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The Radcliffe Camera, seen from the Bodleian Quad
(Image Credit: Christopher Wills)

PGCert in Paediatric Infectious Diseases

About the course

The Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) in Paediatric Infectious Diseases is a part-time, online course directing students through the syllabus required in Europe for clinical training in the subspecialty. The course is appropriate for both those in the UK and Overseas.

Worldwide, two-thirds of the deaths of children under five years of age are caused by infectious diseases, and the prevention and treatment of infections in children is the number one priority for global health. Thus, the department believes that professionally-oriented education in paediatric infectious diseases is essential in the training of clinicians and clinical academics who will provide the future leadership in this key area for global health.

The Postgraduate Certificate is a one-year, part-time course taught primarily online providing you with an in-depth understanding of both the theoretical and practical aspects of paediatric infection. It also places the practice of paediatric infectious diseases in the broader context of applied sciences, such as pathogenesis, population biology and epidemiology.

The course will appeal to doctors who have experience in paediatrics, including trainees in paediatrics who have an interest in specialist knowledge in the field of paediatric infectious diseases, for example those training for the RCPCH paediatric infectious diseases special interest (SPIN) module. It is also suitable for GPs with an interest in paediatric infectious diseases.

The syllabus covers the following modules:

  • Infectious Syndromes
  • Diagnostics, Therapeutics, Infection Control and Prevention
  • Important Viral Infections

The majority of the teaching takes place online through a virtual learning environment (VLE), with online teaching discussions, interaction with tutors and other students, and access to an extensive resource library. Tutors will lead online discussions of the syllabus topics during timetabled weeks (on average eight to eleven weeks per module) which will be followed by study weeks to allow you to carry out self-directed study. This enables students from around the world to participate in the programme.

In addition to the online teaching, you are required to attend the Infection and Immunity in Children (IIC) Conference which takes place in Oxford each year. You are also strongly encouraged to participate in the PentaTr@ining: 'HIV & Other Congenital Infections' course which consists of an online modular component and a three-day residential in Rome. The PentaTr@ining course takes place every other year.

The course is a result of a close collaboration between the University of Oxford Department of Paediatrics and the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases (ESPID).

The international panel of tutors is led by Sir Andrew Pollard, Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity at the University of Oxford, and Honorary Consultant Paediatrician at the Children’s Hospital, Oxford. 

Students who successfully complete the PGCert in Paediatric Infectious Diseases may choose to go on to complete a postgraduate diploma by applying for the second year of the course.

Supervision

The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Department of Paediatrics. It is not always possible to accommodate the preferences of incoming graduate students to work with a particular member of staff. A supervisor is often found outside the department. 

It is down to the student and supervisor to agree the details of how regularly they will be in touch, depending on the needs of the student.

The role of the supervisor is to offer guidance with your assignments, particularly with regard to topics and general direction. Students are responsible for contacting their supervisor; please ensure you contact them early on and not too close to the deadline of your assignment. Please be aware supervisors are not expected to proof-read assignments or undertake research for you.

Assessment

To complete the PGCert in Paediatric Infectious Diseases you will need to complete:

  • two 4,000-word written assignments. These assignments will be based on the modules taught in Michaelmas and Hilary term (Infectious Syndromes and Diagnostics, Therapeutics, Infection Control and Prevention) and will be due at the end of each respective term; and
  • one examination at the end of the year, consisting of single-best answer (SBA) questions covering the modules taught in that year.

Each of the summative assessments (two written assignments and one SBA exam) make up a third of the overall mark for the PGCert.

You are also required to attend the annual IIC Conference in Oxford. You are strongly encouraged to participate in the monthly ESPID Online Case Rounds, as well as attend the bi-annual PentaTr@ining: 'HIV & Other Congential Infections' course, and complete the Self-Assessment Questions (SAQ's) during the course of the certificate. You will have the opportunity to deliver a five-minute oral presentation to tutors, assessors and fellow peers, which is strongly encouraged.

Graduate destinations

Most students commencing this programme are already in full-time employment. The PGCert aims to prepare trainees for work in the sub-specialty of paediatric infectious diseases.

Changes to this course and your supervision

The University will seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out in this course page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. The safety of students, staff and visitors is paramount and major changes to delivery or services may have to be made in circumstances of a pandemic, epidemic or local health emergency. In addition, in certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.

Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include illness, sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.

For further information please see our page on changes to courses and the provisions of the student contract regarding changes to courses.

Entry requirements for entry in 2024-25

Proven and potential academic excellence

The requirements described below are specific to this course and apply only in the year of entry that is shown. You can use our interactive tool to help you evaluate whether your application is likely to be competitive.

Please be aware that any studentships that are linked to this course may have different or additional requirements and you should read any studentship information carefully before applying. 

Degree-level qualifications

As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the following UK qualifications or their equivalent:

  • an appropriate medical qualification equivalent to MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery)

All applicants should preferably also hold a specialist qualification equivalent to the Membership Examination of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (MRCPCH).

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.6 out of 4.0.

