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Masters One Health (Infectious Diseases)

This course aims to provide a comprehensive foundation on the principles of diseases in the context of sociological systems, global health and food safety as well as providing skills in relation to One Health methodologies, transdisciplinary interactions and in using a systems approach.

Course Overview

This course is delivered jointly by the Royal Veterinary College and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and addresses a broad range of topics under the One Health paradigm. 

The programme modules include: Integrating One Health, Fundamentals of Infectious Disease, Disease Emergence, Statistics Monitoring and Surveillance, Disease Control in Developing Countries, One Health Economics, Ecological Epidemiology and Social Drivers of Disease.

Graduates from this programme will have the knowledge and skills provided by experienced scientists in order to be able to respond rapidly and effectively to outbreaks of disease as well as controlling endemic disease at the interface between humans, animals and the environment.

Course Duration

The full-time MSc will be completed over one year full-time study. Part-time study takes two to three years.

The course will be delivered in a modular format in order to ensure flexibility, with exams at the end of each module.

Full-time participants spend the first two terms (eight months) at the RVC's Camden campus and at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, followed by a four-month research project. Diploma students only undertake the taught part of the course. For those interested in specific topics, course modules can be studied as short courses, which offers a flexible approach to learning.

This course is also available as a postgraduate diploma. See the RVC website for details.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • understand the One Health concept and approach problem solving using a transdisciplinary 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, 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 and complete a research project (MSc only)

The course will provide comprehensive foundation on the principles of diseases in the context of sociological systems, global health and food safety.

The course will provide skills in relation to One Health methodologies, transdisciplinary interactions and in using a systems approach.

Programme Structure

MSc courses start in September or October each year and have a modular structure.

Term 1


A one week orientation on study at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the RVC with sessions on key computing and study skills. The methods of group work, problem based learning and collaboration exercises will be introduced as they will be a significant component of the training in all modules.

Module 1: Integrating One Health

This module will give participants a critical understanding of the transdisciplinary nature of One Health as an approach to problem solving, contrasting the approaches taken to human and animal (domestic and wild) health by various sectors. The approach will provide the tools for working across health sectors on the environmental nexus of change (e.g. climate change) and in particular on human behaviour and globalisation impacts on future threats. The course examines the ecology of disease using a systems approach. Case studies will be used to illustrate points in lectures.

Module 2: Fundamentals of Infectious Diseases

This module will provide knowledge on the life-cycles and characteristics of major infectious disease agents, the principal intervention strategies used to combat these and the analysis of factors contributing to the success or failure of systems of control and intervention, including showing where a One Health approach is beneficial.

Module 3: Disease Emergence

This module includes basic biology, epidemiology and pathogenesis of emerging diseases with particular attention to food safety, agroecology, biodiversity, genetics and innovation in control, from a One Health perspective.

Module 4: One Health Surveillance and Outbreak Investigation

Will provide detail on surveillance and outbreak investigation using an integrated approach in human, animal, environmental and ecosystem health. It will provide basic statistics and modelling.

Term 2

Module 5: Disease Control in Developing Countries

This module will cover situational analysis, logical framework and problem tree analysis, options for disease interventions, behaviour change communication, monitoring and evaluation, budgeting for projects in resource limited communities.

Module 6: One Health Economics

This module introduces participants to the principles of economics as applied to the One Health context and to the practical use of economic methods. No prior knowledge of economics is required.

Module 7: Ecological Epidemiology

This module will focus on population and epidemiological study of host and vector parasite interactions. It will demonstrate knowledge of key aspects of vector behaviour, vector ecology and vector parasite interactions and apply a range of practical entomological techniques and tools. It will demonstrate an understanding of factors determining the temporal, spatial and social distribution of infectious disease across populations and the ability to state and explain principles of simple mathematical models of communicable diseases and examine potentials for immunisation programmes within the One Health nexus. This includes the estimation of vaccine efficacy and effectiveness and identification of reasons for programme failure. Participants will critically assess practical applications of epidemiological methods in the study of particular infectious diseases and examine applied risk assessment, management and communication.

Module 8: Social Drivers of Disease

This module will provide a basis for disease in the context of the population, poverty and the environment. It does this by considering the impacts of population growth, population policies, inequalities, international migration, development and urbanisation as well as  measuring poverty and livelihoods, impacts of climate change and demographic trends in relation to infectious disease.

A focus on medical anthropology and public health will include demonstration of analytical understanding of a range of concepts, principles and definitions used in medical and social  anthropology. These will be focused on One Health issues. Participants will also evaluate the role of anthropological enquiry in One Health and public health arenas and critically evaluate, from an anthropological perspective, epidemiological, medical, veterinary and public health approaches.

Term 3

Project (MSc only)

The final six months is spent working on an individual project, under the guidance of a supervisor. The project consists of a scientific report. Participants sponsored by their employer often carry out a project related to their work.


Assessment takes place by eight end-of-module examinations, in-course assignments and by project report and an oral examination

Entrance Requirements

Applicants must have (or expect to receive) a first or upper-second class university honours degree. We invite applications from candidates with degrees in medicine, veterinary medicine, biological sciences, animal sciences, social sciences, statistics and economics.

Application forms and further information for the MSc or PG Diploma can be obtained from:

Admissions, The Royal Veterinary College, Royal College Street, London NW1 0UT

Email: admissions@rvc.ac.uk

Website: www.rvc.ac.uk

RVC One Health (Infectious Diseases) webpage


Please note that medical students can intercalate on this course. For further details, please contact the Royal Veterinary College Admissions Team. 

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