Master of Veterinary Public Health (Emergency Animal Diseases)

Course MC-VPHEAD (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Year and Campus: 2014 - Parkville
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 200 credit points taken over 48 months part time.


Dr Simon Firestone


Faculty of Veterinary Science
University of Melbourne
Victoria 3010
+61 (0)3 8344 7357

Course Overview:

The Master of Veterinary Public Health (Emergency Animal Diseases) is an online Masters degree for veterinarians, animal scientists and animal health workers to enable them to work effectively in organised responses to emergency animal disease occurrences, in Australia and internationally.

For the past 25 years the animal health and quarantine services in the Commonwealth and State governments have encouraged continuing education and have provided a number of short courses in “exotic” diseases for graduate veterinarians to promptly detect, control and eradicate newly introduced and other emergency diseases. This course enhances and formalises this training and educational experience by providing co-ordinated and targeted modules to cover the skills that have been identified from experience in recent emergency diseases situations, such as Hendra virus infections and the 2007 outbreak of equine influenza in Australia.

This program has been developed in direct partnership with CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory and the Victoria State Government’s Department of Primary Industries. The course has been tailored to suit experienced full time animal health professionals, expecting to remain in employment whilst studying part-time. The online method of delivery and broad range of elective topics will provide students with flexibility and allow them to manage their study commitments and educational needs.

The first subject (VETS50003 Selection and Interpretation of Laboratory Tests) is taught as a short residential course to cover hands-on experience and to personally introduce students to each other as well as to their future tutors and mentors to ensure that they are familiar with the resources and requirements of online learning.

The Postgraduate Certificate in Veterinary Public Health (Emergency Animal Diseases) and the Postgraduate Diploma in Veterinary Public Health (Emergency Animal Diseases) are available as early exit options from this Masters course.

Subjects in the Master of Veterinary Public Health (Emergency Animal Diseases) program may be studied individually under the Community Access Program, without applying for the full program. Any such successfully completed subjects may later be credited towards the Master, Diploma or Certificate level degrees in Veterinary Public Health (Emergency Animal Diseases).

Learning Outcomes:

This course will reinforce and strengthen all the graduate attributes that will have already been achieved by the participants by way of their primary degree and work experience before enrolling in this Masters course.

Academic excellence will be fostered by utilising the high level professional skills of internationally recognised experts in technical content and adult learning.

This course involves subject material across a wide range of disciplines including veterinary science, management, leadership, outbreak risk assessment, decision-making and communication. Participants in the course will be veterinarians, animal scientists and animal health professionals who are already in positions that bring them into professional contact with the general public and where they are involved in providing leadership in technical matters.

This course specifically addresses issues of leadership development for responding to emergency situations in the community. Emergency diseases are often transboundary diseases, which are not confined by national borders and thus require multinational approaches to achieving their control.

Working professionally across cultures and social groups is critical both at official levels and also at local levels to ensure community involvement in control programs. It is anticipated that this course will attract veterinarians, animal scientists and animal health professionals from around the world, including from developing countries, and cultural diversity will be deliberately used when assigning students to syndicate work projects.

This course focuses on dealing with animal health issues that are global issues and which require global, regional and local approaches. It is expected that graduates will be prepared and sensitised to opportunities to work at a global, regional or local level, either within their own State or national agencies or through one of the many international veterinary and public health agencies and non-governmental organisations.

The student body, both graduate and undergraduate, within the veterinary faculty already has considerable cultural and national diversity and there is a lot of experience in working within such dynamic and diverse cohorts of students.

Course Structure & Available Subjects:

This course is comprised of 13 compulsory subjects, which are typically completed sequentially.

The remaining 25 points (to make up the total 200 points for the course) can be taken by completing pre-approved electives, which may be taken in other faculties or schools (such as the Graduate School of Management or the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health), and in other relevant approved graduate programs in veterinary public health.

Students will enrol in this course on a part-time basis.

Subject Options:

Core subjects

Thirteen subjects (Total 175 credit points).

The availability of each subject within a given year will depend on class enrolments. Refer to the Veterinary Public Health website for further information on recommended study plans and subject sequences.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Not offered in 2014
Not offered in 2014
Not offered in 2014
Not offered in 2014

Elective subjects

Plus 25 points of Electives. List of approved electives.

Entry Requirements:

Applicants selected for the course must either have:

  • a degree in Veterinary Science, or an equivalent qualification from a veterinary school listed in the World Health Organization Directory of Veterinary Schools; AND at least 2 years of documented relevant work experience in the diagnosis and control of animal diseases,


  • an undergraduate degree in a relevant scientific field (such as agriculture or biology), with a demonstrated appropriate background in Master of Veterinary Public Health (Emergency Animal Diseases) core curriculum areas including veterinary anatomy, physiology, pathology and microbiology, and at least 4 years of documented relevant work experience in the diagnosis and control of animal disease (for example, as a government employed Animal Health Officer).

All students must meet the University of Melbourne's English language requirement and the Selection Committee may conduct interviews or tests and may call for referee reports or employer references to elucidate any of the matters referred to above.

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:

Graduate Attributes:

Graduates will have specialised knowledge and skill as required to fill most vital professional roles in emergency animal disease preparedness and response, and be able to investigate, analyse, synthesise and reflect critically on complex information and problems.

Graduates will be aware of the epidemiological, economic, environmental, political, social and welfare factors behind outbreaks of emergency animal disease and disease emergence.

The specialist skills and knowledge achieved will allow veterinarians and animal health professionals to provide advanced services, lead and manage important aspects of emergency animal disease responses, in Australia and internationally.

Generic Skills:

Students in the Master of Veterinary Public Health (Emergency Animal Diseases) should:

  • Possess medium- to high-level computing skills;
  • Apply critical and analytical skills to the identification and resolution of problems;
  • Communicate effectively; and
  • Have good time management skills.
Links to further information:

Reliable internet access with at least a medium speed connection and a personal computer are essential for undertaking this online program. The content is accessed through your web browser. Microsoft Office™ and Adobe Acrobat Reader or equivalent software packages are necessary for assessment tasks, assignments and some class exercises.

This course does not have a CRICOS code and will not enable a student to obtain a visa to study in Australia.

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