This highly popular course will now be delivered online.
Four fee reduction awards are available - details in the 'Funding' section
The Professional Diploma in Tropical Nursing (PDTN) has proven an outstanding success in preparing nurses to work in low-income settings and make significant contributions to world health. For those wishing to work overseas, the PDTN is a first requirement, and as such is recommended by Médecins Sans Frontières, Save the Children, Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) the British Red Cross and other international agencies.
First established in 1996, the course is led by the highly experienced and world-renowned nurse, humanitarian and field worker, Dame Claire Bertschinger, from 1997 and who remains Director of the PDTN today.
The PDTN was the first programme of its kind that was designed with nurses in mind, acknowledging the vital role that they play in medicine and global health, whilst equipping them to work in a range of challenging circumstances with little or no infrastructural support.
The course covers a range of topics such as Public Health, Primary Health Care, Climate Crisis and Health, Medical Anthropology, Sanitation Technology, Mental Health, Maternal and Child Health, Nutrition, Immunology, Parasitology, Conflict and Health, together with wide coverage of neglected, but often common, Tropical Diseases. Lecturers are experts in their fields, with most having had substantial experience working in resource-poor settings. To some degree, the PDTN programme retains some flexibility so as to be able to accommodate current global health concerns.
There is also a highly regarded laboratory element to the course, directed by Principal of Biomedical Sciences, Claire Rogers, Head of Teaching and Diagnostics. During this course students learn to recognise Malaria, TB, Leishmaniasis, Filariasis and other parasitic diseases, from their morphological features. Blood grouping, cross-matching and haemoglobin estimation are also demonstrated.
Who should apply?
The PDTN is available to candidates with a degree who are currently registered as nurses or midwives, or (from September 2020 intake onwards) who are currently working as Paramedics or Allied Health Professionals. It is recommended that they have two years post-registration experience by the start of the course applied for. Any student who does not meet the above minimum entry requirements but who has relevant professional experience may still be eligible for admission.
Students will require regular access to a computer (or mobile device) with an internet connection, speakers and a microphone to access the LSHTM’s online learning site where many of the programme’s study resources are located.
Internet connection and web access are essential. If you can stream videos, your connection and device should be sufficient. The main applications used during the programme are LSHTM’s online learning platform Moodle, Collaborate, Zoom, and videos.
It is recommended that users run the latest version of Chrome.
Alumna inspiration: Josie Gilday
Josie explains how the DTN propelled her dream to work in humanitarian nursing. Since completing the course, Josie has worked in exciting roles for MSF and the British Red Cross. She is currently Global Medical Adviser for Save the Children International.
“It was great to be surrounded by so many people striving for a better future for all... This was the best academic course I have ever done!” - Read Roxana's story
"The DTN has been a wonderful addition to my CV and has aided me in furthering my knowledge and understanding of health care in LMICs, which in turn has helped me get into paid professional volunteering." - Read Melanie's Story
"I believe I have become a better Paramedic as a result of completing the programme, and I highly recommended it to my colleagues." - Read Kevin's Story
"The DTN has been fundamental in my career... it gave me the foundations of knowledge, skills, awareness and context needed for overseas health work" - Read Nicolas' story
Aims & Objectives
The overarching aim of the Professional Diploma in Tropical Nursing programme - consistent with the School’s mission to improve health worldwide – is to prepare nurses, midwives and other medical professionals, to work effectively in tropical and resource-poor situations. Students will develop knowledge and understanding of the causes, prevention and treatment of major tropical diseases as well as the cultural, structural and organisational aspects of working in resource-poor settings.
The programme aims to do this by:
- Providing students with the latest knowledge and skills relevant to nursing in low and middle income countries (LMIC).
- Facilitating high quality learning that is informed by current knowledge and best practice.
- Enabling students to develop analytical skills for both their careers and future learning.
- Developing effective professionals, able to function well alone or in both team situations.
By the end of the course, students should be able to:
- Understand and evaluate key issues affecting primary health care in LMIC
- Aim to be able to maximize care in practice with minimum resources
- Demonstrate the importance of promoting health through prevention rather than cure.
- Analyse, critically evaluate and interpret information from a variety of
The course is Level 7 within the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ)
- Demonstrate capability to plan, implement and evaluate primary care interventions in tropical and resource poor contexts.
- Development of a nuanced understanding of the issues involved in caring for people of differing cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds
- Application and understanding of laboratory methods available at local and district level clinics in resource poor countries, for the diagnosis of infectious diseases and other medical conditions, and for managing patient care based on analysis of the laboratory results
- Develop effective cross cultural communication skills in challenging situations and around sensitive topics such as mother and child health issues.
