Clinical Trials by Distance Learning

(Certificate, Diploma and MSc)

Overview - Clinical Trials by Distance Learning

This programme provides students with a theoretical and practical understanding of the issues involved in the design, conduct, analysis and interpretation of randomised controlled trials of health interventions. It is suitable for students working in low-, middle- and high-income countries.

The need for rigorous evaluation of components of health care is increasingly recognised worldwide. An important type of evaluation is the randomised controlled clinical trial. The course will give students an understanding of trials which will equip them to work in this increasingly important field.

The programme is suitable both for those wishing to gain an overall understanding of trials before moving into the field, and those who have general or specialist experience in clinical trials and aim to broaden their role in the design, management, analysis and reporting of clinical trials in low-, middle- and high-income countries.

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

Course You study Study period
Master's 11 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.

We also offer an Essentials of Clinical Trials short course.

Clinical Trials by Distance Learning


Li Zhao talks about his experience of studying the MSc Clinical Trials by Distance Learning, and how the programme has enhanced his career as a pharmaceutical scientist.

Rhiannon Owen
Rhiannon Owen, UK

"LSHTM manages to cultivate a really rewarding sense of achievement through distance learning. You feel engaged with the course, and the modules are really challenging and interesting."

Structure - Clinical Trials by Distance Learning

The below structure outlines the proposed modules for this programme. Programme and module specifications provide full details about the aims and objectives of each module, what you will study, what materials are provided and how the module is assessed.

Programme structure
  • Postgraduate Certificate: 4 compulsory core modules 
  • Postgraduate Diploma: 8 modules (4 compulsory core + 4 elective modules*
  • Master’s: 11 modules (4 compulsory core + 5 elective* + 2 compulsory modules

*For the PG Diploma and MSc elective modules, at least three modules must be taken from selection group CTM2 or two elective CTM2 modules selected from a list of options and EPM101 Fundamentals of Epidemiology. The remaining module(s) can be chosen from CTM2 or the other selection groups. 

†MSc students must take CTM201 Protocol Development and complete the CTM210 Integrating Module, comprising a written report, usually in their final year of study. 

It is possible to register for the PG Certificate in the first instance then, on successful completion of the compulsory core modules, transfer your registration to the PG Diploma or MSc.

The majority of modules listed below are also available to study as individual modules.

Compulsory core modules (PG Certificate, PG Diploma and MSc)
  • CTM101 Fundamentals of Clinical Trials
  • CTM102 Basic Statistics for Clinical Trials
  • CTM103 Clinical Trials in Practice
  • CTM104 Reporting and Reviewing Clinical Trials
Elective modules (PG Diploma and MSc)

Clinical Trials elective modules (CTM2):

  • CTM201 Protocol Development (compulsory for the MSc, elective for the PG Diploma)
  • CTM202 Trial Designs
  • CTM203 Project Management and Research Co-ordination
  • CTM204 Regulatory affairs, Good Clinical Practice and Ethics
  • CTM205 Data Management
  • CTM206 Data Monitoring and Interim Analyses
  • CTM208 Further Statistical Methods in Clinical Trials
  • CTM209 Cluster Randomised Trials
  • CTM210 Integrating Module (compulsory for the MSc)

Recommended modules selection group:

  • EPM101 Fundamentals of Epidemiology
  • EPM301 Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases
  • EPM302 Modelling and the Dynamics of Infectious Diseases
  • EPM304 Advanced Statistical Methods in Epidemiology
  • EPM307 Global Epidemiology of Non-Communicable Diseases
  • GHM201 Health Systems
  • IDM201 Bacterial Infections
  • IDM202 Nutrition and Infection
  • IDM203 Parasitology
  • IDM204 Viral Infections
  • IDM205 Healthcare-Associated Infection
  • IDM213 Immunology of Infection and Vaccines
  • IDM215 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
  • IDM301 Epidemiology and Control of Infectious Diseases
  • IDM501 HIV
  • IDM502 Tuberculosis
  • IDM503 Malaria
  • PHM201 Health Decision Science
  • PHM203 Economic Analysis for Health Policy
  • PHM204 Economic Evaluation
  • PHM205 Environmental Epidemiology
  • PHM206 Environmental Health Policy
  • PHM207 Health Care Evaluation
  • PHM209 Globalisation and Health
  • PHM210 Managing Health Services
  • PHM211 Medical Anthropology in Public Health
  • PHM212 Organisational Management
  • PHM213 Principles & Practice of Health Promotion
  • PHM214 Conflict and Health
  • PHM215 History and Health
  • PHM216 Sexual Health
  • PHM218 Applied Communicable Disease Control
  • PHM219 Evaluation of Public Health Interventions

Students wishing to study a module not on the above recommended list should contact the programme team for advice. Approval may be given at the discretion of the Programme Directors.

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

Methods of assessment

Assessment varies from module to module but includes written assignments, groupwork and written examinations. Some modules involve only one type of assessment. Other modules use a combination of assessments. Details are given in the module specifications.

Where modules involve written examinations, these will take place in June.

Credit awarded

Credits will be awarded for all modules (15 credits each) and the integrating module (MSc only, 30 credits) if 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
Blended learning: taking modules in London

After successful completion of a minimum number of core modules, PG 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 LSHTM 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 LSHTM, are subject to change - full details will be sent to all distance learning students in July each year.

Changes to the course

Changes to the programme

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

How you study
How you study - Clinical Trials by Distance Learning

Study materials

Learning is via directed self-study against a detailed set of learning objectives for each module. All CTM modules are delivered solely online, with access to a range of study resources, discussion forums and online webinar discussion sessions via LSHTM’s virtual learning environment, Moodle.

