Teaching on the Wellcome Trust PhD at Imperial College London's School of Public Health

Programme details

Year 1

The 4-year programme begins with a 1-year specialist MRes course. During this first year, students will undertake core training one day each week, including sessions on infectious disease epidemiology, statistics, infectious disease modelling, bioinformatics, genetics and evolution, programming skills and technical workshops. In addition, the MRes course will include a component of generic skills training, including seminars and workshops on grant writing, peer review, information retrieval, ethics, academic writing and presentation.

Alongside the taught courses, students undertake two 5-month attachments in the research groups of potential PhD supervisors. Types of research project include extended systematic literature reviews, primary field data collection, secondary data analysis, laboratory-based analysis and mathematical modelling. During these placements, students will be full members of the research group, attending group meetings and participating in internal seminars in the same manner as PhD students and postdoctoral staff. Year 1 will be assessed on the basis of written reports and oral presentations of the two projects. In addition, students need to pass a separate grant writing exercise as part of the core development programme.

Years 2-4

At the end of the first-year students who have achieved a Merit or better in the MRes will move onto the PhD programme. The School of Public Health provides a comprehensive research training programme for all PhD students. In addition, students receive general training in transferable skills through the highly rated Graduate School.

The Department provides further technical training for PhD students via lunch-time courses which are open to both students and postdoctoral staff (for example, computer programming, statistical inference, genetics and evolution), and via informal research discussion groups (again for both students and postdoctoral staff). Students are expected to attend the weekly Departmental research seminars, and are encouraged to be active members of the academic community of the MRC Centre and Department.

Throughout the 4-year programme students will also be members of the Graduate School. The Graduate School provides an award-winning and internationally renowned programme of transferable skills training, including personal development & effectiveness, presentation skills, project management, networking and research ethics. There is also a three-day residential course in research and professional skills development which all students are strongly encouraged to attend at the beginning of Year 2.


These 4-year PhD Programme in Epidemiology, Evolution and Control of Infectious Diseases studentships provides generous support, including a tax-free stipend to cover living expenses currently £17,285 in the first year, rising to £18,000 for the next 3 years.

Please note that this does not include MRC Doctoral Training Programme (DTP) studentships for which a separate application process should be followed. Applications for the 2021/22 MRC DTP studentships are now open, with a deadline date of 7 January 2021 for 2021 entry. UK applicants are also encouraged to apply to this scheme, in which successful students are able to join this 4-year programme.

The J-IDEA PhD programme is a separate 3,5 year interdisciplinary training in epidemiology, public health, health economics, mathematical modelling, machine learning, statistics, and computational methods. This programme is based in J-IDEA within the School of Public Health. 

Additional self-funded places on the 1-year MRes course only will also be available.  If you are interested in applying, please apply via the MRes Biomedical Research website.

Research areas

Both the MRes and PhD projects are embedded within the wider research in the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology. The research in the department focuses on the transmission, evolution and control of infectious diseases in both human and animal populations. A particular strength is in epidemiological and genetic analysis and mathematical modelling.  

The work in the department spans a wide range of disease areas, including emerging infectious diseases, HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, polio, influenza, mosquito-borne viral infections, sexually transmitted infections, neglected tropical diseases and bacterial and fungal infections. Since much of our research has direct relevance to policy, we work in close partnership with a wide range of public and global health organisations – including Public Health England (PHE) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).  

More details about the research in the department can be found on the research theme page. The supervisors page also gives brief details of the research interests of the supervisors involved in this PhD programme, including those who collaborate from other faculties across Imperial.