following credits must be gained:

Postgraduate Certificate – 60 credits
Postgraduate Diploma – 120 credits
Master's – 180 credits

How you study

Study materials

You receive your study materials after you register. Study materials may include Subject guides, Readers, Textbooks, CD-ROMs/additional computer software (e.g. Stata), Past examination papers and Examiners’ reports, and Handbooks. You also have access to the School’s online library resources. We also provide all students with a student registration card.

Flexible study

We know that if you have a full-time job, family or other commitments, and wish to study at a distance, you will have many calls on your time. The course allows you to study independently, at a time and pace that suits you (subject to some course-specific deadlines) using the comprehensive study materials provided, with support available from academic staff.You have between 1-5 years in which to complete the Postgraduate Certificate, and between 2-5 years in which to complete the Postgraduate Diploma or the MSc. 

The study year for most modules runs from the beginning of October through to the June exams, while two modules run from the beginning of January through to assignment submission at the end of August.  Tutorial support is available throughout this time.  Students carrying out projects are assigned personal supervisors to support their project work which is mostly carried out between June and the end of September in their final year.

Blended learning: taking modules in London

After successful completion of a minimum number of core modules, Postgraduate Diploma and MSc students may also be eligible for the 'blended learning option', which allows for the study of up to two modules only (from a restricted list) at the School in London during the Spring or Summer terms in place of distance learning modules. Please note that these options, and the dates when the modules are held at the School, are subject to change - full details will be sent to all distance learning students in July each year.


  • a web-based learning environment (including web conferencing, allowing you to engage in academic discussions with tutors and fellow students)
  • personalised feedback from teaching staff and advice on assignments
  • tutors are allocated to each module and are available to answer queries and promote discussion during the study year, through the online Virtual Learning Environment
  • communicate with other distance learning students, either individually or through learning support groups

Fees and funding


The fees below refer to the 2016-17 academic year only and are effective from 1 March 2016 until 30 November 2016. Fees are subject to annual review and may be paid in one of two ways:

Either: on initial registration, a single payment covering the course registration fee and all module fees
Master's £12,360
Postgraduate Diploma £9,750
Postgraduate Certificate £7,200
Or: pay the initial course registration fee, plus the fee for each module you are taking in the first year. Then, in subsequent years, you pay the fee for each new module you take.
Initial registration fee £1,155
Fee per core module £1,515
Fee per elective module £650
Fee for final project £1,935
Individual modules (taken on a stand-alone basis with no registration fee)
Fee per core module £1,800
Fee per elective module £1,800

When to pay

Fees may be paid in one of two ways:

Either, pay the total fee on registration by making a single payment. This covers the registration fee and all module fees;

Or, if you prefer to spread out your payments, pay the registration fee plus the fee for each module you want to take in the first year, and then in subsequent years pay the fee for each new module you take.

How to pay

All fees must be paid in pounds sterling (GBP) directly to the University of London. The University of London accepts:

  • Western Union - Quick Pay
  • Credit/debit card (Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, Electron, JCB)
  • Sterling banker's draft/cheque
  • International money/postal order 

Further details are given on the University of London website

Other costs

In addition to the fees payable to the University of London, you should also budget for the fee charged by your local examination centre to cover its costs; this fee will vary.

Entry requirements

Academic Requirements

All applicants are required to have:

A first or second class honours degree or the equivalent, from a university or other institution acceptable to the University of London, in a scientific subject (e.g. biology, medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary science, pharmacy) or in another scientific discipline which has, in the opinion of the University, included suitable preliminary training.

Applicants with an appropriate technical qualification and work experience will also be considered.

Qualifications from around the world are accepted; for further guidance please see the School's qualifications for entrance. Students who do not satisfy the entrance requirements may still be admitted at the discretion of the School on the basis of their academic qualifications, work experience and references.

English Language Requirements

Applicants may be required to pass or to have passed within the last three years, at the appropriate level, a test of proficiency in English acceptable to the University:

The Princeton Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

  • Paper-based Test: a minimum overall score of at 600 and a minimum of 5.0 in the test of written English
  • Computer-based Test: a minimum overall score of at least 250 and a minimum of 5.0 in the test of written English
  • Internet-based Test: a minimum overall score of at least 100 and a minimum of 5.0 in the test of written English

The British Council Test (IELTS)

  • A minimum overall score of 7.0 and a minimum of 7.0 in the written component

Computer Requirements

You must have regular access to a computer (or mobile device*) with an internet connection to use the University of London International Programmes website and the Student Portal. These are where your programme’s study resources are located. Through the Student Portal you can register as a student, enter exams and use your programme’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The VLE provides you with electronic learning materials, access to the University of London Online Library, networking opportunities and other resources.

To get the most from your studies, your computer should have at least the following minimum specification:

  • a web browser (the latest version of Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer). This must accept cookies and have JavaScript enabled
  • screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or greater
  • sufficient bandwidth to download documents of at least 2 MB

and the following applications installed:

  • word processor that reads Microsoft Word format (.doc)
  • Adobe, or other pdf reader

Some of the CD-ROMs and software provided for use with Epidemiology modules may not be fully compatible with Apple Mac computers.

*Full mobile access is not available for all programmes

How to apply

Application for study by Distance Learning

The School's distance learning courses are run in collaboration with the University of London International Programmes. For the distance learning courses applications must be made online to the University of London International Programmes.

Need help with completing your application online? Please check the "How to Apply" section of the University of London website.

If you have any enquiries, please submit your questions online to the University of London  International Programmes. Alternatively, please contact:

The Information Centre, University of London, Stewart House, 32 Russell Square, London, 
WC1B 5DN, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7862 8360/8361/8362
Fax: +44 (0)20 7862 8358

Admission status


Course Directors

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