- Management of major tropical diseases and other complex nursing care for example diarrhoea and vomiting outbreaks in a resource poor setting
- Develop increased resilience and the ability to manage and improvise provision of care in resource poor or complex emergency settings
- Develop skills and approach to lifelong learning and continuing professional development that is grounded in current research.
Learning, teaching and assessment methods
The programme is taught through online lectures and laboratory sessions. Students are expected to learn through both directed and self-directed study.
Assessment is through a laboratory exam, a multiple choice exam and an academic, research-based essay, which offers the opportunity to study a single topic in depth and employ critical thinking and writing skills.
Candidates must pass all three course components.
Successful candidates will be awarded the 'Professional Diploma in Tropical Nursing'.
Mode of Study and Learning Time
The Professional Diploma in Tropical Nursing will be delivered online. Students study for one full day each week, Wednesdays for 19 weeks.
Alumni survey results
100% of students would recommend the Professional Diploma in Tropical Nursing course according to the DTN alumni survey results .
Over 90% of students said that the course exceeded their expectations.
Comments by Course Participants
"I was so inspired by the PDTN that I went on to become a Staff On Loan to the ICRC via the British Red Cross. Twenty years and many missions later, I am now a Chief Nurse at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). I recommend the PDTN to all newly recruited nurses; it was such an important part of my education as a humanitarian nurse. I cannot recommend it highly enough."
Amanda Baumgartner-Henley, Chief Nurse at the International Committee of the Red Cross
"The programme was fantastic and covered a wide variety of subject areas. It equipped me with a wide range of practical skills – some of which I had not even contemplated before! I believe I have become a better Paramedic as a result of completing the programme, and I highly recommended it to my colleagues."
Kevin Corrigan, Paramedic with the London Ambulance Service and overseas volunteer with UKMED
“I chose to study the Diploma in Tropical Nursing because I’m interested in public health and nursing. This course joins up my knowledge of both on nursing and public health problems. The biggest challenge I faced was the Language aspect – especially in essay writing but Claire Bertschinger, the course director gave me the guidance and courage to overcome this. I was offered a job at the nursing school; I feel the Diploma helped me achieve this. My classmates are still contact with each other; they are just like a window open to me. I always gain courage and inspiration from them. In the future I would like do more research in nursing and to come back and study a PhD at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.”
Aimin Liu, China, Lecturer at the Nursing school, Kunming Medical University
“When I previously worked in Uganda, I was shocked by the impact of malaria in pregnancy and high rates of HIV. The Diploma course enabled us to think outside the box, work in difficult conditions and be prepared for emergencies. In Somalia, midwives have to deal with everything from counselling rape victims to administering antivirals. The group I worked with were amazing and I look forward to returning this year”.
Libin Ali Saleebaan, Midwife at Kings College Hospital in London, later went on to teach midwives in a maternity hospital in Somalia
Partial Tuition Fee Waivers
A number of partial tuition fee waivers to the value of £500 each have been made available for the October 2020 intake. Details regarding waivers for future intakes will be published once confirmed.
Four partial fee waivers to the value of £500 are available for applicants with experience of working or volunteering in a low- or middle-income setting.
- The partial fee waivers will be awarded to applicants who have a minimum of twelve weeks experience of working or volunteering in low- or middle-income countries, as defined by the World Bank.
- Applicants must hold an offer of admission for the course.
How to apply:
Applicants should submit an email of no more than 125 words to the short courses team email@example.com. Please state ‘Partial Fee Waiver - Nursing’ in the subject line.
Closing date for applications:
Friday 14 August 2020
Decisions will be confirmed within two weeks of the closing date.
Possible other sources of funding
Some previous Professional Diploma in Tropical Nursing students from the UK have obtained funding through application to organisations outside the School. You might wish to contact the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Midwives, the Burdett Trust for Nursing and the Foundation for Nursing Studies or the Florence Nightingale Foundation.
Dr Maggie Burgess Travel Scholarship
Applicants must have received the Professional Diploma in Tropical Nursing and have done their course work essay on Leprosy.
Applications are now open for the online Professional Diploma in Tropical Nursing starting October 2020.
Please read LSHTM's Admissions policies prior to submitting your application.
The programme is open to candidates with a degree who are currently registered as nurses or midwives. It is recommended that they have two years post-registration experience by the start of the course applied for.
Any prospective student who does not meet the above minimum entry requirements but who has relevant professional experience may still be eligible for admission.
Candidates must be computer literate and have a good standard of written and spoken English and of English comprehension. LSHTM may ask the applicant to provide evidence of a satisfactory standard of English. LSHTM has approved certain English tests.
Places are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible, as the course is heavily oversubscribed.