Yearbooks

Programme: MSc Option: Veterinary Epidemiology (Coursework)

Code Faculty
08251009 Faculty of Veterinary Science
Credits Duration
Duration of study: 3 years Total credits: 240

Programme information

This programme if offered by the Department of Production Animal Studies.

This degree programme provides training in the principles of and methods used in veterinary epidemiology, including training in selected more specialised tools used in the discipline. It caters for the needs of candidates who wish to be trained as epidemiologists, health officers or researchers involved in the investigation and control of diseases in animal populations and who would like to gain relevant knowledge and develop specific technical skills.

The curriculum consists of compulsory and elective modules as well as a mini-dissertation. It is primarily a web-based modular degree programme.

At the discretion of the HOD and supervisor, a student may be granted exemption from the modules VRM 811 (Veterinary research methodology) and/or EPL 851 (Basic veterinary epidemiology) if equivalent module(s) have successfully been completed. The MSc degree is conferred by virtue of the successful completion of prescribed modules in the curriculum and a mini-dissertation.

Coursework: 50%; Mini-dissertation: 50%.

Also consult the General Regulations. Students are required to confirm whether a module will be presented in any particular year. This enquiry should be directed to the relevant head of department according to the syllabi information provided in the list of modules in this publication.

Admission requirements

 Subject to the stipulations of the applicable General Regulations, a BVSc, BScHons, four-year BSc in natural sciences or agriculture or an equivalent degree is required.

Additional requirements

In certain cases, it remains the prerogative of the Head of Department to require, in addition to the entrance requirements already mentioned, the conduction of an interview and/or the successful completion of an admissions test before registration. Students must be proficient in English and may be required to pass a proficiency test prior to admission. Admission is also subject to the identification of a suitable research project and the availability of a supervisor. Prospective applicants should therefore make enquiries well in advance.

Examinations and pass requirements

If a student fails a module, he/she will have to repeat the module the following year.

Research information

Consult the General Regulations.

A research project of limited scope must be undertaken on an appropriate topic, depending on the field of interest of the student and the availability of a suitable supervisor, and written in the format of a mini-dissertation. The research topic is determined in consultation with the supervisor and head of department, and the research project must be approved according to Faculty guidelines.

Before or together with the mini-dissertation, a student must submit at least one draft article for publication in an accredited scientific journal, failing which the degree will not be conferred. The draft article must be based on the research for the mini-dissertation and must be acceptable to the supervisor and meet subsidy requirements.

Pass with distinction

The degree is conferred with distinction on a student who has obtained at least 75% for the mini-dissertation and a cumulative average of at least 75% for the core and elective modules.

Minimum credits: 229

Core modules

  • Module content:

    An introductory module in veterinary epidemiology designed to provide a sound foundation in epidemiology that can be applied in practice and upon which further studies can be built. The module covers aspects of population medicine, disease outbreak investigation, clinical epidemiology, experimental studies, observational studies, surveys, basic analytical tools and diagnostic tests

    View more

  • Module content:

    This module provides the student with a foundation in basic statistical methods commonly used by postgraduate students in veterinary science. It covers statistical building blocks, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, chi-square procedures, regression and correlation, paired and pooled t-tests, analysis of variance and non-parametric tests.

    View more

  • Module content:

    This module provides the student with further knowledge and skills in veterinary epidemiology and an introduction to certain more advanced statistical methods commonly used in veterinary science, including adjustment for confounding, multiple linear regression, logistic regression and survival analysis, and will provide the basis for further studies and research involving these techniques.

    View more

  • Module content:

    This module covers the principles and practice of the collection, entry, storage, management and processing of animal health-related data. It provides the knowledge necessary to be able to effectively work with data in veterinary epidemiology and animal health research.

    View more

  • Module content:

    This module covers, using practical examples, the processes of scientific reasoning and critical thinking applicable to veterinary epidemiology, and equips the student to use clear lines of reasoning in developing and testing hypotheses and making inferences, and to be able to critically evaluate information presented in the literature.

    View more

  • Module content:

    Mini-dissertation

    View more

  • Module content:

    A web-based introductory module in research methodology that includes planning and undertaking a research project or clinical trial, collecting and analysing data, scientific writing, and enabling preparation and presenting of a research protocol.

