Infectious Diseases by Distance Learning

(Certificate, Diploma and MSc)

Overview - Infectious Diseases by Distance Learning

Infectious diseases are a global threat. There are new emergent and re-emergent pathogens identified every year. With epidemics and outbreaks like Ebola and Dengue virus often making headlines, and COVID demonstrating an unprecedented speed of worldwide spread, it’s never been more important to stay ahead of the curve to save lives.

Study Infectious Diseases to gain a better understanding of pathogenic infections in global contexts. Taught by active researchers in a flexible online format, you’ll learn about and apply cutting-edge strategies for the control and treatment of a broad range of infections.

Your chosen selection of thought-provoking modules will equip you with the tools to implement the latest evidence into your day-to-day practice, ready to become a future leader in the field.

What you will learn

  • Discover how the basic principles of biology, biostatistics, epidemiology and public health apply to the control of infectious diseases
  • Build your specialism within the general area of infectious diseases, and look at infectious diseases in various contexts such as healthcare settings, nutrition and water and sanitation
  • Develop your knowledge of research methods and increase your critical and evaluation skills to apply independent scientific judgement
  • Study the current issues that dictate the direction of research in infectious diseases
  • Find out how to apply your knowledge to design control programmes and solve complex problems

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

Being a flexible online degree means you can study whenever and wherever it suits you. Your study materials are provided to you online via our virtual learning environment so you can learn at your convenience and balance your studies with existing work or personal commitments. Once you have completed the compulsory core modules, you can apply to come to London to study for part of your degree, as part of a blended learning approach.

Our academics have a reputation for being specialists in their subject area, with many working on ground-breaking research which they use to inform your modules. And you’ll be encouraged to follow your interests when choosing from a range of elective modules and completing your research project.

Who is it for?

Medics, nurses, pharmacists, research scientists, medical journalists – this course is perfect for anyone with a scientific or medical degree who’s keen to grow expertise in this rapidly evolving field. Or perhaps you don’t have a relevant degree but have relevant technical, lab or clinical experience, and you’re looking to develop new knowledge in infectious diseases.

Our students have varied career ambitions. Some are promoted within their field, while others want to launch their career in a different direction, such as infectious disease control. You’ll also be able to progress to a higher research degree in science, public health or medicine if you complete the full MSc. Whatever you want to do next, you’ll graduate with a range of skills and strategies that could apply to a wide variety of roles anywhere in the world. 

Programme specification

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

CourseYou studyStudy period
Master's9 modules + a project report or 12 modules2-5 years
Postgraduate Diploma8 modules2-5 years
Postgraduate Certificate4 modules1-5 years
Individual modulesStudying individual modules is an ideal option if you wish to update your professional knowledge or sample the programme.

Infectious Diseases by Distance Learning


Watch Programme Directors Vanessa Yardley, Anita Skinner and Patricia Gorak-Stolinska talk about the programme.

Maria Victoria Dreher
Maria Victoria Dreher, Canada, Brazil

"I chose LSHTM because of its prestigious reputation, ground-breaking research and professors. LSHTM was always my dream school, and I am so proud to be part of it."

Structure - Infectious Diseases 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 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: 9 modules (4 compulsory core + 5 elective modules) plus a project report OR 12 modules (4 compulsory core + 8 elective modules)

*For the PG Diploma elective modules, at least three modules must be taken from IDM selection groups. The remaining module can be chosen from the IDM or PHM selection groups.

†For the MSc elective modules, if choosing the project option at least three modules must be taken from the IDM selection groups. If not choosing the project option, at least six modules must be taken from the IDM selection groups. The remaining modules can be chosen from the IDM or PHM selection groups.

It is possible to register for the PG Certificate in the first instance then, on successful completion of the compulsory core modules, extend 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)
  • IDM101 Principles of Biostatistics and Epidemiology
  • IDM102 Principles of Biology
  • IDM103 Biology of Infectious Diseases
  • IDM104 Control of Infectious Diseases
Elective modules (PG Diploma and MSc)

Infectious Diseases elective modules (IDM):

  •  IDM201 Bacterial Infections
  •  IDM202 Nutrition & Infection
  •  IDM203 Parasitology
  •  IDM204 Viral Infections
  •  IDM205 Healthcare-Associated Infection
  •  IDM213 Immunology of Infection and Vaccines
  •  IDM215 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
  •  IDM301 Epidemiology & Control of Infectious Diseases
  •  IDM501 HIV
  •  IDM502 Tuberculosis
  •  IDM503 Malaria
  •  IDM600 Project Report (MSc only)
  •  IDM601 Research Design, Management & Analysis

Public Health elective modules (PHM2):

  • PHM207 Health Care Evaluation
  • PHM211 Medical Anthropology in Public Health
  • PHM213 Principles & Practice of Health Promotion
  • PHM218 Applied Communicable Disease Control

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

Project report (MSc only)

All MSc students have the option to apply to undertake a project report (IDM600), which is equivalent to three module credits.

Methods 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.

Credit awarded

Credits will be awarded for all modules (15 credits each) and the project (MSc only, 45 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, 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 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 - Infectious Diseases by Distance Learning

Study materials

Learning is via directed, self-study against a detailed set of learning objectives for each module. A study guide (typically digital) is provided for each IDM module, together with access to a range of study resources and discussion forums via LSHTM’s virtual learning environment, Moodle. 

As this is an asynchronous distance learning programme, the programme does not offer regular live online sessions with academics

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

  • Study Guide
  • E-books and other recommended readings
  • “Key Concept” videos
  • Online recorded webinars
  • Revision sessions with module tutors on specific topics
  • Past examination papers and examiners’ reports

Module tutors provide feedback for all students via the online discussion forums and offer individual feedback on submitted assignments. Tutor support is available for all modules 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. 

The study year for most modules runs from the beginning of October through to the June exams. 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.

Fees & funding
Fees and funding - Infectious Diseases by Distance Learning

The fees below refer to the 2024/25 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

Postgraduate Diploma£13,960
Postgraduate Certificate£10,310
Application feenone

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.

Initial registration fee£1,610
Fee per core module£2,150
Fee per advanced/ elective module£890
Fee for final project£2,740
Application feenone

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

Fee per core module£2,620
Fee per advanced/ elective module£2,620
Application feenone


Early payment fee reduction

An early payment fee reduction of 5% (up to £880 for a full MSc) is available on any of our distance learning programmes if paid in full before 31 May for the academic year 2024/25.

You will be considered for the fee reduction if you receive an offer for the following programmes: Master’s, PG Diploma, PG Certificate or individual module in Clinical Trials, Epidemiology, Infectious Diseases, Public Health, Global Health Policy and Health in Humanitarian Crises. Please see the Eligibility and Terms & Conditions (this link will direct you to the University of London website)

First Generation Scholarships

LSHTM is offering two scholarships to support students in the completion of an MSc degree by distance learning. These initiatives are designed to enable excellent students from groups who have been historically underrepresented in Higher Education at the postgraduate level to study, feel a sense of belonging and succeed at LSHTM. Find out more and apply by 6 April 2024.

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
Entry requirements - Infectious Diseases by distance learning

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 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 - Infectious Diseases 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 should be 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 - Infectious Diseases 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.

Key dates
MSc, PG Dip, PG Cert and individual modulesDeadline
Application deadline20 September 2024
Registration deadline (new students)4 October 2024
Programme starts1 October 2024
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.

Contact the Study team 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