The RVC retains top spot in QS World University Subject Rankings 2022:  RVC Press Release (April 2022)   

We understand the difficulties many people face with full-time study and have joined forces with the University of London to offer studies by distance learning.

The offering includes an MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate and Individual Modules in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health

Photo by Arka Roy

Developed by academic experts at the Royal Veterinary College - such as Prof Dirk Pfeiffer, Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology - these programmes aim to provide animal health specialists, scientists and public health specialists with an understanding of the conceptual basis of veterinary epidemiology and public health.  Optional modules make these studies suitable for people from a range of professional backgrounds.

Our Veterinary Epidemiology graduates find that the international recognition and prestige of their degree opens doors and creates opportunities in their careers. 

Programme aims

  • An understanding of the role of veterinary epidemiology and economics in the design and delivery of effective livestock services.

  • Knowledge of risk analysis approaches in food safety and how human health can be protected through control of zoonotic diseases.

  • Skills in basic and advanced statistical methods in order to undertake epidemiological investigations and disease modelling. 

Providing distance learning courses as part of the University of London is a challenging, but very rewarding role. We have students from all over the world and our team works hard to ensure that we offer programmes that are of an academically high standard and relevant to the contemporary needs of livestock farming and veterinary medicine. It’s a wonderfully rewarding experience to see our students successfully completing their courses and graduating. To find out more, please view our Prospectus 2022.

Flexible study options  

  • Students are working professionals and the pace of study is flexible.
  • Dependent upon the modules taken, study material may be offered online via our Virtual Learning Environment only.  Access is provided to a Study Guide, Reader, Textbooks, Programme Handbook, Student Guide and Student Discussion Board.  Academic Tutorials (approximately 2 per year), are offered.  (Please note that academic queries will only be answered during tutorials.)
  • Although non-compulsory, Indicative Study Calendars provide an indication of the time to spend on each section.
  • Examinations are scheduled in October, however, flexibility allows exams to be deferred, if necessary. 
  • A five-year period is offered to complete the MSc degree, Postgraduate Diploma, or Postgraduate Certificate, with an average completion time of three years.  


Click on the image below to enlarge

Postgraduate Certificate Two compulsory core modules
Postgraduate Diploma Four modules (two compulsory core, plus two other modules, chosen from the remaining core module and optional modules of the MSc (Note: excluding the Research Project)
MSc degree Seven modules (three compulsory core and four optional)

240-hour individual module (credit bearing)  

Modules of the degree programme can also be studied as standalone modules for Continuing Professional Development. This allows the opportunity to sample a discrete learning unit before committing to the degree programme.  (See the Individual Module page for further information) 

On successful completion of the module assessment, you may request to progress to the MSc degree, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate using the module as a credit. Please note that there is a maximum number of modules which may be used for progression purposes.  

50 and 35-hour individual modules (non-credit bearing)  

These modules enable you to sample one element of the 240-hour individual modules. No application or registration deadline.

Key dates 

Application deadline 15 December
Registration deadline 15 January
Studies commence February
Examinations October

How to apply and register  

You may apply using the on-line application form: MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate and Individual Modules (240-hour - 50-hour - 35-hour) in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health.

Final Award

Graduates will receive two documents: a diploma 'parchment' and a diploma supplement.  The diploma will show the award of a University of London Degree, with the Royal Veterinary College as the Lead College involved. The diploma supplement will describe the nature, level and content of the studies. The MSc, Postgraduate Diploma and Postgraduate Certificate are placed at Level 7 of the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications.

Graduates are invited to attend the Graduation Ceremonies of both the University of London and the Royal Veterinary College.

Ask a question

Please contact the Course Administrator.

MSc degree

EITHER a second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a scientific subject, veterinary science, animal science, agriculture, biological sciences or medicine;

OR a second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a scientific discipline which has, in the opinion of the University, included suitable training.  

Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate and 240-hour individual modules

A degree or a technical or professional qualification and work experience considered appropriate and relevant by the University.  