    View more

Elective modules

  • Module content:

    The emphasis of the module is on practical diagnostic pathology (including forensic pathology) and its outcomes will enable a veterinarian to investigate disease and the cause of death in wildlife. The approach will emphasise the following: After conducting a necropsy, a diagnosis is finalised by also considering the results of other diagnostic tests and ancillary data; when it is not possible to make a final diagnosis, the formulation of a list of differential diagnoses and a strategy to resolve the problem; compiling interim and final report(s) that are scientifically sound, presentable to a court of law and reflect a degree of professionalism that is commensurate with a professional person.  The theoretical component includes selected information dealing with incidental findings and ‘non-lesions’, species-specific infectious diseases, and non-infectious diseases.

    View more

  • Module content:

    An advanced module in necropsy techniques, interpretation and specimen collection.

    View more

  • Module content:

    Macroscopic and microscopic pathology of the diseases of the eyes of domestic animals.

    View more

  • Module content:

    A theoretical study of the epidemiology, diagnosis and control/eradication of important infectious diseases of pigs.

    View more

  • Module content:

    Veterinary pharmaceutical discovery and development.
    Non-clinical safety and preclinical toxicology. Clinical safety and efficacy evaluation. Good laboratory and clinical practices. Drug statutory and application requirement. Drug application submission. Regulatory procedures, evaluation and veterinary drug control. Drug residue risk assessment. Product planning, production management and quality assurance. Drug marketing, pricing and promotion. Technical services, training, extension, product support and complaint investigation.

    View more

  • Module content:

    A coherent and critical understanding and application of the theory and research methodologies and techniques relevant to all aspects of red meat hygiene relating to prevention and control of zoonoses and other diseases transmitted by meat, welfare of livestock, pre-harvesting, harvesting and post-harvesting aspects of red meat production, practical application of HACCP relating to the specific activities, prevention and control of chemical residues in meat, including veterinary drug residues and appropriate national and international legislation. An understanding of how these relate to applied research relevant to industry or public health (including the ability to select and apply research methods effectively). Ability must be shown to rigorously critique and evaluate current research and participate in scholarly debates in this area of specialisation. Ability must be demonstrated to relate theory to practice and vice versa and to think epistemologically.

    View more

  • Module content:

    A coherent and critical understanding and application of the theory and research methodologies and techniques relevant to all aspects of poultry hygiene relating to prevention and control of zoonoses and other diseases transmitted by meat, eggs or other poultry products, welfare of poultry, pre-harvesting, harvesting and post-harvesting aspects of poultry meat or egg production, practical application of HACCP relating to the specific activities, prevention and control of chemical residues, including veterinary drug residues and appropriate national and international legislation. An understanding of how these relate to applied research relevant to industry or public health (including the ability to select and apply research methods effectively). Ability must be shown to rigorously critique and evaluate current research and participate in scholarly debates in this area of specialisation. Ability must be demonstrated to relate theory to practice and vice versa and to think epistemologically.

    View more

  • Module content:

    A coherent and critical understanding and application of the theory and research methodologies and techniques relevant to all aspects of milk hygiene relating to prevention and control of zoonoses and other diseases transmitted by milk, or other dairy products, welfare of livestock, pre-harvesting, harvesting and post-harvesting aspects of milk production or dairy products, practical application of HACCP relating to the specific activities, prevention and control of chemical residues, including veterinary drug residues and appropriate national and international legislation. An understanding of how these relate to applied research relevant to industry or public health (including the ability to select and apply research methods effectively). Ability must be shown to rigorously critique and evaluate current research and participate in scholarly debates in this area of specialisation. Ability must be demonstrated to relate theory to practice and vice versa and to think epistemologically.

    View more

  • Module content:

    A coherent and critical understanding and application of the theory and research methodologies and techniques relevant to control of zoonoses of environmental origin, biosecurity relating to food of animal origin and management of disasters and emergencies involving animals and animal products, safe collection and disposal of animal carcases, condemned meat or other animal products and animal wastes. The prevention, control and impact assessment of pollution by livestock production or industries, population control of animals in rural and urban environments to prevent zoonoses, occupational health of veterinary staff, management of the veterinary public health aspects of disasters and emergencies, evaluation of human-animal interactions and their impact on human health including animal facilitated therapy. An understanding of appropriate national and international legislation and how these relate to industry or public health (including ability to select and apply research methods effectively). Ability must be shown to rigorously critique and evaluate current research and participate in scholarly debates in this area of specialisation. Ability must be demonstrated to relate theory to practice and vice versa and to think epistemologically.

