2021/22 Part-time Postgraduate course
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
School of Biomedical Sciences
This course is taught online so you can study where you want, when you want.
The programme provides postgraduate training in Veterinary Public Health.
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Veterinary Public Health (VPH) is a subject area which includes all aspects of public health that can be protected or improved by application of veterinary science. It links the animal and human health with the environment and plays a pivotal role in the development of an integrated ‘farm to fork’ approach to food safety. This programme is designed to provide postgraduate and professionally relevant advanced training in VPH. The programme focuses on the core domains of VPH in relation to the regulatory responsibilities of the official veterinarians for the protection of animal health and welfare and human health.
This programme enables official veterinarians to meet the demands for straightforward and clear answers regarding the potential risks (both microbial and non-microbial) associated with the consumption of, or exposure to, products of animal origin, issues of animal welfare and protection of the environment. This programme fulfils the additional requirement for the training of official veterinarians as set out in European Regulation 854/2004.
This is a part-time programme which is entirely internet delivered. European and global experts in veterinary science, law, economics, and policy contribute to the course. The awards are granted jointly between the Ulster University (UK), and University College Dublin (IRL).
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This programme provides students with broad knowledge and understanding of veterinary public health and promotes their ability to assess available evidence and data, make sound judgements and communicate findings effectively to all stakeholders in the food chain – producers, regulators, industry and consumers. Relevant EU food regulatory policy is integrated within the lectures and translated into a coherent regulatory framework so that students will grasp the complex idea of total regulation of the food chain from primary production through to consumer health issues. Core domains of VPH are addressed in relation to the regulatory responsibilities of the veterinarians and the protection of animal health and welfare and human health.
Teaching is through online lectures, online discussions, individual support, video and internet links with staff, independent learning, and work in small groups.
This course is delivered fully online.
The programme consists of modules at master’s level (level 7), and aims to provide a broad range of learning experiences that will enable students to enhance their knowledge and skills. The learning experience provided will encourage students to become active and motivated learners, who can seek information, question and analyse its validity and draw appropriate and logical conclusions.
The overall aim of these courses is to provide an academically challenging and professionally relevant focussed, programme of study for those who wish to develop their careers in Veterinary Public Health. The course will also provide the student with opportunity for critical reflection and evaluation of current practice and policy, enabling lifelong learning and fostering continuing professional development. This is in line with two of the University’s strategic teaching and learning aims: to promote and foster creativity and innovation in curriculum design and delivery and to promote learning, professionalism and employability through the integration of academic theory and relevant professional expertise.
All students will be provided online with a course handbook which contains details of the organization of teaching and learning, and the programme-wide arrangements for submission of work and return of assessed material, as well as specific details regarding the expectations of the programme team. All modules will be hosted on-line within BBLearn and, in addition to core module content, will contain all relevant details regarding module content, and a schedule of events, information on assessment, including marking schemes, and any other relevant information.
BBLearn is the online teaching tool for the University and is used extensively in the modules delivered on the PgCert Veterinary Public Health programme. eLearning at the University of Ulster facilitates a number of distance-learning courses, in which teaching and learning are delivered to students primarily via eLearning. BBLearn, which is also increasingly used to supplement campus-based programmes, provides an alternative and stimulating learning environment. eLearning at the University of Ulster includes personalised online access to course material, university library systems, academic and student support programs, and electronic communication tools. E-learning is therefore fully blended into the traditional delivery of on campus material. Training in BBLearn is readily available to teaching staff via the University’s Staff Development section, and an increasing number of campus-delivered modules are supplemented with a range of materials presented via BBLearn. All students are informed about the availability of, and have access to, the set of on-line tutorials regarding general and specific use of BBLearn. Students are also provided with personal support from technical and academic staff if required.
Students learn by a variety of means and these programmes will use a variety of methods to support and enhance the student learning experience:
Encouraging contact between students and staff
The Subject team seeks to encourage contact between students and staff as illustrated through induction processes, student-staff consultation and personal development planning (PDP).
Induction processes: At registration all students are given access to the BBLearn Student Orientation Course which aims to help students become familiar with the VLE and how to use it effectively to assist with their learning activities. This course helps students to gain the skills necessary to learn effectively in an online environment. The course introduces students, not only to the various policies and procedures that they are expected to follow, but also the scope and sources of support that they may need as they establish themselves at the Ulster. In particular, these include the University Handbook, Student Charter and support charters, academic calendar, link to Library Skills Training page and all the essential tools necessary to access course materials, communicate with classmates and tutors, submit assignments, take tests and check their grades. The Course Director contacts the students at this starting point and provides advice, information and a detailed Programme Handbook.
Studies advice: Ulster has a formal Code of Practice for Advisors of Study (Programme Approval Management and Review Handbook, 2012). Subject specific advice is provided through Module Coordinators while the Course Director acts as mentor and provides personal/academic guidance to students on an individual basis. Distance learning students also receive studies advice from their designated e-tutor who would be the first point of contact for both pastoral and academic matters and who, if necessary, would direct the student to one of the university support services if it was deemed necessary. As part of the Induction process, students are introduced to the PACE System and PDP participation is encouraged and facilitated on-line by e-tutors and the Course Director.
