MSc in International Health and Tropical Medicine
This course is a full-time, one-year multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary programme that examines major challenges to the health of populations in resource-limited contexts. Embedded within the Oxford Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, the course benefits from the Centre's reputation and expertise in Global Health research and practice.
In this videos, Professor Sarah Rowland-Jones and Dr Proochista Ariana explain what the course is about:
This course is referred to as the International Health and Tropical Medicine, but I don't think it hugely differs from what people mean by global health. The important elements are looking at health in its broad context of the environment, the health of the planet as a whole, and also in resource limited settings, access to health and issues of equity.
The course is aimed at global health leaders, it's for future decision makers who want to navigate the breadth of global health evidence to inform decision making for viable and sustainable solutions with resource limitations. The course is also for people who are looking to develop innovative solutions to complex problems in resource limited settings, and who appreciate that these complex situations require an interdisciplinary approach in reaching these solutions.
This is not primarily a medical sub-specialization course. There are other courses that will train physicians who want to specialise in tropical medicine. But this course is much more about the interdisciplinary approach, and bringing together a diversity of expertise and not just medicine.
We've had four cohorts so far on the course, a total of 78 students from 38 different countries. The students in the course have come from a wide range of backgrounds, many of them are health professionals, medicine, nursing, physiotherapy, pharmacy, but also people with backgrounds in anthropology, urban planning, social science, nutritional sciences and so on. It's been a very diverse range of experiences that people bring to this course. It's still a young course so we're still learning about where people go from after graduating. Some have gone to international organizations and some to the ministries of health of their home countries.
What makes the course unique of all the different public health, international health, global health courses that are out there, is the breadth of topics that we cover in this course. We cover the epidemiology and statistics, the health economics, but we also do qualitative methods, mixed methods, social science, paradigms and tools, health systems and policy research as well as ethics. And we'd look at health problems as they manifest in resource limited context, what's unique about that, and what are unique solutions that work within resource limitations.
We're also unique in that we provide our students with a lot of leadership and communication skills, skills that will help them translate the evidence that they're generating or working with into solutions and that are viable and sustainable within those contexts. In recognizing that in order to be leaders in global health, it's not enough to just have the evidence, but how you can use that evidence to persuade decisions in developing solutions to complex problems. We provide training in communicating with different audiences be that a policy audience, an academic audience, a public audience or through the media. So we provide specific training in that as well as debate training in how to construct arguments and be persuasive.
Another unique part of this course is the opportunity to do a placement, a research placement with one of our collaborators. Some of these placements are in Oxford but the majority are overseas, so people have the opportunity to learn in a new setting to them and to develop a research project in a topic or an area that interests them, and people really gain a lot from this time overseas which is the whole of the final term of the course.
We are embedded within the Center for Tropical Medicine and Global Health and draw teaching from across the Oxford tropical network. So we have researchers embedded in the field doing the research in the context and coming to our course to teach our students which is very valuable.
It is a very intensive course and it takes full time commitment for that one year on the cours. It's front loaded in terms of contact time. The first term you have a lot of in-class time a lot of group work a lot of peer learning as well as having the lectures and the discussion groups. The second term is a bit lighter in contact time but you have a lot more independent work that you do during that period. And then the third term, as we discussed, you have the placement where you're sent overseas to do a project that will be independent.
We've been very fortunate in the first few years of the course to have a great diversity amongst the students, both of their background and experience, and also the countries in which from which they come. So, in many ways, the students learn as much from each other as they do from their formal teaching, and we hope that that will give some bonds and networks that they go on to build on and get benefit from as they go out into their separate jobs in in the future.
We do have a very strong alumni network over the four years of the cohort. They continue to work together, they continue to learn from each other, they continue to share experiences and resources, and innovate projects that we support on the course, and we encourage these innovations