    View more

  • Module content:

    Scope and historical development of veterinary pharmacology.
    Veterinary pharmaceutics and formulation theory.
    Pharmacokinetic theory, pharmacokinetic analysis and modelling.
    Bioequivalence theory and evaluation.
    Physicochemical and molecular basis of drug action.
    Dose response and calculation of dose response parameters.
    Pharmacological modulation of organ and body functions.
    Molecular basis of action and pharmacological effects of chemotherapeutic agents.
    Adverse drug reactions, interactions and pharmacovigilance.
    Comparative species pharmacology, pharmacogenomics and pharmacogenetics.
    Background on complementary medicines.
    Fundamentals of pharmacological research.

    View more

  • Module content:

    Advanced veterinary pharmacology including pharmaceutics, pharmacokinetics, pharmacotherapeutics and pharmacodynamics. Clinical pharmacology relevant to selected domesticated, exotic and wildlife species in the area of specialization (capita selecta), including species-specific therapeutic objectives and rational pharmacotherapy; specialised drug therapy pertaining to relevant species and/or organ systems; drug use control and adverse drug reactions.

    View more

  • Module content:

    This module will provide advanced theoretical study in and critical appraisal of the principles, concepts, current application and potential developments in selected aspects of reproductive physiology of animals.

    View more

  • Module content:

    This module will provide advanced theoretical study in and critical appraisal of the principles, concepts, current applications and potential developments in selected aspects of assisted reproduction in animals.

    View more

  • Module content:

    This module will provide advanced theoretical study in and critical appraisal of the principles, concepts, current applications and potential developments pertaining to selected aspects of infertility in female animals.

    View more

  • Module content:

    This module will provide advanced theoretical study in and critical appraisal of the principles, concepts, current applications and potential developments pertaining to selected aspects of breeding soundness and andrology in male animals.

    View more

  • Module content:

    This module will provide advanced theoretical study in and critical appraisal of the principles, concepts, current applications and potential developments pertaining to selected aspects of reproduction in animals. This module includes selected aspects from two or more of the modules GSK 801 to GSK 804. The purpose of this module is to provide Masters degree students doing a course other than the MSc Option: Veterinary Reproduction or the MMedVet (Gyn) the opportunity to do an elective module in a limited selection of aspects of reproduction. Students planning to do the GSK 805 module must discuss their studies with the coordinators of moduless GSK 801 to GSK 804 before registering for the module to allow those coordinators to prescribe to the student which of the modules the student should participate in, what aspects of the relevant modules the student should study, and when those modules will be presented.  Depending on which of the GSK 801 to GSK 804 modules the student should do selected aspects of the GSK 805 Reproduction capita selecta module may run over one or two calender years.

    View more

  • Module content:

    The module content will be based on advanced theoretical training in small stock health with emphasis on principles of population health and production programmes, animal health economics, monitoring health and production. The module will enable students to integrate and apply knowledge so that health and production problems can be identified and solved on a flock basis and health status and production effectiveness of small stock flock can be raised from a holistic and cost effective viewpoint.

    View more

  • Module content:

    Advanced theoretical training in ruminant health with emphasis on the pathophysiology, diagnosis, treatment and control of non-infectious diseases, specifically applicable to conditions of the gastro-intestinal tract, liver, production diseases, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, nervous system, musculo-skeletal system, skin and appendages.

