Professional Certificate in Pharmacoepidemiology & Pharmacovigilance

(30 credits)

Overview - Pharmacoepidemiology & Pharmacovigilance

Also available via distance learning

Professional Certificate (30 credits)

The global health challenge of maximising drug safety yet maintaining public confidence has become increasingly complex. Pharmaceutical companies are required to employ named members of staff responsible for pharmacovigilance. Health authorities grapple with the need to provide quality care whilst containing a burgeoning drug budget. Regulatory authorities must balance the potential benefits of new drugs with varying levels of suspicion of their potential harm. 

This 30-week examined training in pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacovigilance addresses the increasing need for well informed professionals to work in all areas related to the assessment of drug safety and risk-benefit of drug use. 

It is an introductory course and should meet the needs of a wide variety of practitioners. The variety of backgrounds and the knowledge possessed by lecturers ensures that the course has a sound mixture of the theoretical and the practical issues surrounding drug safety.


The course is part-time and comprises 300 hours (approximately one day per week on average) which are spent as follows: 80 hours formal teaching and contact time, 120 hours self-directed study and 100 hours project work.

For those wanting to complete the course but who are unable to attend in person, there is a distance learning version of this course available. This includes the option of following a blended learning approach, where students sign up for the distance learning course but are able to attend Block 1 of the London-based course (Nov 5th – 8th). Click here for more information on distance and blended learning options


This course may be included as part of a Professional Development Plan.

Who should apply for this course?

The course is aimed at personnel concerned with the safe use of medicines, particularly in developed countries, including those working (or intending to work) in:

  • the pharmaceutical industry who are involved in drug development, licensing, and surveillance
  • regulatory bodies who are involved in licensing and surveillance
  • the health service who are involved in drug policy, and
  • health policy decision-making agencies
Course objectives
Course objectives - Pharmacoepidemiology & Pharmacovigilance

Aims & Objectives

The aim of this well established training programme is to equip students with a basic understanding of the concepts and practice of pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacovigilance. By the end of the programme, students should be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of, and critically evaluate, issues surrounding the risks and benefits of drug use in humans including the cause, manifestations and consequences of adverse drug effects (ADEs), the manner of which these are detected and monitored, and the related historic and legal frameworks
  • be familiar with and compare fundamental statistical, economic and epidemiological concepts and methods
  • gain an understanding of, and reflect upon, important pharmacoepidemiological concepts and methods and how these methods can be applied to specific drug issues and pharmaceutical risk management
  • assess and critically analyse the results of pharmacoepidemiological studies (other investigators'), including critical appraisal of the study question, study design, methods and conduct, statistical analyses and interpretation

View programme specification

Course Content

The curriculum will provide an introduction to epidemiology, statistics, pharmacoepidemiology and health economics. It will also cover the historical and legal background to pharmacovigilance and pharmacoepidemiology, and pharmacological basis of ADEs, addressing ADE issues at individual and population levels, and the application of pharmacoepidemiological principles and methods to practical drug issues.

Teaching Methods

Teaching will include traditional lectures and seminar/workshops during formal teaching, self-directed learning in between formal teaching and self-directed (but supervised) project work. Workshops will address topics such as designing a pharmacoepidemiological study, critical appraisal of published papers, developing risk management plans and responding to a drug safety alert. The self-directed component will be facilitated by the provision of detailed course material. Students will be provided with a reading list pertinent to the training.

The variety of backgrounds and the knowledge possessed by lecturers ensures that the course has a sound mixture of the theoretical and the practical issues surrounding drug safety. The teachers range from academic staff at the School, with expertise in areas such as pharmacology, epidemiology and statistics, to senior practitioners in the international pharmaceutical industry, regulatory authorities, and public health who have practical expertise in pharmacovigilance and pharmacoepidemiology.

Methods of assessment

The course is examined through unseen written examinations and submission of a written project, the subject of which is determined by the course organiser. All materials for the project will be provided, and each student will be supported by an academic adviser. Additionally two lectures on the chosen topic will be included in the syllabus.

Testimonials - Pharmacoepidemiology & Pharmacovigilance

The Course

"Very informative with good workshops and high quality teaching"

"Lecturers with extensive practical experience, will definitely recommend the course"

"Really enjoyed the workshops with examples to work through - made it easier to learn"

"Lecturers and workshops are of very high quality"

"Overall atmosphere - a fun way to learn, with stimulating interactive sessions"

"Some tough subjects dealt with in a very entertaining way which made them easier to understand"

"Teaching quality - leaders in the industry!"

"Thank you, I enjoyed it very much and learned a lot"

"All lecturers are very enthusiastic, interesting and knowledgeable. Makes the content fun and enjoyable.

Specific Lectures

"Thoroughly enjoyed this talk and could have listened to more. Especially liked the RMP proposals" (The EMEA and the EU risk management guideline)

"Particularly enjoyed these lectures. I didn't think it was possible to put something so difficult in such simple terms. Content, pitch, speed and delivery were wonderful." ( Multivariable analysis and propensity scores)

"Just like the Clinical Trials lecture, this was brilliant. Both these lecture have given me something that I'll have to practice during my work to try to become proficient" (Meta analysis of Randomized Trials)

"First time I've got to grips with concept of meta analysis." (Critical appraisal of meta analysis

"The workshop was brilliant! Great way to demonstrate the applications and explain the difficulties in this field of work" (Structured examination of a response to an ADR alert)

"Excellent lecturer - topic not the easiest, but lecture kept lively with good examples. Good summary of the key message at the end" (Case only design and analysis)

Careers - Professional Certificate in Pharmacoepidemiology

Graduates from this programme enter a diverse range of positions.

Below you will find just a few of the positions and organisations that our graduates from this course have entered:

Example job titles:

Attending Pharmacist
Clinical Trials Project Manager
Manager (Drug Safety and Public Health)
Risk Management Manager
Scientific Assessor
Therapeutic Group Co-Ordinator
Associate Manager in Drug Safety
Consultant Physician
Medical Assessor

Example organisations:

Canadian Forces
Department of Health
Gilead Sciences, Inc.
GSK (GlaxoSmithKline)
Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory
University of Oxford
Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)


Graduate Careers & Destinations

Want to read more about our graduate careers and destinations? Take a look at our infographics on our Graduate Careers & Destinations page.

How to apply
How to apply - Pharmacoepidemiology & Pharmacovigilance

Applying for the course

We are no longer accepting applications for 2018.


The student is responsible for obtaining any visa or other permissions to attend the course, and is encouraged to start the application process as early as possible as obtaining a visa for the UK can sometimes take a long time. The Short Courses team, in the Registry, can provide supporting documentation if requested.

Accommodation and meals

A list of hotels and other accommodation located in the vicinity of the School can be supplied on request to the Registry. Lunch can be purchased from the School's Refectory in the Keppel Street building or the cafe on the Tavistock Place building. Evening meals are not catered for at the School, but there is a large choice of restaurants, cafes and shops nearby.

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is committed to improving global health through its programme of short and full-time postgraduate study.

Please note:

  • If you have been offered a place on the course you will not be able to register without bringing formal ID (Passport) and without having obtained the correct visa.
  • It is essential that you read the current visa requirements for short course students.
  • The School may cancel courses two weeks before the first day of the course if numbers prove insufficient.  In those circumstances, course fees will be refunded.
  • The School cannot accept responsibility for accommodation, travel and other losses incurred as a result of the course being cancelled.