We hope that you and your loved ones remain well in these challenging times. 

We are writing to you in our capacity as MSc Epidemiology Programme Co-Directors, Professor Matthew Fisher and Professor Edward Gregg. You currently hold an offer from us to commence study on the MSc Epidemiology in October 2021 and we are looking forward to welcoming you to the School of Public Health at the start of the new academic year.  

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in order to ensure that your degree programme can be safely delivered, we are writing to update you on how the College is planning to support a safe return to study and on how we intend to deliver your programme in 2021-22. 

We will expect you to be in London from the start of the autumn term and for the whole of the 2021-22 academic year in order that you can attend on-campus activities. We plan to deliver your programme through a combination of on-campus and online teaching activities (blended). 

We are planning for the most crucial and engaging learning opportunities to be delivered in-person and without social distancing in place. We anticipate UK government guidelines will support this decision by the time you arrive for the new academic year.  Lectures may be hosted online when this method is considered to be educationally beneficial to students, and when it is clear that online mode will reduce the risk of sustained COVID-19 transmission as our community emerges from the pandemic. We will use our experience of the past academic year when deciding how best to timetable your teaching. 

It is important to recognise that, depending on official government guidance throughout the entirety of the next academic year, the balance of on-campus and online teaching may be subject to change. However, we share students’ hopes that we will be able to offer on-campus learning activities consistently throughout the coming year. 

Further details on the mix of on-campus and online activities and support available to you in your department are provided in the programme delivery section of this letter. 

Institutional guarantees 

Our priority is for you to experience everything our campuses and London has to offer.  However, you will be expected to adhere to the safety measures in place at the College.  This may include requirements to undertake regular testing and to report the outcome of this testing to the College and strong expectations to have been vaccinated.  The completion of the required safety measures will ensure that we can keep the College community safe and satisfy the UK government and UK Public Health Authorities that we can continue with in-person on-campus activities, wherever possible.  

In the event that there is an escalation of the pandemic, then, in line with Public Health Advice from the UK Government, we may be required to suspend all on-campus activity. In the event of suspension of on-campus activities, these activities will be delivered to all students as an online alternative, that delivers the same approved learning outcomes.  No additional fees will be charged if the programme cannot be delivered within the advertised timeframe. However, we anticipate you will be able to complete the programme within the timescale previously advertised and the learning outcomes can be achieved with any such adjustment.  

Details for your programme are set out in this communication.  

Programme delivery 

Learning experience and commitment 

The delivery of our programme for the next academic year will be via blended learning. 

What is blended learning? 

Blended learning provides a combination of face-to-face / on-campus learning and scheduled teaching, with dynamic digital / online scheduled teaching plus activities and content that facilitate anytime/anyplace learning (defined as asynchronous learning). 

Your MSc Epidemiology programme will be delivered in a manner that blends asynchronous (individual and team work outside of the classroom) and synchronous (live) sessions, both on-campus and online, that will allow you to meet the learning outcomes of the programme. You will be expected to be able to join on campus activities from the start of the year (4 October 2021 onwards) and to have access to a computer/laptop and a reliable internet signal for the taught modules. This is because all learning material will be accessible through either Coursera or our internal Virtual Learning Environment (Blackboard) and Microsoft Teams. As Imperial students, you will have free access to these. 

We understand there are some reasons you may be delayed in being able to travel to London for the start of the academic year.  In these circumstances you will not be disadvantaged in your learning experience, and you will be temporarily provided with a remote alternative of any on-campus activities which you might miss/this programme. You should make contact via  msc-epidemiology@imperial.ac.ukif you anticipate not being able to travel to London for the start of term and would like to discuss your options with us. 

As a community, we have learnt a lot from this past year. Our combination of cutting-edge technology and academic excellence resulted in some new and creative ways of learning and engaging with each other on-campus and remotely. Many of the changes made to the learning experience have worked well, and therefore your department may retain some of these approaches in the new academic year to enhance your overall experience on-campus, and these are specified in this communication.  

As you are aware the programme is a 1 year/full-time programme, which requires a consistent and dedicated commitment throughout the academic year.  

Our programme will be delivered via a blended learning model, this means that you will:  

  • engage/work through online content/resources asynchronously and independently in your own time, approx. 2-4 hours per teaching day. This time will vary from learner to learner and day to day. 