    View more

  • Module content:

    The primary aim of this module is to provide the candidate with the skills and competence to promote the health and production efficiency of cattle operations (dairy, beef and feedlots). The module will enable students to integrate and apply knowledge so that health and production can be monitored and problems can be identified and solved on a herd basis. The module content will be based on advanced theoretical training in bovine herd health with emphasis on principles of herd health and production programmes, animal health economics, monitoring dairy herd health and production (applied nutrition, fertility, udder health, foot health, general cow health, calves and replacement heifers), monitoring the health and performance of beef cow calf enterprises (resource base, forage and beef cow-calf stock flow, applied nutrition, fertility, young stock, integrated resource, health and management program), and beef feedlots

    View more

  • Module content:

    Advanced training in poultry health and production systems. The emphasis of the module is on practical health management and will enable poultry veterinarian to advise on the control of disease in poultry production systems. Compile interim and final reports that are scientifically sound, and reflect a degree of professionalism that is commensurate with a professional poultry veterinarian.

    View more

  • Module content:

    The objective of this module is to provide advanced training in veterinary toxicology, including plant poisening syndromes, mycotoxicoses, organic and inorganic intoxications as well as zootoxicoses of veterinary importance.  This will enable the candidate to develop proficiency in routine toxicological field investigations, treatment of intoxications, diagnostic procedures and to provide sound advice on preventative measures.

    View more

  • Module content:

    Mechanisms of disease (for Medicine students)

    View more

  • Module content:

    An in-depth comparative study of light microscopical structure and detailed ultrastructure of all the tissues and organs of domestic animals, birds and selected wildlife species.

    View more

Minimum credits: 229

Core modules

  • Module content:

    An introductory module in veterinary epidemiology designed to provide a sound foundation in epidemiology that can be applied in practice and upon which further studies can be built. The module covers aspects of population medicine, disease outbreak investigation, clinical epidemiology, experimental studies, observational studies, surveys, basic analytical tools and diagnostic tests

    View more

  • Module content:

    This module provides the student with a foundation in basic statistical methods commonly used by postgraduate students in veterinary science. It covers statistical building blocks, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, chi-square procedures, regression and correlation, paired and pooled t-tests, analysis of variance and non-parametric tests.

    View more

  • Module content:

    This module provides the student with further knowledge and skills in veterinary epidemiology and an introduction to certain more advanced statistical methods commonly used in veterinary science, including adjustment for confounding, multiple linear regression, logistic regression and survival analysis, and will provide the basis for further studies and research involving these techniques.

    View more

  • Module content:

    This module covers the principles and practice of the collection, entry, storage, management and processing of animal health-related data. It provides the knowledge necessary to be able to effectively work with data in veterinary epidemiology and animal health research.

    View more

  • Module content:

    This module covers, using practical examples, the processes of scientific reasoning and critical thinking applicable to veterinary epidemiology, and equips the student to use clear lines of reasoning in developing and testing hypotheses and making inferences, and to be able to critically evaluate information presented in the literature.

    View more

  • Module content:

    Mini-dissertation

    View more

  • Module content:

    A web-based introductory module in research methodology that includes planning and undertaking a research project or clinical trial, collecting and analysing data, scientific writing, and enabling preparation and presenting of a research protocol.

    View more

Elective modules

  • Module content:

    The emphasis of the module is on practical diagnostic pathology (including forensic pathology) and its outcomes will enable a veterinarian to investigate disease and the cause of death in wildlife. The approach will emphasise the following: After conducting a necropsy, a diagnosis is finalised by also considering the results of other diagnostic tests and ancillary data; when it is not possible to make a final diagnosis, the formulation of a list of differential diagnoses and a strategy to resolve the problem; compiling interim and final report(s) that are scientifically sound, presentable to a court of law and reflect a degree of professionalism that is commensurate with a professional person.  The theoretical component includes selected information dealing with incidental findings and ‘non-lesions’, species-specific infectious diseases, and non-infectious diseases.

    View more

  • Module content:

    An advanced module in necropsy techniques, interpretation and specimen collection.

    View more

  • Module content:

    Macroscopic and microscopic pathology of the diseases of the eyes of domestic animals.

    View more

  • Module content:

    A theoretical study of the epidemiology, diagnosis and control/eradication of important infectious diseases of pigs.

    View more

  • Module content:

    Veterinary pharmaceutical discovery and development.
    Non-clinical safety and preclinical toxicology. Clinical safety and efficacy evaluation. Good laboratory and clinical practices. Drug statutory and application requirement. Drug application submission. Regulatory procedures, evaluation and veterinary drug control. Drug residue risk assessment. Product planning, production management and quality assurance. Drug marketing, pricing and promotion. Technical services, training, extension, product support and complaint investigation.

