Institute for Global Health


Infectious diseases epidemiology and global health policy

This module will introduce students to key scientific concepts within the field of infectious disease epidemiology, with a practical focus on how these concepts inform evidence-based global health policy. The course will cover core concepts, including factors influencing transmission dynamics, vaccine epidemiology, basic molecular epidemiology and the impact of underlying structural and political influences on policy development and implementation.  Students will be asked to critically appraise examples of policy and the underlying scientific evidence.  At the end of the course, students will have a good working knowledge of applied epidemiology for global infectious disease control.

Module Code: CIHDG045

UCL Credits: 15

Module Organisers: Dr Rob Aldridge and Dr Nigel Field Please direct queries to the course administration team in the first instance igh.adminpg@ucl.ac.uk

Who can study this course?

MSc/PG Dip Global Health and Development students, other UCL MSc/PG Dip students, TropEd students, Taster course students, Short course students

Admission Requirements

MSc and PG Dip students: Open to all UCL MSc/PG Dip Global Health and Development, and to any UCL MSc/PG Dip students.

Taster students: UK Bachelor’s degree in a relevant/allied subject awarded with a 1st or upper 2nd class Honours or an equivalent qualification.  Two academic or professional reference letters.

Short course students: Professional work experience in a relevant area and/or UK Bachelor’s degree in a relevant/allied subject awarded with a 1st or 2nd class Honours or an equivalent qualification.

Taster and short course students should have a reasonable basic level of epidemiology statistics knowledge including: study designs, types of data, distributions and sampling principles, principles of significance testing, and analysing data through basic statistical tests. 

In addition to the above, all students must demonstrate a GOOD standard of English Proficiency with 6.5 in each of the subtests.

Course length 3 weeks 
Course dates 19 February to 9 March 2018
Days and times Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 09.30 to 12.30 and 14.00 to 16.30. Assessment by group presentation and individual posters to be completed in final week and presented on the last Friday of the course.



  • Epidemiological study designs for investigating infectious disease
  • Measuring infectiousness
  • Transmission dynamics of infectious diseases
  • The difficulties and pitfalls of developing policy from Randomised Controlled Trials and Systematic Reviews
  • Complexities and issues of national, international and non-governmental organisation responses to infectious diseases.
  • Molecular epidemiology for infectious disease policy
  • The role of epidemiology in forming vaccine policy
  • Practical aspects of vaccine programme implementation (Polio)
  • Global burden of disease – infectious diseases
  • Sexually transmitted infections and HIV, including interpreting infectious disease surveillance data
  • Emerging infectious diseases
  • Global pandemic preparedness and modeling for infectious disease policy

Teaching and learning methods

This module will provide a mix of teaching and self-directed reading and learning. Interactive lectures and podcasts will be combined with seminars and group discussion, where critical appraisal of scientific evidence will be explicitly linked to the health policies these data inform. Tutors within the unit will carry out the bulk of teaching, but external lecturers (e.g. collaborating experts within Public Health England and other UCL scientists) are employed.  The module prioritises time for private reading and self-study. 

Moodle will be used to give students access to reading materials, and short summary lectures from high profile experts. The module will be assessed by a group presentation, an individual, short, written summary by each student describing their contribution, and peer assessment.


Group presentation (45%)

Individual poster describing contribution to the presentation (45%)

Structured peer-review of each poster (10%)

Assessment Date

9th of March 2018

Selected Reading List

Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2013

World Health Organisation: Infectious diseases

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Public Health England

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control