Biomedical Sciences

International Animal Health (MSc, Pg Diploma, Pg Certificate)

Building on a solid foundation of biological, immunological, pathological and epidemiological principles, you will develop the skills and expertise needed to identify, control and manage animal diseases.


livestock farmer

Livestock are vital to the lives of millions of people, however, endemic and epidemic diseases that affect livestock limit productivity and exacerbate poverty.  Infections that can be transmitted between domestic animals and people also threaten the health of livestock keepers, their families and their communities. In many developing regions farmers and animal health workers are often ill equipped to deal with this risk. This programme will equip you will the skills and knowledge needed to develop strategies to tackle the international animal health challenges of the 21st Century.  

Students join our programme from all over the world with a huge range of geographical, cultural and professional expertise. Through class discussions you will have the opportunity to network and learn about the challenges students are facing in different countries and explore the policies and strategies that are being developed globally. 


Video: Why I chose to study a masters in International Animal Health online
Clara Bester explains what she enjoyed about the International Animal Health programme and studying online


What will you study?

The program helped me understand animal health within the global perspective; I can articulate with ease global animal health issues and regulations and, how these affect international relations and trade.

Emmanuel Isingoma, Senior Veterinary Officer, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Uganda. 

Postgraduate Certificate 

You will develop your understanding of how infections spread in animals using examples from the field of international animal health. You will develop an understanding of how disease occurrences are measured and monitored and enhance your skills in field survey design and implementation.  You will explore how micro and macro parasites are transmitted between hosts, how they evolve and survive between infections, and understand different immune responses to pathogens and infection

During the certificate stage you will study three core courses: 

  • Applied Veterinary Epidemiology
  • Pathogen Strategies for Transmission and Survival
  • Host Responses to Infection

On successful completion of the certificate you may progress to the postgraduate diploma. 

Postgraduate Diploma

You will develop your understanding of the public health risks associated with diseases that are transmissible from animals to humans. You will also study highly contagious and transmissible livestock infections, such as avian influenza, Rift Valley fever, African Swine fever, and bluetongue. The optional courses allow you to either focus on the impact of these diseases on international trade or wildlife populations.

During the Diploma phase you will undertake the following compulsory course:

  •  Zoonotic disease

 and choose one of the following two courses:

  • Surveillance and control of transboundary diseases affecting international trade
  •  An introduction to transboundary diseases and their impact on trade and wildlife populations

You will also choose five to six elective courses from options including:

  • Advanced GIS and spatial epidemiology and modelling
  • An introduction to vaccinology
  • Control of economically important parasites
  • Globalisation and health
  • Introduction to GIS and spatial data analysis
  • New developments in epidemiology and the control of vector borne disease
  • Pastoralism and herd health
  • Project planning and decision support for animal disease control
  • Project Management of Development Aid
  • Technical advances in diagnostics
  • The Modern Zoo
  • The Nexus of Food Security and Global Health
  • The Use of Artificial Reproductive Technologies in Threatened Species
  • Socioeconomic Principles for One Health
  • Wildlife animal health and environment
  • Zoonotic diseases in a global setting

Please note that due to demand restrictions we cannot guarantee students a place on the optional courses of their preference. On successful completion of the diploma you may progress to the Masters. 


During the Masters phase you will construct a written dissertation of 10,000-15,000 words. You will have the opportunity to analyse and present animal health-related data that you have already collected during work conducted in your home country. Alternatively, you may wish to undertake a desk-based study to explore and develop a theme of relevance to your current working environment, or an area of interest that has arisen during your period of study on the MSc.

Further detail about each of the courses is available on the University DRPS: 

Detailed information about each of the courses is available on the Edinburgh Programme Degree Finder.

Course Information


The MSc’s first year core subjects provided a solid foundation, and we covered many concepts, pathogens and diseases in depth that were only briefly mentioned during my undergraduate veterinary studies.

The second year allowed the selection of several elective subjects, which allowed me to focus on my specific interests such as zoonotic, vector-borne, and trans-boundary animal diseases.

For the third year of the course, I was able to join an Australian government-funded project investigating the prevalence of pork tapeworm in a village in northern Lao PDR.

Emma Hobbs, Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL)


Programme structure

Our flexible study options allow you to select the structure that best fits around your professional and personal commitments. 

Career impact

The interdisciplinary approach of the programme, connecting animals, humans, and environments to tackle diseases impacting animal health, will develop your expertise in an area of increasing importance to veterinarians, wildlife conservation, and international trade. Your ability to develop, implement and evaluate strategies for controlling diseases affecting animal health will be significantly enhanced. Many of our graduate's comment that they can perform their existing roles with more confidence and have had the opportunity to widen their remit and take on more senior or complex projects. 

Equally, many of our graduates have secured promotions including senior veterinary positions, and roles where they can directly influence and shape policy and regulations. Other graduates have successfully progressed into post-doctoral roles, academic teaching positions and research careers.


I gradually became more involved in the conservation field until I was very fortunate to be appointed as the veterinarian for wildlife management in the City of Cape Town. I now get to use my 'One Health' skills often due to the urban interface with conservation areas.

Dorothy Breed, Veterinarian for Wildlife Management

Entry Requirements

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in veterinary medicine, agricultural science, biology or a related science discipline.

We may also consider your application if you have relevant work experience, this may include working in areas related to research, diagnostics, field experience and educational establishments where the focus is on animal health issues; please contact the programme team to check before you apply. You may be admitted to certificate level only in the first instance.

Full entry requirements, including international qualifications and English language requirements can be found on the University Programme Degree Finder.

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees are standard for all students regardless of location or nationality.   A breakdown of fees can be found on the University Programme Degree Finder.   We offer a 10% scholarship in postgraduate degree tuition fees for all alumni who have graduated with an undergraduate degree from the University of Edinburgh. 


Speak to a current online student

To find out more about what it is like to study online at the University of Edinburgh, you can email an online student through our student portal, Unibuddy.

Chat to a current student