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Epidemiology by Distance Learning

(Certificate, Diploma and MSc)

Overview

These programmes provide epidemiological training for professionals in academic departments, research units, or in the health services.

Overview - Epidemiology by Distance Learning
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Epidemiology is the key discipline underlying medical research, public health practice and health care evaluation. The understanding of its principles and practice is crucial for those involved in the design or assessment of epidemiological studies and programme evaluation. Epidemiological methods are also used to describe the size and nature of health problems, to investigate the aetiology of specific diseases, and to evaluate the impact of interventions for treating and preventing ill health.

These programmes provide epidemiology training for professionals in academic departments, research modules or in the health services. They are suitable for those aiming for a career in epidemiology research, academics in other health areas and other health professionals. The programmes are also of interest to people who require an understanding of epidemiology, such as medical journalists and scientific officers in government and industry. Find out more about our graduate careers and destinations.

The aims and learning outcomes are detailed in the programme specification.

Free sessions from the programme

  • EPM101 taster session  This 10-minute taster session is taken from EPM101 Fundamentals of Epidemiology, the first core module of this Distance Learning Epidemiology course. It will introduce you to some epidemiological ideas and invite you to answer some of the questions that faced John Snow when he investigated the 1848 London cholera epidemic.
  • EPM307 session on Cancer Epidemiology This 2-3 hour session is part of our Distance Learning Epidemiology module on the Global Epidemiology of Non-Communicable Diseases. The session was jointly developed by the School and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The session covers how data about cancer are collected and used, how secular and geographic variations in cancer burden can be interpreted, the most common risk factors associated with cancer globally, and how cancer can be prevented and controlled. Note that this session includes video clips and may take a few minutes to open.

 

Course You study Study period
Master's 9 modules + a compulsory project report and a qualifying examination paper 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 31 August
Application deadline for individual modules 31 August
Registration deadline for PG Cert, PG Dip and MSc (including module EPM301 and the project) 30 September
Registration deadline for individual modules 31 October
Start of the course October
Examinations (take place the following year after  registration) June
Changes to the course
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Changes to the course

The School will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the School to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.

Epidemiology by Distance Learning

Description

MSc Epidemiology graduate Leonard Valenzuela talks about his experience studying by distance learning with the School.

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Christine Blaser, Canada
Citation
Christine Blaser, Canada
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"Since graduation I've had three successful job interviews during which the excellence of the School was emphasized."

Assessment
Assessment - Epidemiology by Distance Learning
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Method of assessment

Assessment varies from module to module but will include a combination of unseen written examinations and written assignments. Details are given in the module specifications.

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. We have examination centres in over 180 countries worldwide (for details please visit the assessment and examinations section).

Examinations are arranged mainly through Ministries of Education or the British Council. Students taking 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.

Credit 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
Structure
Structure - Epidemiology by Distance Learning
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  • Postgraduate Certificate: 4 compulsory core modules
  • Postgraduate Diploma: 8 modules (4 compulsory modules + 4 elective modules)
  • MSc: 9 modules (4 compulsory modules + 5 elective modules) + compulsory project report and a qualifying examination paper

For the Diploma: Both modules must be chosen from selection group EPM3.

For the MSc: At least two modules must be taken from selection group EPM3. The remaining module can be chosen from other EPM3 modules, or from the selection groups listed below. Plus compulsory Project report [EPM500] and a qualifying examination paper [EPM400] (MSc only).

Our Epidemiology diagrams show suggested schedules for completing the programmes within different time frames.

Module selection

Postgraduate Certificate

The Certificate comprises the 4 core modules which are also common to the Diploma and MSc courses:  

  • EPM101 Fundamentals of epidemiology
  • EPM102 Statistics for Epidemiology
  • EPM103 Practical epidemiology
  • EPM105 Writing and reviewing epidemiological papers

After successfully completing 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, 4 elective modules (in addition to the 4 core modules) must be studied. At least 2 of these must be the two compulsory EPM2 modules listed below:

  • EPM201 Study Design: Writing a Grant Application
  • EPM202 Statistical Methods in Epidemiology

and then two modules from the EPM3 list given below (one of these must be either Epidemiology of Communicable Diseases or Epidemiology of Non-communicable Diseases).

Master's Degree (MSc)

Those registered for the MSc must additionally select another one module from those listed below (EPM3, CTM2, IDM2, IDM3, IDM5 or PHM2). They are also required to complete a project report and sit an additional unseen written examination in their final year of study.

Note that restrictions and pre-requisites may apply to some of the modules below. Not all modules will be available every year.  Those marked 'recommended' have been classified as of high epidemiological content / relevance.

