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Infectious disease and public health

Infectious disease affects all our lives to varying degrees, often making front-page news: ‘New resistant strain of TB’, ‘Will bird flu cross over to humans?’ ‘Hospital infections reach epidemic proportions’, etc. This module approaches infectious disease from several perspectives – exploring the underlying biology, epidemiology, ecology and evolution of pathogens in relation to the extraordinary immune defences of their human hosts. You will learn how infections are diagnosed, how to study changes in the incidence of diseases and investigate strategies for treatment and control through detailed case studies. You will also have the chance to study a disease or disease-related topic in detail.

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OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate-level module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module

Module code
SK320
Credits
30
Study level
OU SCQF FHEQ
3 10 6
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Am I ready?

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What you will study

Why have diseases such as AIDS spread so rapidly through large areas of the world? Why are some populations so badly affected? How have diseases such as smallpox and polio been controlled? What are the reasons for the emergence of new infectious diseases?

Infectious disease and public health is an exciting module that shows how the causes and control of diseases can be understood only by reference to a range of biological information in the appropriate social context. It aims to:

  • present a multidisciplinary approach to the study of infectious disease
  • illustrate this approach through case studies of a range of infectious diseases
  • develop appropriate skills in reading and abstracting the literature and communicating the module themes coherently and from a multidisciplinary perspective.

By the end of the module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate a broad understanding of the range of infectious diseases and their causative agents
  • demonstrate a broad understanding of the range of techniques used to diagnose infections
  • describe biological interactions between hosts and pathogens during an infection, and their evolution over time
  • give examples of the influence of social organisation, culture and economic development on the distribution of infectious disease
  • demonstrate the ability to interpret basic epidemiological data on infectious disease outbreaks
  • discuss strategies to prevent or reduce the impact of infectious diseases, commenting on their strengths and limitations
  • use a variety of methods, including electronic search tools, to access both primary and secondary scientific literature and abstract relevant information for a stated purpose
  • research and produce an extended piece of written work summarising historical and contemporary aspects of a chosen infectious disease (or diseases) including issues of treatment and control.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. Your tutor will also offer support through email and online forum discussions.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in February 2014. It will be available again October 2014. We then expect it to be available once a year, in October.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

Course work includes:

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
2 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
Examination
No residential school

Course satisfaction survey

See the satisfaction survey results for this course.


Entry

This is an OU level 3 module. OU level 3 modules build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from studies at Levels 1 and 2. They are intended only for students who have recent experience of higher education in a related subject, preferably with the OU.

It is essential that you establish whether or not your background and experience give you a sound basis on which to tackle the module, since students who are appropriately prepared have the best chance of completing their studies successfully. The Science Faculty has produced a booklet  Are you ready for SK320? to help you to decide whether you already have the recommended background knowledge or experience to start the module or whether you need a little extra preparation. This can also be viewed or printed from the 'Preparing for Level 2 and Level 3' section of the  Are you ready for science? website.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Register

Start End Fee
03 Oct 2015 Jun 2016 Not yet available

Registration opens on 12/03/15

This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.

Ways to pay for this module

Open University Student Budget Account

The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

  • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
  • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your annual fees and spreads them out over up to a year, enabling you to pay your fees monthly and walk away with a qualification without any further debt. APR 5.1% representative.

Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

Employer sponsorship

Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU qualifications are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to achieve one. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

More than one in 10 OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the qualification you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

  • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
  • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your modules.  

Credit/debit card

You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

Gift vouchers

You can pay for part or all of your tuition fees with OU gift vouchers. Vouchers are currently available in the following denominations, £10, £20, £50 and £100. 

Mixed payments

We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. You may, for example wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).

For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or request a call back.


Note: Your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is based upon current details for  year 1 August 2014 to 31 July 2015.
This information was provided on 25/11/2014.

What's included

A dedicated module website, DVD, online tutorials and forums. All study materials (introduction and guide, three study blocks, case studies, digital microscope, activities and glossary, etc.) and assignment materials are delivered online. There are no printed books.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module. It includes online activities – you can access using a web browser – and some module software provided on disk.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer running Windows since 2008 you should have no problems completing the computer-based activities.
  • A netbook, tablet or other mobile device is not suitable for this module – check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you have an Apple Mac or Linux computer – please note that you can only use it for this module by running Windows on it using Boot Camp or a similar dual-boot system.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information (including details of the support we provide).

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of study materials are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader (mathematical and scientific materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way). Other alternative formats of the study materials are available.

Please note that this module makes substantial use of complex visual material and includes a significant number of interactive animations and activities.

You will need to spend extensive periods in most study weeks using a personal computer to access study resources supplied via the module website or other internet sites. There are some electronic computer-marked assessment questions that are accessed, answered and submitted online via a website. If you use special hardware or software to assist you in using a personal computer or the internet and have any concerns about accessing these types of materials you are advised to talk to our Student Registration & Enquiry Service about support which can be given to meet your needs. Students with severe visual impairments may find they are more able to achieve the learning outcomes if they make use of a sighted assistant.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.