  • attend scheduled live sessions via Zoom and on-campus. 

  • a detailed schedule/timetable will be provided to you as part of your induction and welcome information. 

You will also have access to tutor groups to support you throughout your studies. 

Teaching Fellows will support students at programme and module level, responding to student queries via discussion forums and as part of live teaching sessions, alongside the module leads. 

Location 

On-campus teaching sessions are likely to be mostly scheduled at the St Marys  and Hammersmith campuses, with some potential sessions at South Kensington.  

Accessing the virtual learning environments 

We have an established partnership with Coursera and Blackboard, in delivering online education as part of our School’s Digital Education Strategy. We are experienced in designing, developing and delivering high quality online education to students, which means you will have access to our high quality and carefully designed teaching materials through the Coursera and Blackboard platforms for this programme. Blended teaching and learning on the programme will be delivered through the Coursera platform using a range of methods including: 

  • pre-recorded lectures and video capture 

  • slide-decks with audio commentary 

  • practical exercises in coding and analysis 

  • asynchronous peer-to-peer and staff-moderated discussion forums 

  • synchronous scheduled live tutorials/sessions via Zoom and/or on-campus 

  • discussion forums  

  • discussion prompts 

Synchronous scheduled live tutorials/sessions will be a combination of online Zoom sessions and on-campus face to face sessions.  

Induction and enrolment 

Online enrolment for Imperial College London typically opens at the beginning of September. If you have successfully met all of the conditions of your offer by this point, you will be able and asked to enrol online at this point. We strongly encourage you ensure you met any outstanding conditions of your offer by the beginning of the September to enable you to enrol successfully at the earliest point and have access to a bespoke and online School of Public Health Induction course, in good time prior to the on-campus induction week in October. This will allow you to familiarise yourself with the School, your programme, the platforms and student experience in advance of the start of the programme and set yourself up for success. 

Please read more about Imperial College enrolment via the webpages. 

If you have any queries about your offer of study, please contact via msc-epidemiology@imperial.ac.uk as soon as possible. The programme will start in the first week of October 2021 with an induction week, week commencing Monday 4th October 2021. 

The live induction activity will be blended with a mix of hosted online (via Zoom or Teams) and on-campus sessions during this first week for you to meet us, your fellow students on the programme, of other programmes, and your tutors. These induction sessions will also be an opportunity for you to familiarise yourselves with the online platforms and tools we will be using throughout the year, and for all of us to set expectations around the programme and online/on campus learning and teaching. Further details will be shared about this in due course. 

Throughout the year, we will continue with these opportunities to allow you to socialise and feel part of our cohort.  

To this effect, a Global Disease Masterclass seminar series will run throughout the Autumn term. The sessions be available for students to access online. This seminar series will not be compulsory for students to attend but provides access to and added value interaction as part of seminars/lectures from world-leading researchers within the fields of Public Health and Epidemiology. 

More information will follow regarding induction and enrolment as part of your Induction/Welcome pack later in the Summer.  

Programme structure and content 

Autumn term: 

  • Introduction to Statistical Thinking and Data Analysis (Core) 

  • Principles and Methods of Epidemiology (Core) 

  • Introduction to Infectious Disease Modelling (Core) 

  • Research Methods (Core) 

Spring term: 

Elective module choices (please note elective module choices are subject to change from year to year): 

  • Bayesian modelling for spatial and spatio-temporal data  

  • Further Methods in Infectious Disease Modelling (Pre-requisite for ‘Outbreaks’ module)  

  • Outbreaks  

  • Advanced Regression  

  • Emerging and Neglected Tropical Diseases  

  • Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology  

  • Genetics of Infectious Disease Pathogens  

  • Environmental Epidemiology 

  • Nutritional Epidemiology 

Summer term – your project 

One of the key features and experiences for you on the programme will be your Research Project. For Term 3, we anticipate your Research projects will go ahead as planned and they are expected to run as normal in most reasonable scenarios. If there any UK restrictions, the vast majority of projects would be able to run as normal and could be conducted remotely with regular meetings with your supervisors. 

You will spend 4 months dedicated to your research projects that are mostly drawn from active, ongoing research undertaken by Faculty, whilst there will be room for you to propose your own project as well. 

Assessments 

For the Autumn term 2021-22 all assessments will be completed in a timed remote format. Spring term assessments will be confirmed later in the year. Details of individual assessments will be provided in the Programme Handbook/Module handbooks at the start of term. 