EPM3 (all recommended):

  •  EPM301 Epidemiology of Communicable Diseases
  •  EPM302 Modelling and the Dynamics of Infectious Diseases
  •  EPM304 Advanced Statistical Methods in Epidemiology
  •  EPM306 Human Genetic Epidemiology (only available to those re-registering to complete or resit the module in 2016/17)
  •  EPM307 Global Epidemiology of Non-Communicable Diseases

CTM2:

  • CTM202 Trial Designs (recommended)
  • CTM203 Project Management and Research Co-ordination
  • CTM204 Regulatory affairs, Good Clinical Practice and Ethics
  • CTM208 Further Statistics for Clinical Trials
  • CTM209 Cluster Randomised Trials (recommended)

IDM2:

  • IDM201 Bacterial Infections
  • IDM202 Nutrition & Infection
  • IDM203 Parasitology
  • IDM205 Healthcare-Associated Infection
  • IDM213 Immunology of Infection and Vaccines
  • IDM215 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

IDM3:

  • IDM301 Epidemiology & Control of Infectious Diseases in Developing Countries (recommended)

IDM5:

  • IDM501 HIV/AIDS
  • IDM502 Tuberculosis
  • IDM503 Malaria

PHM2:

  • PHM201 Analytical Models for Decision Making
  • PHM203 Economic Analysis for Management & Policy
  • PHM204 Economic Evaluation
  • PHM205 Environmental Epidemiology (recommended)
  • PHM206 Environmental Health Policy
  • PHM207 Health Care Evaluation
  • PHM209 Globalisation and Health
  • PHM211 Medical Anthropology in Public Health
  • PHM213 Principles & Practice of Health Promotion
  • PHM214 Conflict and Health
  • PHM215 History and Health
  • PHM216 Sexual Health

Project Report

  • EPM500 Project Specification

The compulsory project report (MSc only) will consist of either the analysis of an existing data-set or a critical literature review.

How you study
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Study materials

Most of the key study materials are provided online, via the School’s online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Moodle. The Epidemiology modules are primarily in the form of interactive computer sessions (online or downloadable), while two modules use a Study Guide (provided in hard copy and available online). Workbooks, readers, textbooks and /or additional computer software (e.g. Stata) may be provided, depending on the modules studied. Additional resources include past examination papers and Examiners’ reports, a Student Handbook and access to the School’s online library.

Please take a look below for examples of our interactive learning material.

EPM101 taster session

This 10-minute taster session is taken from EPM101 Fundamentals of Epidemiology, the first core module of this Distance Learning Epidemiology course. It will introduce you to some epidemiological ideas and invite you to answer some of the questions that faced John Snow when he investigated the 1848 London cholera epidemic.

EPM307 session on Cancer Epidemiology

This 2-3 hour session is part of our Distance Learning Epidemiology module on the Global Epidemiology of Non-Communicable Diseases. The session was jointly developed by the School and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The session covers how data about cancer are collected and used, how secular and geographic variations in cancer burden can be interpreted, the most common risk factors associated with cancer globally, and how cancer can be prevented and controlled.

Note that this session includes video clips and may take a few minutes to open.

Flexible study

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.  The project work (MSc only) is carried out in the final year, with submission at the end of September.

Support

Support is available from teaching staff allocated to each module in the following ways:

  • Facilitating discussion between students and answering student queries, using online discussion forums through the School’s online learning site Moodle
  • Providing personalised feedback from teaching staff on assignments
  • Holding real-time webinars in some modules
  • Students undertaking a project are assigned personal supervisors.

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.

Fees & funding
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The fees below refer to the 2019-20 academic year. 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 £13,930
Postgraduate Diploma £11,030
Postgraduate Certificate £8,130
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 £1,280
Fee per core module £1,710
Fee per elective module £720
Fee for final project £2,170
Individual modules (taken on a stand-alone basis with no registration fee)
Fee per core module £2,080
Fee per elective module £2,080

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. MSc students who are carrying out a project may also need to budget for travel expenses or consumables, depending on the type of project undertaken.

Entry requirements
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Academic Requirements

All applicants are required to have:

A first or second class honours degree or equivalent, from a university or other institution acceptable to the University of London, in health-related disciplines or in statistics or another appropriate subject. Work experience in a health sciences or health care setting is desirable but not essential.

Applicants with an appropriate professional or technical qualification in a health-related field, which satisfies the University as a qualification equivalent to a second class honours degree, together with at least three years’ relevant experience, may also be considered on an individual basis.

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

It is essential that you have an adequate command of the English Language to carry out your studies. The following may be considered as acceptable evidence of English language proficiency:

  • substantial education (minimum of eighteen months) conducted and assessed in English, or
  • substantial work experience (minimum of eighteen months) conducted in English.

If you do not meet one of the above requirements then you will be required to have passed one of the following within the past three years:

  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English when a minimum overall score of 185 is achieved, with at least 176 in Writing and 169 in Listening. If taken prior to January 2015 then you must achieve a minimum overall score of grade B.
  • (IELTS) International English Language Testing System when an overall score of at least 7.0 is achieved with a minimum of 6.5 in the Written sub-test and a minimum of 5.5 in Listening, Reading and Speaking.
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) overall score of 68 or above, with a minimum of 62 in Writing and a minimum of 59 in Listening, Reading and Speaking.
  • (TOEFL) iBT Test of English as a Foreign Language overall score of 100 or above with at least 24 in Writing, 23 in Speaking, 22 in Reading and 21 in Listening.

Where an applicant does not meet the required English language level but believes they can demonstrate the required level for admission the University may, at its discretion, consider the application.

Computer Requirements

You must have regular access to a computer (or mobile device*) with an internet connection to access the University of London website, and the Student Portal. Through the Student Portal you can register as a student, enter exams and access the School’s Moodle Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) where your online study materials are located.

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 up to 50 MB

and the following applications installed:

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

Some of the 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
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The School's distance learning programmes 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.

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

Student Advice Centre, University of London, Stewart House, 32 Russell Square, London, 
WC1B 5DN, UK.

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