If your degree is not from the UK or another country specified above, visit our International Qualifications page for guidance on the qualifications and grades that would usually be considered to meet the University’s minimum entry requirements.

GRE General Test scores

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

Other qualifications, evidence of excellence and relevant experience

  • Evidence of work experience in paediatrics is a requirement of entry.
  • Necessary experience and knowledge to undertake a research project
  • Applicants should be registered in a national clinical training programme, where applicable.
  • Applicants will need to be computer literate and have a good working knowledge of Microsoft 365.
  • Publications are not expected.

Successful applicants will normally provide evidence of all the following:

  • a demonstrated interest in paediatric infectious diseases, evidenced by prior experience, interest and work;
  • a senior supporter from their home institution or country who is a member of the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Disease or a national paediatric infectious disease body such as the British Paediatric Allergy Infection and Immunity Group. This supporter will also normally be a referee for the individual;
  • the ability to commit time to study and an employer's commitment to make time available to study, complete course work and attend course and University events and residential components; and
  • motivation and ability to complete the course.

English language proficiency

This course requires proficiency in English at the University's higher level. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence that you meet this requirement. The minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level are detailed in the table below.

Minimum scores required to meet the University's higher level requirement
TestMinimum overall scoreMinimum score per component
IELTS Academic (Institution code: 0713) 7.57.0

TOEFL iBT, including the 'Home Edition'

(Institution code: 0490)

110Listening: 22
Reading: 24
Speaking: 25
Writing: 24
C1 Advanced*191185
C2 Proficiency191185

*Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English or Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
Previously known as the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE)

Your test must have been taken no more than two years before the start date of your course. Our Application Guide provides further information about the English language test requirement.

Declaring extenuating circumstances

If your ability to meet the entry requirements has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (eg you were awarded an unclassified/ungraded degree) or any other exceptional personal circumstance (eg other illness or bereavement), please refer to the guidance on extenuating circumstances in the Application Guide for information about how to declare this so that your application can be considered appropriately.

References

You will need to register three referees who can give an informed view of your academic ability and suitability for the course. The How to apply section of this page provides details of the types of reference that are required in support of your application for this course and how these will be assessed.

Supporting documents

You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application. The How to apply section of this page provides details of the supporting documents that are required as part of your application for this course and how these will be assessed.

Performance at interview

Interviews are normally held as part of the admissions process.

A ten-minute interview will be arranged for all those who appear to fulfil the basic requirements for entry to the course. Performance at interview will play a significant role in the assessment of the selection criteria. 

Applicants will be informed of the interview dates shortly after applications close.

They will be conducted by a minimum of two interviewers, via telephone or Microsoft Teams.

The purpose of the interview is to:

  • establish your level of interest, motivation and potential to benefit from the course of study;
  • clarify any uncertainties about course requirements; and
  • ensure that you are fully informed of the standard of achievement and level of commitment required by the course of study.

How your application is assessed

Your application will be assessed purely on your proven and potential academic excellence and other entry requirements described under that heading.

References and supporting documents submitted as part of your application, and your performance at interview (if interviews are held) will be considered as part of the assessment process. Whether or not you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.

An overview of the shortlisting and selection process is provided below. Our 'After you apply' pages provide more information about how applications are assessed

Shortlisting and selection

Students are considered for shortlisting and selected for admission without regard to age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity, race (including colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion or belief (including lack of belief), sex, sexual orientation, as well as other relevant circumstances including parental or caring responsibilities or social background. However, please note the following:

  • socio-economic information may be taken into account in the selection of applicants and award of scholarships for courses that are part of the University’s pilot selection procedure and for scholarships aimed at under-represented groups;
  • country of ordinary residence may be taken into account in the awarding of certain scholarships; and
  • protected characteristics may be taken into account during shortlisting for interview or the award of scholarships where the University has approved a positive action case under the Equality Act 2010.

Processing your data for shortlisting and selection

Information about processing special category data for the purposes of positive action and using your data to assess your eligibility for funding, can be found in our Postgraduate Applicant Privacy Policy.

Admissions panels and assessors

All recommendations to admit a student involve the judgement of at least two members of the academic staff with relevant experience and expertise, and must also be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies or Admissions Committee (or equivalent within the department).

Admissions panels or committees will always include at least one member of academic staff who has undertaken appropriate training.

Other factors governing whether places can be offered

The following factors will also govern whether candidates can be offered places:

  • the ability of the University to provide the appropriate supervision for your studies, as outlined under the 'Supervision' heading in the About section of this page;
  • the ability of the University to provide appropriate support for your studies (eg through the provision of facilities, resources, teaching and/or research opportunities); and
  • minimum and maximum limits to the numbers of students who may be admitted to the University's taught and research programmes.

Offer conditions for successful applications

If you receive an offer of a place at Oxford, your offer will outline any conditions that you need to satisfy and any actions you need to take, together with any associated deadlines. These may include academic conditions, such as achieving a specific final grade in your current degree course. These conditions will usually depend on your individual academic circumstances and may vary between applicants. Our 'After you apply' pages provide more information about offers and conditions

In addition to any academic conditions which are set, you will also be required to meet the following requirements:

Financial Declaration

If you are offered a place, you will be required to complete a Financial Declaration in order to meet your financial condition of admission.