Details of the study materials for each module can be found in the module specifications. Materials and resources may include:

  • Computer Assisted Learning materials provided electronically through Moodle for self-directed study
  • E-books and other recommended readings
  • Real-time and recorded online sessions with module tutors on specific topics
  • Self-assessed assignments (Formative Assignments and past examination questions) plus specimen answers
  • Examiners’ reports for two years which include Assessed Assignment and examination questions and specimen answers

Students are strongly encouraged to participate in module-specific discussions on Moodle, and to make use of LSHTM’s online library resources.

Module tutors provide feedback for all students via the online discussion forums and offer individual feedback on submitted assignments. Tutorial support is available from the beginning of October through to the end of May.

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. 

Once registered, you will be sent the learning materials for the module(s) you have chosen to study. Clinical Trials module materials are mostly delivered online. These materials will take you through a programme of directed self-study, and indicate how and where you can obtain supplementary study materials and access tutorial support to enhance your studies.

The study year runs from the beginning of October through to the June exams, during which time tutorial support is available. Those writing the Clinical Trials integrating report will also continue to have tutorial support over the summer. Deadlines for submission of coursework vary per course but are usually in March, May, August and September.

Fees & funding
Fees and funding - Clinical Trials by Distance Learning


The fees below refer to the 2023/24 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 programme registration fee and all module fees for the duration of the programme

Item Fee
Master's £16,800
Postgraduate Diploma £13,300
Postgraduate Certificate £9,820
Application fee (non-refundable) for PG Cert, PG Dip and MSc £107

Or: pay the initial programme 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.

Item Fee
Initial registration fee £1,540
Fee per core module £2,050
Fee per advanced/ elective module £850
Fee for integrating module £1,730
Application fee (non-refundable) for PG Cert, PG Dip and MSc £107

Individual modules (taken on a stand-alone basis with no registration fee)

Item Fee
Fee per core module £2,500
Fee per advanced/elective module £2,500
Application fee none

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
Entry requirements - Clinical Trials by distance learning

Academic requirements

All applicants are required to have:

  • either a first or second class honours degree, or the equivalent, from a university or other institution acceptable to the University of London, in a subject appropriate to the course; or
  • an appropriate professional or technical qualification, together with at least three years’ relevant experience, which satisfies the University as a qualification equivalent to a second class honours degree. All applications in this category will be considered on an individual basis

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

English language requirements - distance learning

English language requirements

You need a high standard of English to study this programme. You will meet our language requirements if you have achieved one of the following within the past three years:

  • IELTS7.0 overall, with 6.5 in the written test and 5.5 in listening, reading and speaking.
  • TOEFL iBT100 overall, with 24+ in writing, 23+ in speaking, 22+ in reading and 21+ in listening.
  • Pearson Test (Academic)68 overall, with 62+ in writing and 59+ in listening, reading and speaking.
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English185 overall, with 176+ in writing and 169+ in listening.
  • Duolingo: must achieve an overall score of at least 130.

Alternatively, you may satisfy the language requirements if you have at least 18 months of education or work experience conducted in English.

If you do not meet these requirements but believe you can meet the standard, the University of London may also consider your application.

Computer requirements - Clinical Trials by distance learning

Computer requirements

You must have regular access to a computer (or mobile device*) with an internet connection to use the University of London 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/files of at least 50 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
How to apply - Clinical Trials by Distance Learning

Our distance learning programmes are run in collaboration with the University of London, a federation of 18 independent member institutions and universities, of which the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is one.

Please choose which qualification you would like to apply for. The link will take you directly to the University of London application portal.

Application process/deadlines - DL programmes
Application process

1. Submit your application to University of London. Please read the Guidance Notes for Applications (pdf) before you complete your application.

2. Submit your documentary evidence. This can be done online when submitting your application or at a later stage. You will be required to submit personal identification, educational certificates, transcripts, English language proficiency evidence, references and CV (see Guidance Notes for Applications (pdf) for further details).

3. University of London will notify you of whether or not you have been accepted. This usually happens within five working days. You will be sent a student reference number by email in case you need to contact University of London about your application.

4. If you are made an offer, you will receive an email with instructions for completing your online registration (usually from May/June). You will have until the registration deadline to accept your offer and pay your initial fees.

5. Begin your studies. You will be given access to LSHTM's online learning site (Moodle) at the beginning of October. If you have registered for a module which provides hard copy study materials, these will be sent to your correspondence address. Clinical Trials modules are delivered solely online via Moodle.

Important: you are welcome to submit your application even if you are yet to sit an exam or you are awaiting results. University of London can begin to process your application without all the evidence, although a final decision will be made once all the necessary documentation has been received. If you are unsure as to whether or not you meet our entry requirements, University of London might be able to advise you on this before you submit your online application.

Application deadlines
MSc, PG Dip, PG Cert and individual modules Deadline
Epidemiology, Global Health Policy, Health in Humanitarian Crises, Infectious Diseases, Public Health 22 September
Clinical Trials 31 October
Registration deadlines
MSc, PG Dip and PG Cert and individual modules Deadline
Epidemiology, Global Health Policy, Health in Humanitarian Crises, Infectious Diseases, Public Health 20 October
Clinical Trials 30 November
Who to contact

If you have any questions before submitting your application, you can contact:

Academic queries (LSHTM)

Email for queries about programme content, modules or assessments.

Email for general enquiries.

Admissions queries (University of London)

Send a message to University of London for queries about how to apply, documentary evidence or entry requirements, or call +44 (0)20 7862 8360