The diversity of assessment within the programme reflects the course team’s awareness of the kind of knowledge and skills needed at a postgraduate level in this area. Students are provided online access to the module handbooks at the beginning of the module, and these contain comprehensive information regarding module content, learning outcomes, assessment requirements, and criteria and marking schemes. The module handbooks and course handbook are available within the course support area; a central area in BBLearn where all students can access general information and communicate with one another.
All modules will be assessed either exclusively through the submission of coursework (defined as any non-examination/coursework based assessment). The assessment methods are designed to test both knowledge and skills, and include, but are not limited to, critical evaluations of current literature, problem-based case studies, and development of an online scientific discussion board. A self-assessment tool will be also offered to students.
In line with the University’s support for students with special educational needs, reasonable adjustments will be made to assessments to accommodate the needs of students under SENDO.
Assessments aim to promote independence of learning, and encourage students to apply their experience and expertise to case studies, and problems in veterinary public health.
Where possible, module coordinators will make every effort to ensure that summative assessment deadlines are spread over the semester. Some aspects of coursework occur across the semester whereas other pieces of coursework will naturally fall towards the end of the module. Students will be given prompt feedback, and the focus in the early parts of the modules will provide formative feedback to help future assessments. Students will be given details of all pieces of assessment at the beginning of the module, and encouraged to manage their schedule of assessments.
Students will be encouraged to engage with and use feedback to feed-forward into future assessments, and to carry feedback into new modules as they move through the MSc programme.
Submission of student work: All course work is submitted through the electronic drop boxes and Turnitin drop boxes via BBLearn. Students submitting work must complete an assessment cover sheet and sign a declaration of originality pertaining to their work. Late submission of coursework will result in the assignment not being marked. Any pleas for the extension of the deadline for the hand in of an assignment should be discussed with the Course Director and supported by written acceptable evidence.
The module coordinator or recognized teacher will mark assessments. Marks are collated, checked and moderated by the Module Coordinator who returns these via BBLearn, with comments and feedback to the students. Marking sheets will be returned to the student and these include the marks as indicated by the marking scheme and include opportunity for detailed feedback to be given.
The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.
Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:
As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.
Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.
The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.
Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.
Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.
Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.
Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.
Calculation of the Final Award
The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).
Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.
All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.
Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).
We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.
The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.
Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.
Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.
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Veterinary Public Health 1 - Regulatory, will translate the requirements laid down in of EC Regulation 854/2004 on official controls on food and feed of animal origin in terms of basic tenets that underpin EU food regulatory policy into a coherent framework which will equip students with the knowledge base and skills necessary to progress to the more specific elements of Veterinary Public Health which will be studied in the second semester.
This module builds on the knowledge base and skills from the previous module (Veterinary Public Health 1 - Regulatory) and aims to integrate the disparate elements of the documented requirements for training of official veterinarians so that students will grasp the complex idea of total regulation of the food chain from primary production, animal welfare, food processing, monitoring and surveillance, environmental and waste issues to protection of consumer health.
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.
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Applicants should have an Honours or non-Honours degree in Veterinary Medicine from a University of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland or from an institution of another country, which has been recognised as being of equivalent standard. In addition the potential students are expected to have a minimum of one year post qualification experience. The work experience, knowledge and skills required for admission to the course must be sufficient to ensure that the student is able to follow the programme of study.
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement
Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.
Studies pursued and examinations passed in respect of other qualifications awarded by the University or by another university or other educational institution, or evidence from the accreditation of prior experiential learning, may be accepted as exempting candidates from part of the programme provided that they shall register as students of the University for modules amounting to at least 50% of the credit value of the award in respect of a Postgraduate Certificate award.
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The academic content of this programme helps students to develop knowledge and understanding of legislative, policy and scientific aspects of VPH as well as to acquire skills to disseminate and implement knowledge in practice. Graduates of the PgCert VPH could be eligible to obtain employment as Official Veterinarians employed by the competent authorities in any of the EU Member States (or applicant country), employment by government (EU and international) and non-government organisations. On successful completion of PgCert VPH students can also proceed to register for the PgDip and MSc Food Regulatory Affairs (VPH specialisation).
Wendy Kearney, Admissions Office, Coleraine
International Admissions Office
Our graduates say:
“I left college nearly 20 years ago but I found the challenges of learning again very rewarding. The course content was of a very high standard and the online discussions were extremely helpful and encouraging. The course has awoken the desire to learn and broaden my knowledge in the area of Veterinary Public Health. I felt a great sense of achievement after the graduation.”
“The Course gave me a better understanding of the operation of the EU food safety legislation; it provided me the opportunity to research and study areas of VPH which are not normally associated with my work. The e-learning allowed me to fit the course around my busy work and domestic life.”