    View more

  • Module content:

    A coherent and critical understanding and application of the theory and research methodologies and techniques relevant to all aspects of red meat hygiene relating to prevention and control of zoonoses and other diseases transmitted by meat, welfare of livestock, pre-harvesting, harvesting and post-harvesting aspects of red meat production, practical application of HACCP relating to the specific activities, prevention and control of chemical residues in meat, including veterinary drug residues and appropriate national and international legislation. An understanding of how these relate to applied research relevant to industry or public health (including the ability to select and apply research methods effectively). Ability must be shown to rigorously critique and evaluate current research and participate in scholarly debates in this area of specialisation. Ability must be demonstrated to relate theory to practice and vice versa and to think epistemologically.

    View more

  • Module content:

    A coherent and critical understanding and application of the theory and research methodologies and techniques relevant to all aspects of poultry hygiene relating to prevention and control of zoonoses and other diseases transmitted by meat, eggs or other poultry products, welfare of poultry, pre-harvesting, harvesting and post-harvesting aspects of poultry meat or egg production, practical application of HACCP relating to the specific activities, prevention and control of chemical residues, including veterinary drug residues and appropriate national and international legislation. An understanding of how these relate to applied research relevant to industry or public health (including the ability to select and apply research methods effectively). Ability must be shown to rigorously critique and evaluate current research and participate in scholarly debates in this area of specialisation. Ability must be demonstrated to relate theory to practice and vice versa and to think epistemologically.

    View more

  • Module content:

    A coherent and critical understanding and application of the theory and research methodologies and techniques relevant to all aspects of milk hygiene relating to prevention and control of zoonoses and other diseases transmitted by milk, or other dairy products, welfare of livestock, pre-harvesting, harvesting and post-harvesting aspects of milk production or dairy products, practical application of HACCP relating to the specific activities, prevention and control of chemical residues, including veterinary drug residues and appropriate national and international legislation. An understanding of how these relate to applied research relevant to industry or public health (including the ability to select and apply research methods effectively). Ability must be shown to rigorously critique and evaluate current research and participate in scholarly debates in this area of specialisation. Ability must be demonstrated to relate theory to practice and vice versa and to think epistemologically.

    View more

  • Module content:

    A coherent and critical understanding and application of the theory and research methodologies and techniques relevant to control of zoonoses of environmental origin, biosecurity relating to food of animal origin and management of disasters and emergencies involving animals and animal products, safe collection and disposal of animal carcases, condemned meat or other animal products and animal wastes. The prevention, control and impact assessment of pollution by livestock production or industries, population control of animals in rural and urban environments to prevent zoonoses, occupational health of veterinary staff, management of the veterinary public health aspects of disasters and emergencies, evaluation of human-animal interactions and their impact on human health including animal facilitated therapy. An understanding of appropriate national and international legislation and how these relate to industry or public health (including ability to select and apply research methods effectively). Ability must be shown to rigorously critique and evaluate current research and participate in scholarly debates in this area of specialisation. Ability must be demonstrated to relate theory to practice and vice versa and to think epistemologically.

    View more

  • Module content:

    Scope and historical development of veterinary pharmacology.
    Veterinary pharmaceutics and formulation theory.
    Pharmacokinetic theory, pharmacokinetic analysis and modelling.
    Bioequivalence theory and evaluation.
    Physicochemical and molecular basis of drug action.
    Dose response and calculation of dose response parameters.
    Pharmacological modulation of organ and body functions.
    Molecular basis of action and pharmacological effects of chemotherapeutic agents.
    Adverse drug reactions, interactions and pharmacovigilance.
    Comparative species pharmacology, pharmacogenomics and pharmacogenetics.
    Background on complementary medicines.
    Fundamentals of pharmacological research.

    View more

  • Module content:

    Advanced veterinary pharmacology including pharmaceutics, pharmacokinetics, pharmacotherapeutics and pharmacodynamics. Clinical pharmacology relevant to selected domesticated, exotic and wildlife species in the area of specialization (capita selecta), including species-specific therapeutic objectives and rational pharmacotherapy; specialised drug therapy pertaining to relevant species and/or organ systems; drug use control and adverse drug reactions.

