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.|
|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.
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.
- 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.
The Certificate comprises the 4 compulsory core modules, which are common to the Certificate, Diploma and MSc:
- IDM101 Principles of Biostatistics and Epidemiology
- IDM102 Principles of Biology
- IDM103 Biology of Infectious Diseases
- IDM104 Control of Infectious Diseases
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.
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
- IDM201 Bacterial Infections
- IDM202 Nutrition & Infection
- IDM203 Parasitology
- IDM204 Viral Infections
- IDM205 Healthcare-Associated Infection
- IDM213 Immunology of Infection and Vaccines
- IDM301 Epidemiology & Control of Infectious Diseases in Developing Countries
- IDM501 HIV/AIDS
- IDM502 Tuberculosis
- IDM503 Malaria
- IDM600 Project Report
- IDM601 Research Design, Management & Analysis
PHM2 elective modules
- PHM202 Communicable Disease Control
- PHM207 Health Care Evaluation
- PHM211 Medical Anthropology in Public Health
- PHM213 Principles & Practice of Health Promotion
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 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
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.
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
|Either: on initial registration, a single payment covering the course registration fee and all module fees|
|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
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.
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
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:
- 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