Pharmacoepidemiology & Pharmacovigilance by Distance Learning

Overview - Pharmacoepideimiology & Pharmacovigilance by Distance Learning

Postgraduate Professional Development Short Course (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 short course 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. This is an introductory course which should meet the needs of a wide variety of practitioners. It is run in collaboration with the University of London International Programmes.

Summary of key dates

Programme starts 1 November
Examinations take place June
Application deadline 15 October
Registration deadline 15 October

Course objectives

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.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Evaluate issues surrounding the risks and benefits of drug use in humans, including the cause and effects of adverse drug effects.
  • Compare statistical, economic and epidemiological concepts and methods.
  • Reflect upon how pharmacoepidemiological methods can be applied to specific drug issues.
  • Analyse and appraise pharmacoepidemiological studies and their results.
  • Understand the cost-effectiveness assessment for new medicines.
  • Use your learning alongside your experience to produce an evaluative project.

The short course will address the following topics:


You will learn about the fundamentals of pharmacoepidemiology, its conduct, practical uses and limitations in determining the effects of medications in large groups of people. The statistical basis underpinning pharmacoepidemiology will also be introduced, and you will integrate statistics and epidemiology to gain competence in critically appraising pharmacoepidemiology studies.


You will be introduced to the key elements of pharmacovigilance and its basis within drug regulation. Within the risk management elements of the course, you will gain insight into how pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacovigilance are combined in the investigation of the effects of medicines. Principles will largely be demonstrated within the European legislative context, whilst recognizing these general principles apply more broadly throughout the world.

Health economics

You will be introduced to the fundamental concepts involved in assessing the cost effectiveness of health technologies and methodologies used to assess the health related quality of life. Real world examples will be used to illustrate concepts.


An integrating project will enable you to demonstrate your global understanding of pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacovigilance.

Comprehensive learning materials

Your materials are provided via a dedicated Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). These include:

  • Fully interactive self-directed sessions on each topic;
  • Audio and video case studies;
  • A compendium of resources, including relevant papers and reports.
  • Access to the University of London and LSHTM online library resources.

Blended Learning

Students may choose to attend a week of lectures at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in November (for 2018 the dates are 5-8 November inclusive), which are part of the face-to-face version of the Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacovigilance course held in London (please see ). Those wishing to do so must apply directly to LSHTM by completing the online application form for the face-to-face programme by 14 September 2018 (an additional fee of £500 will apply).

Tutorial support

Staff involved in the on-campus course at the School will support this course between the beginning of November and the end of May. You’ll also be allocated a personal advisor who will advise on your project. 

Networking opportunities

Though much of the work is by self-directed learning, you are encouraged to take part in module-specific discussions and real-time tutorials available on the VLE.

Your time commitment

The anticipated time required to complete the course is 300 study hours - roughly 100 of which will be dedicated to the project.

Quality Assurance

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is a highly respected world leader in this field. This course is established on-campus and is moderated annually by an exam board and an external examiner.

Programme details
Programme details - Pharmacoepidemiology & Pharmacovigilance - Distance Learning
Award Certificate of Achievement in Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacovigilance (worth 30 credits at FHEQ Level 7).
Duration It is expected that most students will study from the beginning of November to the June exam and complete the course in one year. However, registration lasts two years for those unable to complete within the first year.
Fee £4,730 (payable to University of London International Programmes)
Technical requirements Regular access to an internet-ready device, plus the ability to download and view documents including spreadsheets and PDF files.
Assessment Unseen examination (60%), plus one project (40%). You must be awarded a pass grade for both elements to complete the module.
Programme regulations Download programme regulations (pdf)
Entry requirements
Entry requirements - Pharmacoepidemiology & Pharmacovigilance - Distance Learning

Academic Requirements

You will meet the academic entrance requirement if you hold:

• an undergraduate degree (e.g. bachelor) which is considered at least comparable to a UK second class honours degree, from an institution acceptable to the University, in a subject appropriate to the course (e.g.. biological sciences, chemistry, physics, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy or statistics); and • at least 6 months’ relevant work experience (e.g. working in a pharmaceutical company or drug regulatory authority in a scientific role) Please note we accept qualifications from around the world.

For further guidance please see the LSHTM Qualifications for Entrance (PDF).

If you do not satisfy the above requirements you may still be admitted at our discretion on the basis of your academic qualifications, work experience and references.

Language Requirements

It is essential that you have an adequate command of the English Language to carry out your studies. The following may be considered as acceptable evidence of English language proficiency:

  • substantial education (minimum of eighteen months) conducted and assessed in English, or
  • substantial work experience (minimum of eighteen months) conducted in English.

If you do not meet one of the above requirements then you will be required to have passed one of the following within the past three years:

  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English when a minimum overall score of 185 is achieved, with at least 176 in Writing and 169 in Listening. If taken prior to January 2015 then you must achieve a minimum overall score of grade B.
  • (IELTS) International English Language Testing System when an overall score of at least 7.0 is achieved with a minimum of 6.5 in the Written sub-test and a minimum of 5.5 in Listening, Reading and Speaking.
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) overall score of 68 or above, with a minimum of 62 in Writing and a minimum of 59 in Listening, Reading and Speaking.
  • (TOEFL) iBT Test of English as a Foreign Language overall score of 100 or above with at least 24 in Writing, 23 in Speaking, 22 in Reading and 21 in Listening.

Where an applicant does not meet the required English language level but believes they can demonstrate the required level for admission the University may, at its discretion, consider the application.

Computer Requirements

You must have regular access to a computer (or mobile device*) with an internet connection to use the University of London International Programmes 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 of at least 2-5 MB, and the following applications installed: 
  • Microsoft Word and Excel software • Adobe, or other PDF reader 
  • Parallel software, with Windows installed, if using a non- Windows based PC such as a Mac.

* Certain essential functionality may not be supported on all mobile devices.

Additional requirements

Students will need to use a calculator.

A headset/microphone will be required to participate in ‘real-time’ online discussions.