Postgraduate study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

International Animal Health (Online Learning) MSc, PgDip (ICL), PgCert (ICL), PgCert, PgDip, PgProfDev

Awards: MSc, PgDip (ICL), PgCert (ICL), PgCert, PgDip, PgProfDev

Study modes: Part-time Intermittent Study, Part-time

Online learning

Funding opportunities

I loved the opportunity to interact regularly with vets, lab workers and animal health specialists worldwide.

Caroline Robinson International Animal Health
Caroline Robinson               International Animal Health

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 is 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.

What will you study?

Postgraduate Certificate (Part-time 1 year; Intermittent study 2 years)

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 (Part-time 2 years; Intermittent study 4 years)

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. Elective availability is subject to annual academic review and demand.

On successful completion of the diploma you may progress to the Masters.

Masters (Part-time 3 years; Intermittent study 6 years)

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.

Studying online allows flexibility in where and when you choose to study and means you can work at your own pace.

How does online learning work

Online programmes are delivered through the University's Virtual Learning Environment, LEARN. Our award-winning, online learning technology is fully interactive, and enables you to communicate with our highly qualified teaching staff from the comfort of your own home or workplace.

During term time, you should be prepared to spend an average of 20 hours a week engaged in course materials, be that reviewing lecture notes and case studies, interacting with fellow students and the programme team on the discussion board, researching areas of interest or preparing assessments. As there are no set times for study, to be successful you will need to be self-motivated and determined.

Although the programme involves independent study, you will also have the opportunity to become part of a supportive online community, bringing together students and tutors from all over the world. Indeed, one of the most important aspects to successful online study is the ongoing support and sharing of information achieved through interactive discussions and input from expert tutors.

How will you learn

The programme is designed in such a way that, with access to the internet, you will be able to study at the times and in the places that suit you best. The programme will involve mixed teaching approaches, including independent study and reflection, as well as online discussion and group project work.

As a postgraduate student at the University of Edinburgh, you will have access to excellent resources and be able to take advantage of the University’s academic tradition which values and promotes individuality and independence of thought within research.

Learning is delivered through:

  • Weekly materials, written notes, recommended reading, organised discussions with other learners, tutors and course organisers. Recorded lectures or podcasts may also be available for you to watch or listen to in your own time.
  • Opportunities to connect regularly with your course organiser and programme team to address concerns and monitor progress.
  • Individual assessments including essays, data presentations, proposals and presentations that will reinforce what you have learnt.
  • Group assignments and online discussions with your peers will expose you to different perspectives and new ways of thinking about a problem or topic.
  • Independent study and reflection.

Student Support and Facilities

You will have access to online student services including:

  • library resources
  • well-being and student support services
  • technical support
  • study skills support

Studying online at Edinburgh

Find out more about the benefits and practicalities of studying for an online degree:

Part-time study

The part-time MSc programme is delivered online over three years with the option of graduating (upon successful completion of the required courses and assessments):

  • after one year with a postgraduate certificate
  • two years with a postgraduate diploma
  • three years with a masters, on successful completion of the required courses.

Intermittent study

If you would prefer a more flexible approach to your studies, the intermittent study option may be preferable. In this case you have:

  • up to two years to complete the core courses and assessments to be awarded the Postgraduate Certificate.
  • between two and four years to complete the required courses and assessments for the Postgraduate Diploma.
  • up to six years to successfully achieve the Masters, including the dissertation.

The standard programme structure is still maintained in terms of the progression requirement. However, you can tailor your education to fit more closely with commitments in both your private and professional life. If you choose to study this programme on a part-time intermittent basis, you also pay your tuition fees on a course-by-course basis rather than paying on a yearly basis.

Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD)

Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) is aimed at working professionals who want to advance their knowledge through a postgraduate-level course(s), without the time or financial commitment of a full Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate.

You may take a maximum of 50 credits worth of courses over two years through our PPD scheme. These lead to a University of Edinburgh postgraduate award of academic credit. Alternatively, after one year of taking courses you can choose to transfer your credits and continue to study towards a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme.

Although PPD courses have various start dates throughout a year you may only start a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme in the month of September. Any time spent studying PPD will be deducted from the amount of time you will have left to complete a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme.

If you would like to consider studying one of these courses you can do so by applying at least one week prior to the starting date of the course.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScInternational Animal HealthUp to 6 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2023/24
MScInternational Animal Health3 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2023/24
PgDip (ICL)International Animal HealthUp to 4 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2023/24
PgCert (ICL)International Animal HealthUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2023/24
PgCertInternational Animal Health1 YearPart-timeProgramme structure 2023/24
PgDipInternational Animal Health2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2023/24
PgProfDevInternational Animal HealthUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyProgramme structure 2023/24

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 graduates 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 am a veterinary surgeon and am particularly involved in disease surveillance. As our climate, environment and transboundary trade are all changing, new risks and opportunities are created which as a profession we need to be in a position to work on effectively.

I loved the opportunity to interact regularly with vets, lab workers and animal health specialists worldwide. Due to the online nature of the programme, my colleagues came from a variety of countries, from every inhabited continent. The online learning programme was excellent, and the flexibility really allowed my studies to fit around my work and home life, but the opportunity to hear directly from an international cohort the unique problems and everyday procedures involved in animal health work in their countries was absolutely invaluable.

I would recommend the format of a part-time online degree to any other busy vets or animal health professionals due to the ability to tailor your study to fit around other commitments. I would also recommend this programme for the opportunity to hear different perspectives from colleagues of many different backgrounds, both professional and geographical.

I think people imagine that online study will involve less interaction with classmates and tutors than regular study, but I have found the opposite – I have got far more value from the interpersonal learning than I imagined when I started the course. Finally, the more formal course content was of high quality and covered my major areas of interest, which was the main attraction to me initially, but the ability to choose modules later in the programme allowed me further opportunities to design the Master’s degree to suit my own needs.

Caroline Robinson, International Animal Health

Student testimonial: Dennis Muhanguzi

How does online learning work?

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.

Students from China

This degree is Band D.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 59 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScInternational Animal HealthUp to 6 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees
MScInternational Animal Health3 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
PgDip (ICL)International Animal HealthUp to 4 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees
PgCert (ICL)International Animal HealthUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees
PgCertInternational Animal Health1 YearPart-timeTuition fees
PgDipInternational Animal Health2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
PgProfDevInternational Animal HealthUp to 2 YearsPart-time Intermittent StudyTuition fees

Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships

Applicants from eligible Commonwealth countries who secure an offer to study this programme are invited to apply for a Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarship. The scholarship covers full tuition fees. The deadline for scholarship application is 28th March 2024. Please check the link below for eligibility criteria, number of available awards, t&c and additional information.

(Revised 22 February 2024 to add in the 'Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships' information) 

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Postgraduate Admissions Office
  • The Chancellors Building
  • 49 Little France
  • Easter Bush
  • Edinburgh
  • EH16 4SB
Programme start date Application deadline
9 September 2024 23 August 2024

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit one reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Postgraduate Admissions Office
  • The Chancellors Building
  • 49 Little France
  • Easter Bush
  • Edinburgh
  • EH16 4SB