50-hour and 35-hour individual modules

There are no entrance or English language requirements (non-credit bearing individual modules)  

Photo by Jonathan Mast

English language requirement  

With the exception of students taking 35-hour or 50-hour individual modules, all applicants must provide evidence of their English language ability.

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide documentary evidence acceptable to the University that the applicant has, no more than three years prior to the application, either been educated in English (minimum 18 months).  

OR worked in English (minimum 18 months);  

OR passed a test of English Proficiency acceptable to the University of London within the past three years – for example IELTS (Academic) with an overall score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each sub-test.

OR TOEFL iBT (internet-based Test) with an overall score of 92 or above, with at least 22 in both Reading and Writing Skills sub-tests and at least 20 in both Speaking and Listening sub-tests.

The University reserves the right to require an applicant to pass, at an appropriate level, a test of proficiency in English that is acceptable to the University before an offer of registration can be made  

Computer specification

Please note some of the modules have computer or software requirements and you are advised to read the module outline prior to registering.

How you study

If your job requires frequent travel or you work irregular hours, distance learning offers a means of furthering your studies without having to attend the RVC in person. You also avoid additional travel, accommodation and living expenses of being a student in London.  

How we support you  

Although you are provided with the materials you need to successfully complete your study with a minimum of direct academic support, you do receive support in several ways:

  • You may contact the RVC Programme Office on a day-to-day basis with general queries, but academic support is offered via occasional on-line tutorials (approx 2 per year). (Note: Students are not offered access to a personal tutor.)
  • For each module, you can submit up to two written assignments for tutor comment and assessment. 

Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

Our VLE enables you to communicate with your fellow distance learning students, discuss issues concerning your studies, and participate in structured academic tutorials (approximately 2 per year). Students have access to the RVC Intranet, the RVC Community and the Library area, where you may access electronic journals. It also provides access to study materials and a student discussion forum. 

Study materials

The study materials you receive include:  

  • Student handbook with information on planning your studies, preparing for examinations and study techniques.  
  • Study pack for each module you take, containing directed learning notes and a series of readings (book chapters and articles) on recent developments in the field (see 'Note' below) 
  • Textbooks for certain modules. 

Note: The Programme is moving to an online environment and a number of modules are now offered online only.  Students are given access to the study guide and reader on the RVC's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), called RVC Learn.

Each year, an updated student handbook is available online via the VLE. You also receive the relevant study pack for any additional modules you take, and any revised course materials. As the materials are comprehensive, you may complete modules without access to any additional textbooks or readings.  There is no need to purchase additional textbooks or try and locate journals which may not be available locally.

Period of study  

MSc and Postgraduate Diploma students have between two to five years to complete the programme.   Postgraduate Certificate students have between one year and a maximum of five. The ‘study year’ is effectively between February and September, with examinations in early/mid-October.

Time commitment  

Individuals differ in the number of hours per week they need to devote to study and in the number of years in which they would like to complete the programme. As a rough guide, we recommend that you should study between 10-15 hours per week if you wish to complete in the minimum period. It is very important that study hours, however many, should be given consistently.  


Each module is examined by a three-hour unseen written examination, which may contain essays and shorter questions. You must also submit up to two compulsory written assignments per module. The one with the highest mark counts as part of the formal assessment. The two elements are weighted: unseen written examination (80%), compulsory written assignment (20%).  


Examinations take place once a year in October. If you fail an examination at the first sitting, then you will have one further attempt. Examinations are normally held in a student’s country of residence.  We have examination centres in over 180 countries worldwide.


Whichever option students choose to take, a combination of both core and optional modules must be studied, with the core modules to be studied initially.

The core modules provide an essential introduction to a variety of approaches, methods and subjects.  These modules are designed to equip students with the preliminary practical and intellectual skills necessary for progression to the next level. Within the Postgraduate Diploma and the MSc, there is a natural progression from the core modules to the optional modules. Within the selection of optional modules, there is an element of choice in subject matter and disciplinary areas of study. Although the optional modules may not in themselves be more difficult, students will develop a greater understanding and a sophistication of thinking as they work through the modules.

