In a world where global transport links allow rapid movement of people and animals, disease can spread more quickly than ever before – making it harder to control. It’s estimated 70% of new or emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic in origin. So it’s a critical need to unravel the complex interplay between animal and human health, rather than studying either in isolation.
Running for over twenty years, this is a joint programme by LSHTM and the Royal Veterinary College (RVC). It combines LSHTM's strengths in epidemiological principles and communicable disease epidemiology, with the RVC’s expertise in veterinary epidemiology, disease control and surveillance, economics of one health, and spatial analysis.
The course is also supported by policymakers actively engaged in shaping UK animal health policy. Several of these experts are guest lecturers, bringing frontline epidemiology into the classroom.
Our focus on animal and human epidemiology will help you effectively address the intricate connections between animal and human health. By the end of the course, you’ll be equipped to tackle animal and public health challenges on a local, regional, and global scale.
What you will learn
- Understand the role of epidemiology in animal and human populations and the contribution of epidemiology to other disciplines, in a one health approach
- Design and evaluate health surveillance, quantitative and qualitative risk assessments, and disease control programmes within animal populations
- Learn how to design research studies capable of addressing a diverse range of research questions
- Manage and analyse epidemiological data
- Assess results of studies including critical appraisal of question, design, methods and conduct, quantitative analysis and interpretation
You will receive training in methodological skills for carrying out epidemiological studies and analysing data, while learning skills in surveillance and disease control in animal and human populations. Our optional modules then give you the chance to study spatial analysis or economics of one health.
Students always tell us one of the highlights of this course is the inter-disciplinary nature of teaching at both institutions, with most modules attended by students from several different programmes. This encourages you to approach problems from different angles, which leads to better decision-making and solutions.
RVC is home to the Veterinary Epidemiology, Economics and Public Health Group (VEEPH). Researchers within this group are involved in projects across Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, working with organisations such as Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).
As part of the programme, you’ll also complete a three-month research project, applying what you have learnt. Many of these student projects originate from the cutting-edge epidemiological research conducted by the VEEPH group. Previous projects include spatial modelling of Lassa Fever spillover risk in West Africa, a survey of respiratory health and management of Australian horses and economic consequences of Johne’s disease infections in UK dairy cattle.
Who is it for?
A shortage of trained veterinary epidemiologists means there are excellent career opportunities for graduates. You do not need a veterinary background to join us. If you see yourself as a problem-solver and critical thinker, you’ll be a good match for this course. We also welcome intercalating students who want to expand their expertise in this area.
One of the great things about this degree is that you will have flexibility when it comes to your future as the dual animal-human health focus of this programme means you will be equipped to enter either sphere.
Some of our students choose to continue their studies, completing PhDs and moving on to post-doc work. We also have many alumni working for national and international health organisations, designing and implementing disease control and surveillance measures, and shaping health policy at local and global levels.
Graduates from this programme hold positions in a variety of organisations including: Ministries of Agriculture & Food; Veterinary Investigation Laboratories; Animal Disease Research Institutes; Animal Health Trusts; Veterinary Faculties in Universities and International Organisations concerned with global health (DFID, FAO, WHO, OIE, etc). Find out more about our graduate careers and destinations.
One year full-time or split-study over two years. Ways to study explained.
Find out about intercalating this programme.
How to apply
Applications for this course are processed by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), not by LSHTM. Further details, programme information, and how to apply.
Watch Programme Directors and former students talk about the course.
"The interdisciplinary nature of the program means that I am in classes alongside students in other degrees with many different educational and professional backgrounds."
The below structure outlines the proposed modules for this programme. Module specifications provide full details about the aims and objectives of each module, what you will study and how the module is assessed.
- Structure of the year
Term 1 (September - December) consists of ten teaching weeks plus one Reading Week* in the middle of the term. Followed by the Winter break.
Term 2 (January - March) consists of a further ten weeks of teaching plus a Reading Week in the middle of the term. Followed by the Spring break.
Term 3 (April - September) consists of five weeks of teaching for the final module, and the project report.
*Reading Week is a week during term where no formal teaching takes place. It is a time for private study, preparing for assessments or attending study/computer skills workshops. There are two Reading Weeks at LSHTM: one in November and the other in February.
- Term 1
There is a one-week orientation period that includes an introduction to studying at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the Royal Veterinary College, followed by four compulsory modules:
- Extended Epidemiology (LSHTM)
- Statistics for Epidemiology and Population Health (LSHTM)
- Principles of Epidemiology and Surveillance (RVC)
- Research Skills and Epidemiological Aspects of Laboratory Investigation (RVC)
- Term 2
Students take the following three compulsory modules:
- Statistical Methods in Epidemiology (LSHTM)
- Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases (LSHTM)
- Modelling and the Dynamics of Infectious Diseases (LSHTM)
Students also choose one elective module from the following options:
- Economics of One Health (RVC)
- Spatial Analysis in Epidemiology (RVC)
- Term 3
Students take the following compulsory module:
- Applied Veterinary Epidemiology (RVC)
- Project report (MSc only)
During the summer months (July - August), students complete a research project on a topic in veterinary epidemiology, for submission by early September.
Please note: Should it be the case that you are unable to travel overseas or access laboratories in order to complete your project, you will be able to complete an alternative desk-based project allowing you to obtain your qualification within the original time frame. Alternatively, you will be able to defer your project to the following year.
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.
Applicants should have a first- or second-class university honours degree or equivalent. Individuals with degrees in biological sciences, veterinary or human medicine, mathematics or statistics, OR who have relevant postgraduate experience, are all encouraged to apply. Applicants are expected to have a high level of numeracy skills (e.g. A level Mathematics or Statistics or a module with a good mark in their university degree).
Applicants from overseas will be required to provide evidence of proficiency in spoken and written English, including scientific usage and comprehension.
You will need the equivalent of a bachelor's degree to undertake an MSc. This will usually require you to have a BSc degree or have completed the first three years of your medical degree. More information on intercalating an MSc at LSHTM.
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Early application fee reduction for UK MSc Students 2024-25
Apply early and lock-in lower fees. If you are a student from the UK (and have a home fee status), you will be eligible to receive a 5% reduction in your tuition fee if you submit your application by Friday 5 April 2024 and subsequently register onto one of our in-person MSc programmes (some exclusions apply, see detailed terms and conditions).
You must be applying for full-time study on a programme starting in September 2024; be funding your fees yourself; and be a new applicant.
If you meet the above criteria and submit your application by the deadline, you will automatically receive the tuition fee discount.