London Connection Q&A: vet Claire Wylie

For Claire Wylie, the MSc Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health provided both real-life case scenarios and career-relevant skills
MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health graduate, Claire Wylie
"It's easy to apply what you’re learning as you go through the course": Claire Wylie
All the people that I look up to in my career have completed this degree, so it’s great to have a degree from the same university

Why did you choose to study this degree?
When I started the MSc, I was a resident in Equine Clinical Research at Rossdales Equine Hospital. I was funded by the Margaret Griffin Charitable Trust to do the MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health, alongside clinical research projects for the hospital.

You already held a PhD in Equine Epidemiology, so why do another MSc?
When you do a PhD, you do a very targeted study in one form of statistics, so when I was offered the chance to do the MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health with the RVC, I was really interested in developing further skills and learning about different statistical techniques and different types of study design. I feel like doing the MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health has really opened up my career to all different types of epidemiology.

What inspired you to pursue veterinary epidemiology?
The biggest inspiration in my career was probably my pony, Shamrock. On the premises where Shamrock lived when I was growing up, some horses would get a fatal infectious disease called Equine Grass Sickness. I was always really fascinated about why some horses caught that disease when others didn’t. This inspired me to study veterinary epidemiology, and then I was really lucky to work with epidemiologists from the University of Edinburgh and from the RVC, and they've inspired me to keep that career going.

"If you're going to do an MSc in something quite specialised, you really need to make sure you do it from a university which is well recognised."

How did you find the distance learning study method?
It's the first time I've completed a distance learning course. It was certainly a challenge, but I was lucky to be very well supported at Rossdales Equine Hospital. They allowed me to study the course during my working hours, alongside doing clinical research. It requires quite a lot of time management to fit in studying the MSc as part of your daily work.

In what way were you able to apply your learnings from the course to your job?
When you’re working, it's easy to apply what you’re learning as you go through the course. In particular, I've been able to use some of the statistical skills I learnt on the course to learn how to analyse my data and how to present it. That's been really useful.

Did you have a favourite module?
My favourite module was probably Management of Infectious Disease Outbreaks in Animal Populations. That's a really interesting module because it uses real-life case scenarios. We did three case scenarios of infectious disease outbreaks. For example, we studied West Nile Fever in horses and it's interesting to get a real-life disease perspective.

Did you do much networking with other students?
I was really lucky to liaise with a student in Sweden for the Surveillance and Investigation of Animal Health module. I was actually going to a conference in Sweden to present some work that I'd completed, so we met up for a study weekend and then we liaised by email after that. Other than that, you can talk to the students using the Student Discussion Forum.

Would you recommend the University of London?
I'd definitely recommend the University of London. I think if you're going to do an MSc in something quite specialised, you really need to make sure you do it from a university which is well recognised, so that people understand what your qualification is all about. All the people that I look up to in my career have completed this degree, so it’s great to have a degree from the same university. I'm very proud to be an RVC graduate.