Skip to content The Open University

Student and tutor module reviews

Infectious disease and public health

see module description

  • Points: 30
  • Code: SK320
  • Level: 3
On this page

Student reviews

I LOVED this module! I had been looking forward to it for years and it did not disappoint!

There is a HUGE amount of information to cover in the module though - microbiology, how microorganisms cause disease, disease symptoms, diagnosis, prevention and treatment, immunology, epidemiology and public health measures. Living through the Covid-19 public health measures really brought this section to life!

I would recommend this module to anyone - but be prepared for a lot of hours of work. The tutor-marked assignments are demanding but very accessible and the exam was fair. Due to Covid, the exam I sat was a 24-hour, at-home, open-book exam. This actually added pressure, and in no way made the exam easier. It still required weeks of revision and preparation, which thankfully paid off as I achieved a distinction (so it can be done!). The tutorials were excellent and the tutors really helpful. I wish I could study this module again!

Course starting: October 2020

Review posted: September 2021

I really enjoyed this course. The topic materials were a little outdated considering the pandemic happening right now, but this was to be expected.

My tutor was amazing, really supportive. Unlike some of the other modules, I didn't find this one overkill will the amount of reading to do.

The exam was similar to previous tutor-marked assignments so my advice would be to make sure to apply yourself to these, read the feedback and understand what each question requires.

Course starting: October 2020

Review posted: August 2021

The subject matter on the whole is absolutely fascinating, but the pace with which you are expected to keep up with the reading can take enjoyment out of it.

The third block on public health I found mind-numbingly boring and wish it could have been more interesting and hence, easy to follow. Overall, I am glad I chose this course, but it should be worth 60 credits.

I would recommend this course to others, but be prepared for a lot of work. I have completed my degree now and this course was by far one of the most difficult.

Course starting: October 2015

Review posted: October 2016

This was by far and away the most interesting course I've done in six years of study at OU. And on the strength of the course I've decided to make a career of infection biology. I found the tutors informative, enthusiastic, and supportive; the mini-lectures and tutorials were invaluable.

It was, however, a diabolical amount of work, covering the whole gamut - public health, infectious diseases, immunology, testing, vaccines and more. It was so comprehensive, I felt it could easily have been divided into three courses. As other students have pointed out, the 'science' component is not inconsiderable and it will have helped to have taken some chemistry, cell biology and human biology.

Given the amount to revise for the exam, one can't afford to let anything slide. Constant revision and massive amounts of memorization are required. Start months before the exam!

My only critique relates to the delivery of the study material. Having to print out the textbooks is not just a chore, it's incredibly expensive.

That said, take the course! It really is super.

Vanessa Agnew

Course starting: October 2014

Review posted: September 2015

This was my first OU level 3 module and made a mistake of studying it alongside another one. The workload seemed like it was a 60 credit rather than a 30 credit module, and I found it a bit of a struggle since everything was online, so had to have all the texts printed out.

I did really well on the TMAs, but I felt the tutor support could have been better. Unfortunately life got in the way, and has affected my exam result. The TMAs/iCMAs were all made formative, so whatever I got on the exam was my final module result. I barely passed, and as much as I liked the topics and fellow student moral support, this course has put me off from studying any more OU level 3 science courses.

Course starting: February 2013

Review posted: May 2014

This was my first OU course and I found it very interesting and rewarding. I enjoyed every bit of it,online support from tutor and fellow students was a big help.

It is divided in to three blocks and it's true there is a lot of reading and digesting, there are ICMAs and TMAs and at the end 3 hours exam. ICMAs at regular interval keep you up to date with your studies and are extremely helpful but need a lot of reading because they are very tricky.

I had to work really hard and my previous back ground of biology and chemistry helped me to understand especially the immunisation, that was the hardest part and this needs greater attention. But overall I loved the course and learnt a lot, it's up to date with the current disease and health status in the world. The final block was Public Health which I enjoyed the most and I am continuing my studies in P.H now.

I think its a really well designed course, great contribution by course team and tutor and by good time management I managed to get a distinction. If I can do it - anyone can do it.

Farrah Gilani

Course starting: February 2012

Review posted: May 2013

This is a very interesting but intense course. I was torn between both enjoying it and eagerly awaiting its end! You will study different agents of disease such as viruses and bacteria, you will then study how our body is adapted to fight these agents.

The tutors are very helpful on this course. My main problem though was that all of the reading material is online, you do not get any books as such. There is also an insane amount of reading for a 30 credit course.

The exam was also very tricky. My average TMA score was 77% but my exam result was only 56%, so I ended up a grade lower than I was hoping for. My advice is that if you have a biology or chemistry background AND you are prepared for a lot of work, you will definitely appreciate this course. Otherwise I wouldn't go anywhere near it.

Course starting: February 2012

Review posted: February 2013

This course is extremely interesting and covers a really wide variety of topics. It was broken into 3 blocks, being pathogens, the immune system and then public health (with a bit of maths!) It is much heavier on the science than the course outline states so it would be highly valuable to have done some recent chemistry/human biology study.

L2 Cell Biology would provide a good foundation for this course and as a student who had not done this, I struggled through the year. The course content is fascinating but it really should be a 60-credit module as the work load is very intense. The exam was horrible and counts for 50% of your overall grade. The tutors were very supportive but the module is hardcore!

Course starting: February 2012

Review posted: January 2013

Please note

Each of the views expressed above is an individual's very particular response, largely unedited, and should be viewed with that in mind. Since modules are subject to regular updating, some of the issues identified may have already been addressed. In some instances the faculty may have provided a response to a comment. If you have a query about a particular module, please contact your Regional Centre.

Enter a module code to find a review

To send us reviews on modules you have studied with us, please click the sign in button below.