The Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases encompasses laboratory-based research as well as research on the clinical and epidemiological aspects of infectious and tropical diseases.
The range of disciplines represented is very broad and interdisciplinary research is a feature of much of the activity. The spectrum of diseases studied is wide, including major groups with a focus on malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, eye disease, vaccine evaluation, and vector biology and control. The Faculty is organised into four research departments comprising: Clinical Research; Disease Control; Immunology and Infection; and Pathogen Molecular Biology.
The Faculty has strong overseas links which provide a basis for field studies and international collaborations in developed and developing countries for DrPH and PhD students interested in global health. The Faculty provides a stimulating environment for research and postgraduate teaching at the doctoral level. Funding opportunities for research degrees training include Medical Research Council Studentships, studentships held jointly with other colleges of the Bloomsbury Colleges, and funded Graduate Teaching Assistantships available for designated areas of research. In the last few years substantial investment has provided newly refurbished and modern facilities for laboratory-based research.
The number of research students in 2014/15 from different regions of the world was::
Rest of Europe: 20
Rest of the World: 64
The wide range of scientific interests and the geographic diversity of the research projects offer a unique opportunity for prospective research students to participate in the work of a dynamic and stimulating group of internationally renowned researchers. The Faculty welcomes applications from students wishing to study for either a PhD or DrPH. Research students become members of one of the four Research Departments, participating in the full range of the Department's academic and social activities. Students are allocated a supervisor, and hence a Research Department, based on their research interests and disciplinary area. A comprehensive research skills training programme is provided. Meetings and social events are organised at intervals throughout the year to encourage students to get to know each other and to develop a supportive environment.
The School's wide-ranging research programmes examine ways of improving and promoting health and health services and investigate the aetiology, diagnosis and prevention or control of both communicable and non-communicable diseases.
Basic laboratory research aims to improve understanding of the molecular mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions, and more applied work investigates diagnostic methods and therapeutic intervention. Research covers a wide range of topics and areas; these can be found by looking at the Department pages below.
The work of the School is multidisciplinary and therefore much of its research crosses disciplines, departments and faculties. This is enhanced by interfaculty centres and groups that focus on specific issues. Many research programmes are carried out in collaboration with institutions outside the UK. Such collaborative work enhances the quality of the training experience and is one of the unique aspects of training at the School.
The MPhil and PhD are aimed at students who anticipate a career in which research plays a major role and who want to focus on an independent piece of research.
The British MPhil and PhD research degrees involve the presentation of a thesis on a research topic in a field appropriate to the student's or sponsor's needs and the School's research expertise. All students initially register for an MPhil. Although some students choose to take an MPhil only (2 year programme), most go on to a PhD (3-4 year programme). An option for students without previous academic training in their discipline of interest is to undertake an appropriate MSc as a first step before registering for a PhD.
Each student is assigned to a supervisor, under whose guidance they develop the intellectual and technical skills required for a research career. Although the earlier stages of the degree may include some coursework or formal training in research methodology, such work is normally regarded as establishing the necessary grounding for research study, rather than as an integral part of an MPhil/PhD degree. In this respect the British system differs from that at most North American and other European universities, where coursework is regarded as part of the degree and is included in the formal examination process. In particular, in the UK the degree is awarded only on the basis of the work described in the thesis.
Students are normally expected to submit their thesis within 3 years of full-time study or 5 years part-time. The maximum period of registration permitted is 4 years full-time or 6 years part-time. Students are not required to spend the entire period of study in London, but must spend at least 9 months full-time in London. Students usually spend the first 9 to 12 months at the School to prepare for an upgrading process from MPhil to PhD towards the end of the first year. In the second year, students continue laboratory work or carry out data collection/fieldwork either at or away from the School. Students who leave the School to do fieldwork go on Research Study Leave. In the third and/or fourth year, students analyse and write up their research to prepare the thesis for submission.
It is strongly recommended that students commence their programme in the autumn term in order to take advantage of structured induction activities and be able to register for appropriate taught modules.
The School requires students who apply for part-time study to be available to study for at least two days per week. A letter from your employer is required to confirm that at least two days per week will be permitted for work on your degree.
Part-time students who are employed at one of the School's specifically approved institutions may be able to carry out their research at their place of employment under the guidance of a supervisor at the School. Students interested in this method of study should contact the Registry for advice.
Those interested in applying for PhD study should identify a research department with interests that match their own and contact the Department Research Degrees Co-ordinator for more details. Please refer to the How to Apply section for information on how to apply for a place at the School.
How to apply
Application for London-based Study
Please apply using our online application form.
Paper application forms are available upon request and will normally incur an administration fee of £50. You must send a copy of the personal details and photograph page of your passport with all paper applications. Your application will not be considered until you have provided the above documents.
Applications for admission to the School should be made to the Registry and not directly to academic faculties. All applicants should include with their application a short research proposal (maximum 1,500 words including footnotes and references). This should indicate the area in which the student wishes to specialise enabling the application to be directed to appropriate potential supervisors. The research proposal is also an important way of indicating the extent to which the student already understands the background to their proposed research, and the range of methods which may be employed. In addition, it will help the School to decide whether coursework may be required in the first year.