Professional Certificate in Pharmacoepidemiology & Pharmacovigilance Short Course
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Professional Certificate in Pharmacoepidemiology & Pharmacovigilance Short Course

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Also available via distance learning

Professional Certificate (30 credits)

The global health challenge of maximising drug safety yet maintaining public confidence has become increasingly complex. Pharmaceutical companies are required to employ named members of staff responsible for pharmacovigilance. Health authorities grapple with the need to provide quality care whilst containing a burgeoning drug budget. Regulatory authorities must balance the potential benefits of new drugs with varying levels of suspicion of their potential harm. 

This 30-week examined training in pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacovigilance addresses the increasing need for well informed professionals to work in all areas related to the assessment of drug safety and risk-benefit of drug use. 

It is an introductory course and should meet the needs of a wide variety of practitioners. The variety of backgrounds and the knowledge possessed by lecturers ensures that the course has a sound mixture of the theoretical and the practical issues surrounding drug safety.


 The course is part-time and comprises 300 hours (approximately one day per week on average) which are spent as follows: 80 hours formal teaching and contact time, 120 hours self-directed study and 100 hours project work.


This course may be included as part of a Professional Development Plan.

Who should apply for this course?

The course is aimed at personnel concerned with the safe use of medicines, particularly in developed countries, including those working (or intending to work) in:

  • the pharmaceutical industry who are involved in drug development, licensing, and surveillance
  • regulatory bodies who are involved in licensing and surveillance
  • the health service who are involved in drug policy, and
  • health policy decision-making agencies
Course objectives

Aims & Objectives

The aim of this well established training programme is to equip students with a basic understanding of the concepts and practice of pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacovigilance. By the end of the programme, students should be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of, and critically evaluate, issues surrounding the risks and benefits of drug use in humans including the cause, manifestations and consequences of adverse drug effects (ADEs), the manner of which these are detected and monitored, and the related historic and legal frameworks
  • be familiar with and compare fundamental statistical, economic and epidemiological concepts and methods
  • gain an understanding of, and reflect upon, important pharmacoepidemiological concepts and methods and how these methods can be applied to specific drug issues and pharmaceutical risk management
  • assess and critically analyse the results of pharmacoepidemiological studies (other investigators'), including critical appraisal of the study question, study design, methods and conduct, statistical analyses and interpretation

View programme specification

Course Content

The curriculum will provide an introduction to epidemiology, statistics, pharmacoepidemiology and health economics. It will also cover the historical and legal background to pharmacovigilance and pharmacoepidemiology, and pharmacological basis of ADEs, addressing ADE issues at individual and population levels, and the application of pharmacoepidemiological principles and methods to practical drug issues.

Teaching Methods

Teaching will include traditional lectures and seminar/workshops during formal teaching, self-directed learning in between formal teaching and self-directed (but supervised) project work. Workshops will address topics such as designing a pharmacoepidemiological study, critical appraisal of published papers, developing risk management plans and responding to a drug safety alert. The self-directed component will be facilitated by the provision of detailed course material. Students will be provided with a reading list pertinent to the training.

The variety of backgrounds and the knowledge possessed by lecturers ensures that the course has a sound mixture of the theoretical and the practical issues surrounding drug safety. The teachers range from academic staff at the School, with expertise in areas such as pharmacology, epidemiology and statistics, to senior practitioners in the international pharmaceutical industry, regulatory authorities, and public health who have practical expertise in pharmacovigilance and pharmacoepidemiology.

Methods of assessment

The course is examined through unseen written examinations and submission of a written project, the subject of which is determined by the course organiser. All materials for the project will be provided, and each student will be supported by an academic adviser. Additionally two lectures on the chosen topic will be included in the syllabus.


The Course

"Very informative with good workshops and high quality teaching"

"Lecturers with extensive practical experience, will definitely recommend the course"

"Really enjoyed the workshops with examples to work through - made it easier to learn"

"Lecturers and workshops are of very high quality"

"Overall atmosphere - a fun way to learn, with stimulating interactive sessions"

"Some tough subjects dealt with in a very entertaining way which made them easier to understand"

"Teaching quality - leaders in the industry!"

"Thank you, I enjoyed it very much and learned a lot"

"All lecturers are very enthusiastic, interesting and knowledgeable. Makes the content fun and enjoyable.

Specific Lectures

"Thoroughly enjoyed this talk and could have listened to more. Especially liked the RMP proposals" (The EMEA and the EU risk management guideline)

"Particularly enjoyed these lectures. I didn't think it was possible to put something so difficult in such simple terms. Content, pitch, speed and delivery were wonderful." ( Multivariable analysis and propensity scores)

"Just like the Clinical Trials lecture, this was brilliant. Both these lecture have given me something that I'll have to practice during my work to try to become proficient" (Meta analysis of Randomized Trials)

"First time I've got to grips with concept of meta analysis." (Critical appraisal of meta analysis

"The workshop was brilliant! Great way to demonstrate the applications and explain the difficulties in this field of work" (Structured examination of a response to an ADR alert)

"Excellent lecturer - topic not the easiest, but lecture kept lively with good examples. Good summary of the key message at the end" (Case only design and analysis)

How to apply

Applying for the course

We are no longer accepting applications for this course.


The student is responsible for obtaining any visa or other permissions to attend the course, and is encouraged to start the application process as early as possible as obtaining a visa for the UK can sometimes take a long time. The Short Courses team, in the Registry, can provide supporting documentation if requested.

Accommodation and meals

A list of hotels and other accommodation located in the vicinity of the School can be supplied on request to the Registry. Lunch can be purchased from the School's Refectory in the Keppel Street building or the cafe on the Tavistock Place building. Evening meals are not catered for at the School, but there is a large choice of restaurants, cafes and shops nearby.

The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is committed to improving global health through its programme of short and full-time postgraduate study.

Please note:

  • If you have been offered a place on the course you will not be able to register without bringing formal ID (Passport) and without having obtained the correct visa.
  • It is essential that you read the current visa requirements for short course students.
  • The School may cancel courses two weeks before the first day of the course if numbers prove insufficient.  In those circumstances, course fees will be refunded.
  • The School cannot accept responsibility for accommodation, travel and other losses incurred as a result of the course being cancelled.
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