Short Course: Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacovigilance

Medicine bottles on coloured background

Boost your expertise in the evaluation of medicines with distance-learning opportunities.

Postgraduate Professional Development course in Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacovigilance (30 credits)

The global health challenge of maximising drug safety yet maintaining public confidence has become increasingly complex. Pharmaceutical companies are required to employ named members of staff responsible for pharmacovigilance.

Health authorities grapple with the need to provide quality care whilst containing a burgeoning drug budget. Regulatory authorities must balance the potential benefits of new drugs with varying levels of suspicion of their potential harm. This short course addresses the increasing need for well-informed professionals to work in all areas related to the assessment of drug safety and risk-benefit of drug use.

This is an introductory course which should meet the needs of a wide variety of practitioners.

The course is aimed at personnel concerned with the safe use of medicines, particularly in developed countries, including those working (or intending to work) in: the pharmaceutical industry who are involved in drug development, licensing, and surveillance; regulatory bodies who are involved in licensing and surveillance; the health service who are involved in drug policy; and health policy decision-making agencies.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Evaluate issues surrounding the risks and benefits of drug use in humans, including the cause and effects of adverse drug effects.
  • Compare statistical, economic and epidemiological concepts and methods.
  • Reflect upon how pharmacoepidemiological methods can be applied to specific drug issues.
  • Analyse and appraise pharmacoepidemiological studies and their results.
  • Understand the cost-effectiveness assessment for new medicines.
  • Use your learning alongside your experience to produce an evaluative project.

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Applications for the academic year 2017-2018 are currently open:

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Programme details

Award Certificate of Achievement in Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacovigilance (worth 30 credits at FHEQ Level 7).
Duration It is expected that most students will study from the beginning of November to the June exam and complete the course in one year. However, registration lasts two years for those unable to complete within the first year.
Fee £4,615
Technical requirements Regular access to an internet-ready device, plus the ability to download and view documents including spreadsheets and PDF files.
Assessment Unseen examination (60%), plus one project (40%). You must be awarded a pass grade for both elements to complete the module.
Programme regulations Download programme regulations.
[PDF, 10pp, 1.67MB]
Entry requirements Download entry requirements.
[PDF, 1p, 78KB]

The course is developed by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, a world-leading centre for research and postgraduate education that offers six full master’s programmes by distance learning.

It is extending this short course, which has been running on-campus since 1998, to a worldwide audience.

The short course will address the following topics:


You will learn about the fundamentals of pharmacoepidemiology, its conduct, practical uses and limitations in determining the effects of medications in large groups of people. The statistical basis underpinning pharmacoepidemiology will also be introduced, and you will integrate statistics and epidemiology to gain competence in critically appraising pharmacoepidemiology studies.


You will be introduced to the key elements of pharmacovigilance and its basis within drug regulation. Within the risk management elements of the course, you will gain insight into how pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacovigilance are combined in the investigation of the effects of medicines. Principles will largely be demonstrated within the European legislative context, whilst recognizing these general principles apply more broadly throughout the world.

Health economics

You will be introduced to the fundamental concepts involved in assessing the cost effectiveness of health technologies and methodologies used to assess the health related quality of life. Real world examples will be used to illustrate concepts.


An integrating project will enable you to demonstrate your global understanding of pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacovigilance.

Download full module specifications. [PDF, 9pp, 550KB]

How you study

As a distance learning student, you’ll receive:

Comprehensive learning materials

Your materials are provided via a dedicated Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). These include:

  • Fully interactive self-directed sessions on each topic;
  • Audio and video case studies;
  • A compendium of resources, including relevant papers and reports.
  • Access to the University of London and LSHTM online library resources.

Tutorial support

Staff involved in the on-campus course at the School will support this course between the beginning of November and the end of May. You’ll also be allocated a personal advisor who will advise on your project. 

Networking opportunities

Though much of the work is by self-directed learning, you are encouraged to take part in module-specific discussions and real-time tutorials available on the VLE.

Summary of key dates

Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacovigilance
Application deadline 15 October
Registration deadline 31 October
Programme starts 1 November

Your time commitment

The anticipated time required to complete the course is 300 study hours - roughly 100 of which will be dedicated to the project.

Quality assurance

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is a highly respected world leader in this field. This course is established on-campus and is moderated annually by an exam board and an external examiner.

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