Assessment submission and any time-based assessments will be facilitated through our Virtual Learning Environment (Blackboard). 

Assessment methods include: 

  • Essays 

  • Reports and paper reviews 

  • Open and closed book timed remote assessments 

  • Mini research project 

  • Individual and group presentations 

  • Video blogs 

  • Articles and case study reviews 

Detailed assessment guidance and briefs will be provided to you per module. 

Additional costs/technical requirements 

You will be required to have access to a computer and a reliable internet/wifi signal for the academic year, as you will be required to engage with/access asynchronous blended teaching and live sessions online, and you will need to cover any associated costs for these. There are no other expected additional costs (beyond those previously advertised) to participate in the programme. 

To access the content of the programme online you will be expected to have access to a computer (comparable to the laptop we offer for loan; HP EliteBook 840 G7, i5-10310U processor, 16Gb RAM, 256Gb solid state disk, 14” HD screen, Windows 10 Pro 64, webcam; see https://www8.hp.com/h20195/v2/GetDocument.aspx?docname=4AA7-6811ENUC), reliable internet connection with a minimum of sustained 10 MBps down/upload speed and be able to use Microsoft Teams. Your College IT account will provide you with free access to the Office365 suite of tools, and further information about how to use Microsoft Teams is available at https://www.imperial.ac.uk/admin-services/ict/self-service/connect-communicate/office-365/apps/microsoft-teams/ . 

Training and support for how to use other systems and software will be provided during the programme induction and through specific modules. 

Safety 

You will be required to follow the safety requirements put in place on campus and in all College buildings (including halls) to ensure we keep the campuses and the Imperial community safe and to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, particularly in our ability to deliver your degree programme and to offer you a full student experience.  

There will be requirements and expectations placed on you and other members of the College community to follow the safety measures put in place by the UK government and national and local public health authorities. You can view our current guidance for our community on our webpages. This may vary once we begin the academic year, but is likely to include undertaking regular testing for COVID-19 and to report the results of this testing to the College. There is also the strong expectation that you will have been vaccinated against Covid 19 or that you will take up the opportunity once in the UK, if vaccination is not available in your home country. Failure to follow the safety measures and report them to College may result in restrictions being imposed on the delivery of your degree programme and on your access to the wider student experience. 

Student Experience 

Your experience at Imperial goes beyond just your academic studies. With the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19), Imperial has been working with your Students’ Union to ensure that we are able to provide, enhance and facilitate all areas of your student experience in all eventualities.  We identified key pillars of the wider student experience:  academic experience; research culture and environment; amenities and accommodation; student community; wellbeing support; co-curricular activities and extra-curricular activities.  Information on how we will deliver these, along with information on our Library Services and College-wide induction arrangements, considering current social distancing restrictions, as well as a full lockdown, are set out on our COVID 19 pages.  

Visas and Immigration   

If you require a visa to study in the UK, it is important that you have read the guidance provided by the International Student Support Team at the College at https://www.imperial.ac.uk/study/international-students/visas-and-immigration/covid-19-and-your-immigration-status/  

You can read more about what you will need to do when you arrive in the UK at the support available to you at https://www.imperial.ac.uk/about/covid-19/students/arriving-in-the-uk/  

Imperial has a team of specialist immigration advisers who can provide specific advice on your immigration situation and on the best options for you. They can be reached by email on international@imperial.ac.uk . It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct immigration permission for your studies in the UK.  

How we can answer your questions 

As always, should you have any questions, please contact us via msc-epidemiology@imperial.ac.uk and we will be delighted to help with anything that you might need further information aboutIf you would like to explore what will be available to you as an Imperial College London student when you join, you can read more here: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/study/pg/ 

On this site you will find the latest guidance for  applicants and offer holders at https://www.imperial.ac.uk/study/covid-19/teaching/  

You can also discover how Imperial is combatting coronavirus at https://www.imperial.ac.uk/about/covid-19/ 

Thank you for choosing the School of Public Health and Imperial College London as the institution to undertake your postgraduate studies. We are enthusiastic about you joining our outstanding student body, and look forward to welcoming you in the Autumn term. 

 

With all good wishes, 

Professor Matthew Fisher and Professor Edward Gregg  

MSc Epidemiology Programme Co-Directors