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Infectious disease and public health

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Infectious disease affects all our lives to varying degrees, often making front-page news: ‘New resistant strain of TB’, ‘Will bird flu cross over to humans?’ ‘Hospital infections reach epidemic proportions’, etc. This course approaches infectious disease from several perspectives – exploring the underlying biology, epidemiology, ecology and evolution of pathogens in relation to the extraordinary immune defences of their human hosts. You will learn how infections are diagnosed, how to study changes in the incidence of diseases and investigate strategies for treatment and control through detailed case studies. You will also have the chance to study a disease or disease-related topic in detail.

Modules at Level 3 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.

Register for the course


Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
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Registration opens on 30/04/14

An additional fee for the examination may apply.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£865.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£985.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1316.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£985.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£440.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

Why have diseases such as AIDS spread so rapidly through large areas of the world? Why are some populations so badly affected? How have diseases such as smallpox and polio been controlled? What are the reasons for the emergence of new infectious diseases?

Infectious disease and public health is an exciting course that shows how the causes and control of diseases can be understood only by reference to a range of biological information in the appropriate social context. It aims to:

  • present a multidisciplinary approach to the study of infectious disease
  • illustrate this approach through case studies of a range of infectious diseases
  • develop appropriate skills in reading and abstracting the literature and communicating the course themes coherently and from a multidisciplinary perspective.

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • demonstrate a broad understanding of the range of infectious diseases and their causative agents
  • demonstrate a broad understanding of the range of techniques used to diagnose infections
  • describe biological interactions between hosts and pathogens during an infection, and their evolution over time
  • give examples of the influence of social organisation, culture and economic development on the distribution of infectious disease
  • demonstrate the ability to interpret basic epidemiological data on infectious disease outbreaks
  • discuss strategies to prevent or reduce the impact of infectious diseases, commenting on their strengths and limitations
  • use a variety of methods, including electronic search tools, to access both primary and secondary scientific literature and abstract relevant information for a stated purpose
  • research and produce an extended piece of written work summarising historical and contemporary aspects of a chosen infectious disease (or diseases) including issues of treatment and control.

Entry

This is a Level 3 course. Level 3 courses build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from studies at Levels 1 and 2. They are intended only for students who have recent experience of higher education in a related subject, preferably with the OU.

It is essential that you establish whether or not your background and experience give you a sound basis on which to tackle the course, since students who are appropriately prepared have the best chance of completing their studies successfully. The Science Faculty has produced a booklet  Are you ready for SK320? to help you to decide whether you already have the recommended background knowledge or experience to start the course or whether you need a little extra preparation. This can also be viewed or printed from the 'Preparing for Level 2 and Level 3' section of the  Are you ready for science? website.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of study materials are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader (mathematical and scientific materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way). Other alternative formats of the study materials are available. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability. 

Please note that this course makes substantial use of complex visual material and includes a significant number of interactive animations and activities.

You will need to spend extensive periods in most study weeks using a personal computer to access study resources supplied via the course website or other internet sites. There are some electronic computer-marked assessment questions that are accessed, answered and submitted online via a website. If you use special hardware or software to assist you in using a personal computer or the internet and have any concerns about accessing these types of materials you are advised to talk to our Student Registration & Enquiry Service about support which can be given to meet your needs. Students with severe visual impairments may find they are more able to achieve the learning outcomes if they make use of a sighted assistant.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

A dedicated course website, DVD, online tutorials and forums. All study materials (introduction and guide, three study blocks, case studies, digital microscope, activities and glossary, etc.) and assignment materials are delivered online. There are no printed books.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course. It includes online activities – you can access using a web browser – and some course software provided on disk.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer running Windows since 2007 you should have no problems completing the computer-based activities.
  • A netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device is not suitable for this course – check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you have an Apple Mac or Linux computer – please note that you can only use it for this course by running Windows on it using Boot Camp or a similar dual-boot system.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. Your tutor will also offer support through email and online forum discussions.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this course can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Future availability

The details given here are for the course that starts in February 2014. It will be available again October 2014. We then expect it to be available once a year, in October.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

“This was my first OU course and I found it very interesting and rewarding. I enjoyed every bit of it,online ...”
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“This is a very interesting but intense course. I was torn between both enjoying it and eagerly awaiting its end! ...”
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Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code SK320
Credits 30
OU Level 3
SCQF level 10
FHEQ level 6
Course work includes:
4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
2 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
Examination
No residential school

Course satisfaction survey

See the satisfaction survey results for this course.

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