Master of Science in Tropical Animal Health (MSTAH)

Introduction: The MSTAH will be offered as a 2-year blended programme (combined web-based and face-to-face) in collaboration with the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases of the University of Pretoria, South-Africa (UP). The programme is designed to allow participants to combine work and study (partially done from your home). It contains the following components: a compulsory field workshop, 4 compulsory online core modules, advanced modules that you can choose (to support your specific career path) and a dissertation.
Content: Following an integrated One Health approach, the programme focuses on: the relationships between infectious and parasitic diseases of animals and humans (zoonoses), diseases and ecosystem health in order to improve disease control strategies, ecosystem sustainability, food security and rural development. It will support the building of capacity to meet the challenges to the health of people, livestock and wildlife at such interfaces and at the same time building capacity that can influence the policy process to increase recognition and realization of the One Health concept when dealing with livestock, human and wildlife diseases in the tropics.
Audience: the MSTAH primarily aims to address an international audience:
- Involved in tropical livestock and wildlife health, management and production in support of rural development.
- Wishing to integrate the impact of the diseases and control activities on the local ecosystems in order to increase knowledge and effectiveness of control strategies.

Learning Objectives

  • Develop and/or improve strategies to control infectious and parasitic diseases of animals and humans (zoonoses) using a One Health conceptual approach.
  • Give recommendations on the control of tropical animal diseases and zoonoses.
  • Recognize and assess the economic and public health importance of animal health in Low and Middle Income Countries.
  • Define and apply the concepts and principles of field and laboratory diagnosis of infectious and parasitic diseases of livestock and wildlife including aspects of specimen collection and shipment, interpretation of laboratory results and basic laboratory management.
  • Explain and apply general epidemiological concepts, quantification of disease prevalence and incidence, sampling designs and basic statistics.
  • Plan and undertake a research project, collecting and analysing experimental and epidemiological data, scientific writing, and preparation and presenting of a research protocol.
  • Critically assess obtained results and literature.
  • Clearly communicate orally and in writing with professional and scientific audiences.
  • Effectively work in multidisciplinary teams.


The programme is designed to allow participants to combine work and study.

Teaching and learning methods

The modular programme is structured in such a way that a student can, by selecting the appropriate elective modules (theory-based online modules or skills-based modules), achieve a qualification that will support various career paths, including microbiology or parasitology, veterinary field services, or general veterinary practice, to name a few. The degree has a modular structure in order to ensure flexibility, with continued assessments throughout each module. The MSc contains the following components:
  1. A compulsory induction/field-workshop that will take place at the Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Onderstepoort Campus, Pretoria, South Africa, and at the Hans Hoheisen Wildlife Research Station, situated at the Orpen gate of the Kruger National Park in the Mpumalanga Lowveld, South Africa.
  2. Four compulsory online core modules: to be done from your home.
  3. Elective modules: see advanced modules mentioned here above. The total amount of credits for electives is minimum 16 ECTS credits and maximum 18 ECTS credits and you can choose maximum 2 skills-based modules. This means, you can only choose from the following options: ‘4 x 4 ECTS credit modules’ OR ‘3 x 4 ECTS credit modules and 2 x 3 ECTS credit modules’ OR ‘2 x 4 ECTS credit modules and 3 x 3 ECTS credit modules’ OR ‘ 1 x 4 ECTS credit modules and 4 x 3 ECTS credit modules’. You can choose from theory-based online modules (to be done from your home) and skills-based modules that partially will take place at the University of Pretoria/ITM and partially will be given online (blended format: e-learning and face-to-face teaching). Travel to UP or ITM is thus required for the skills-based modules (maximum 2 weeks per module). The location of the practical part depends on the number of students per module and the institution at which they will do their thesis. Exception: the complete Applied Epidemiology module will take place at ITM and will take 3 weeks (no online part). If you want to follow this module, you first have to obtain 70% on the ‘Advanced Epidemiology’ module.
  4. Dissertation
Induction Workshop: 31 January first year - 8 February first year (dates not definite yet)
Online Core Modules: beginning February first year - end May first year
Elective Modules and Dissertation: June first year - end second year
The e-learning component of the degree programme will be presented on the clickUP Learning Management System (LMS). ClickUP is the University of Pretoria's brand name for Blackboard LearnTM.


The assessment methods are varied in each module.
For the online parts, a combination of the following methods is used: quiz, blog, discussion forum, exercises, wiki, open questions, power point presentation.
For the practical parts, a practical skills examination is added.

Admission requirements

  1. A primary university degree in life sciences (min. 4 years) equivalent to 240 ECTS (in the European Union called a Master degree) that is at least level 8 according to SAQA regulations (South African Qualifications Authority). You can have your diploma already validated via (go to services - evaluation of foreign qualifications).
  2. Proficiency in the course language (English). If your university studies were done in English: you are exempted of a language certificate. If this is not the case: an officially recognised proficiency language certificate is mandatory. Required level for English: TOEFL paper-based 580, computer-based 230, Internet-based 88 or IELTS 6.5 (ITM Toefl Code 7727).
  3. For on campus activities, a laptop is required. If you participate in the online modules from your home country, access to a computer at work or at home is required. Working from an internet cafe is not adequate when you register for this programme!
  4. Minimum computer specifications: Windows 7, 8 or 10; Apple OSX 10, 10+ or Linux. Broadband: ADSL, Fibre or 3G. Browsers: Internet Explorer 11 or the newest Safari, Chrome, Firefox. You will also need an internet service provider to connect you to the Internet.
  5. Minimum computer skills: Create, edit and save a Microsoft Word document on your computer. Receive, open and send e-mail, and attach documents to an e-mail message. Use a browser (e.g. Internet Explorer) to access the internet, conduct searches, download and upload documents. Install and uninstall software on your computer. For some modules you will be required to create a basic Microsoft PowerPoint presentation.
  6. Only if you want to apply for a DGD scholarship: at least two years of relevant professional experience is required. Please note that internships and prior thesis work are not considered as professional experience. Other requirements for the DGD scholarship: please check
Note: you will need to provide the following documents:
Obligatory: a motivation letter, your CV, a certified copy of all your university diplomas and all your grade sheets, a passport size photograph, a copy of your passport, contact details of 2 references (plus they have to send in a reference letter) and the form that indicates your module preferences.
Optional: a list of publications, an official language certificate (TOEFL or IELTS) if your university studies were not done in English, the 'DGD scholarship application form' if you meet the DGD requirements, the ‘Funding of studies’ form if you are not eligible for a DGD scholarship.
(Forms are presented in the second stage of the application procedure.)

Selection criteria

  • Primary Diploma & Grades
  • Motivation Letter
  • Relevant professional experience
  • Completeness of the application dossier


The schedule is subject to change, depending on the number of students enrolled for a module (min 3 students per module).


This programme is accredited by :


Programme director: Pierre Dorny
Coordinator (s): Mieke Stevens
Secretary: Nadia Ehlinger
Tel: +32 (0)3 247 63 52


The course study load is equivalent to 60 ECTS credits (European Credit Transfer and accumulation System credits).