Students must register and study the core modules prior to registering for the optional modules. Students are given the opportunity to register and pay for new modules at the end of each academic year.

Three compulsory core modules:

PLUS four further optional modules selected from:

Note: *  Prior to 2021, this module was known as Research Design, Management and Grant Application Writing

Our graduates find that the international recognition and prestige of their degree opens doors and creates opportunities in their careers.

Graduates of the programme are employed in a variety of organisations including the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), university veterinary faculties and international organisations including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO).

Please refer to the Programme Specification for 'Educational Aims and Learning Outcomes' and 'After Graduation'.

Alumni Inspiration

Laura Macfarlane was awarded the MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health. Location: Australia. Volunteering in Bangladesh has been an inspiring and life-enhancing journey for this Australian vet. To find out more, hear from Laura, where she talks about combining her studies whilst working in Bangladesh.

Miguel Calapez-Patricio was awarded the MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health.  Location: United Kingdom. Based at Heathrow airport, Miguel runs his own business and is a senior vet, advising on importation of products of animal origin from third world countries into the European Community. To find out more, hear from Miguel and how the knowledge gained from these studies has proved helpful in his day-to-day role.

Talk to the Student Ambassador  

Stuart Jaques chose to study for the MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health. When he was appointed to the role of Chief Veterinary Officer to the Isle of Man Government, he became interested in the detail of disease transmission and control, and felt he required a deeper understanding of certain concepts.   "I’ve found my studies have fully reintegrated my knowledge; filling in certain gaps and enhancing my skill set substantially. Would I recommend distance learning? Absolutely." Stuart is the Student Ambassador and can offer advice to prospective students about how he managed his studies successfully. If you have any questions, please contact Stuart direct.     

The University of London International Programmes are immensely proud that each year thousands of distance learning students graduate around the world. It is interesting to note, that Nelson Mandela (Nobel Peace Prize Winner) and Her Excellency Luisa Diogo (Former Prime Minister of Mozambique) have also studied by distance learning.

The Programme Fees below refer to the 2023 session only and are effective from 1 March 2022:

Photo by Jalal Ajmal

Application Fee (non refundable): £107

Fees are subject to annual review and may be paid in one of two ways:  

Option 1

On registration, a single payment covering the registration fee and all module fees:  

  • Total MSc degree: £15,515
  • Total Postgraduate Diploma: £9,814
  • Total Postgraduate Certificate: £5,150

The total fee incorporates a discount for payment in advance.  

Option 2

Pay the registration fee, plus the fee for each module you take in your first year. Then, in subsequent years, you pay the fee for each new module you take.  

  • MSc registration fee: £2,173
  • Postgraduate Diploma registration fee: £1,638
  • Postgraduate Certificate registration fee: £1,075
  • Fee per module: £2,173

College staff / alumni discount

Royal Veterinary College staff members and alumni will receive a bursary of 20% off fees for these distance-learning programmes (excluding resit fees).  Please contact the Course Administrator for further information.

Individual modules

The cost of registering for an individual module is:

  • 240-hour: £2,364
  • 50-hour: £870
  • 35-hour: £652

Tuition fee amounts are subject to increase each academic year, please be aware of this when making your calculations and planning how much money you will require.

Funding Options

Canadian Student Loans

The Royal Veterinary College is not involved in processing your application for a loan, however we can confirm your student status; please direct your queries to the

For an overview of the financial aid process for Canadian students, please visit the Campus Access website

Students should apply through their provincial student assistance office or website. When you apply for a loan, you are considered for funding by both the Provincial and Federal Government, meaning you only have to apply once for funding for the year. Federal loans are processed via the National Student Loans Service Centre and provincial loans through the provincial governments and student aid branches.

USA Student Loans

The RVC participates in the Direct Loan Program in which federal financial assistance is made available from the US Department of Education to US students studying at the RVC. The purpose of this page is to inform you about the process of applying for financial assistance.

The RVC College will originate Direct Stafford loans and Direct Graduate and Parent PLUS loans and full-time students from the USA who are attending at the RVC are normally eligible for funding. The RVC also participates in the VA Educational Benefits programme.

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