    View more

  • Module content:

    This module will provide advanced theoretical study in and critical appraisal of the principles, concepts, current application and potential developments in selected aspects of reproductive physiology of animals.

    View more

  • Module content:

    This module will provide advanced theoretical study in and critical appraisal of the principles, concepts, current applications and potential developments in selected aspects of assisted reproduction in animals.

    View more

  • Module content:

    This module will provide advanced theoretical study in and critical appraisal of the principles, concepts, current applications and potential developments pertaining to selected aspects of infertility in female animals.

    View more

  • Module content:

    This module will provide advanced theoretical study in and critical appraisal of the principles, concepts, current applications and potential developments pertaining to selected aspects of breeding soundness and andrology in male animals.

    View more

  • Module content:

    This module will provide advanced theoretical study in and critical appraisal of the principles, concepts, current applications and potential developments pertaining to selected aspects of reproduction in animals. This module includes selected aspects from two or more of the modules GSK 801 to GSK 804. The purpose of this module is to provide Masters degree students doing a course other than the MSc Option: Veterinary Reproduction or the MMedVet (Gyn) the opportunity to do an elective module in a limited selection of aspects of reproduction. Students planning to do the GSK 805 module must discuss their studies with the coordinators of moduless GSK 801 to GSK 804 before registering for the module to allow those coordinators to prescribe to the student which of the modules the student should participate in, what aspects of the relevant modules the student should study, and when those modules will be presented.  Depending on which of the GSK 801 to GSK 804 modules the student should do selected aspects of the GSK 805 Reproduction capita selecta module may run over one or two calender years.

    View more

  • Module content:

    The module content will be based on advanced theoretical training in small stock health with emphasis on principles of population health and production programmes, animal health economics, monitoring health and production. The module will enable students to integrate and apply knowledge so that health and production problems can be identified and solved on a flock basis and health status and production effectiveness of small stock flock can be raised from a holistic and cost effective viewpoint.

    View more

  • Module content:

    Advanced theoretical training in ruminant health with emphasis on the pathophysiology, diagnosis, treatment and control of non-infectious diseases, specifically applicable to conditions of the gastro-intestinal tract, liver, production diseases, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, nervous system, musculo-skeletal system, skin and appendages.

    View more

  • Module content:

    The primary aim of this module is to provide the candidate with the skills and competence to promote the health and production efficiency of cattle operations (dairy, beef and feedlots). The module will enable students to integrate and apply knowledge so that health and production can be monitored and problems can be identified and solved on a herd basis. The module content will be based on advanced theoretical training in bovine herd health with emphasis on principles of herd health and production programmes, animal health economics, monitoring dairy herd health and production (applied nutrition, fertility, udder health, foot health, general cow health, calves and replacement heifers), monitoring the health and performance of beef cow calf enterprises (resource base, forage and beef cow-calf stock flow, applied nutrition, fertility, young stock, integrated resource, health and management program), and beef feedlots

    View more

  • Module content:

    Advanced training in poultry health and production systems. The emphasis of the module is on practical health management and will enable poultry veterinarian to advise on the control of disease in poultry production systems. Compile interim and final reports that are scientifically sound, and reflect a degree of professionalism that is commensurate with a professional poultry veterinarian.

    View more

  • Module content:

    The objective of this module is to provide advanced training in veterinary toxicology, including plant poisening syndromes, mycotoxicoses, organic and inorganic intoxications as well as zootoxicoses of veterinary importance.  This will enable the candidate to develop proficiency in routine toxicological field investigations, treatment of intoxications, diagnostic procedures and to provide sound advice on preventative measures.

    View more

  • Module content:

    Mechanisms of disease (for Medicine students)

    View more

  • Module content:

    An in-depth comparative study of light microscopical structure and detailed ultrastructure of all the tissues and organs of domestic animals, birds and selected wildlife species.

    View more


The information published here is subject to change and may be amended after the publication of this information. The General Regulations (G Regulations) apply to all faculties of the University of Pretoria. It is expected of each student to familiarise himself or herself well with these regulations as well as with the information contained in the General Rules section. Ignorance concerning these regulations and rules will not be accepted as an excuse for any transgression.

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