Disclosure of criminal convictions

In accordance with the University’s obligations towards students and staff, we will ask you to declare any relevant, unspent criminal convictions before you can take up a place at Oxford.

Resources

The department is committed to supporting you to pursue your academic goals.

You will have access to the Central Bodleian and other Bodleian Libraries.

Paediatrics

The Department of Paediatrics has major research interests in developmental immunology and haematology, infectious diseases of infancy and childhood, mucosal immunology, HIV infection and immune control, design, development and testing of vaccines, neuromuscular biology, the origins of childhood leukaemia, paediatric neuroimaging, and in paediatric molecular genetics.

As a graduate student, you will conduct research within an expanding department that has over 30 DPhil students and 270 members of staff including clinical practitioners, research scientists, support staff and academic visitors.

You will join one of our research groups with primary supervision provided by faculty members in one of the department's laboratory or clinical research facilities, and you will become part of a vibrant research community both within the department and in the wider University.

You will develop research skills by making use of a range of research training and skills development offered by the Medical Sciences Division, alongside direction by your supervisor in specific research methods in relation to your project. You are encouraged to develop a literature review in your first year and to attend courses in manuscript and thesis writing as well as in presentation skills. At the heart of the skills provision are regular group meetings and the Annual Departmental Research Day where you will have the opportunity to present and develop your research ideas and proposals and gain feedback and support from your peers.

Funding

For details about searching for funding as a graduate student visit our dedicated Funding pages, which contain information on external funding, loan schemes and other funding sources. We would suggest that you review this information carefully, as not all funding opportunities are available for students applying to postgraduate diploma and postgraduate certificate courses.

Further information about funding opportunities for this course can be found on the department's website.

Costs

Annual fees for entry in 2024-25

Fee status

Annual Course fees

Home£8,390
Overseas£8,390

Further details about fee status eligibility can be found on the fee status webpage.

Information about course fees

Course fees are payable each year, for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay course fees). For courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually. For details, please see our guidance on changes to fees and charges.

Course fees cover your teaching as well as other academic services and facilities provided to support your studies. Unless specified in the additional information section below, course fees do not cover your accommodation, residential costs or other living costs. They also don’t cover any additional costs and charges that are outlined in the additional information below.

Where can I find further information about fees?

The Fees and Funding section of this website provides further information about course fees, including information about fee status and eligibility and your length of fee liability.

Additional information

This course requires participation in one instance of the Infection and Immunity in Children (IIC) conference in Oxford, an internationally known residential course run jointly by the University of Oxford and the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases (ESPID). The IIC registration fee is included in the annual course fee on the University of Oxford Postgraduate Certificate in Paediatric Infectious Diseases, however students will still need to meet their own travel and accommodation costs in attending this course. Students are encouraged to become members of ESPID as they may be eligible for a discount towards IIC travel and accommodation costs.

In addition to fees and living costs, students will require their own laptop and internet access. As this is an online course, it is advisable for all applicants to have reliable internet access. Many of our students will have reliable internet access in the workplace, but the course is designed to be accessible even in low bandwidth settings. We limit the number of synchronous elements in the course, to ensure maximum flexibility. All elements of the course will be downloadable so that students can work offline if necessary. They can then log in at various points each week to upload work and keep abreast of discussions, using Canvas, Zoom and VoiceThread to help ensure students can stay connected and engaged.

College preference

Matriculation confers membership of the University on students. Students who enrol on this course will not be matriculated and will not become a member of an Oxford college. Although not formally members of the University, non-matriculated students are expected to observe the same rules and regulations as matriculated students. Further information about matriculation is available on the Oxford Students website.

Before you apply

Our guide to getting started provides general advice on how to prepare for and start your application. You can use our interactive tool to help you evaluate whether your application is likely to be competitive.

If it's important for you to have your application considered under a particular deadline – eg under a December or January deadline in order to be considered for Oxford scholarships – we recommend that you aim to complete and submit your application at least two weeks in advance. Check the deadlines on this page and the information about deadlines in our Application Guide.

Application fee waivers

An application fee of £75 is payable per course application. Application fee waivers are available for the following applicants who meet the eligibility criteria:

  • applicants from low-income countries;
  • refugees and displaced persons; 
  • UK applicants from low-income backgrounds; and 
  • applicants who applied for our Graduate Access Programmes in the past two years and met the eligibility criteria.

You are encouraged to check whether you're eligible for an application fee waiver before you apply.

Contacting the department

Prior to applying, you are encouraged to communicate with academics working in your area of interest to discuss potential research topics and the possibility of being offered supervision. General enquiries should be made to the department's Paediatric Infectious Diseases course administrator.

Completing your application

You should refer to the information below when completing the application form, paying attention to the specific requirements for the supporting documents

If any document does not meet the specification, including the stipulated word count, your application may be considered incomplete and not assessed by the academic department. Expand each section to show further details.

Referees:
Three overall, academic and/or professional

Whilst you must register three referees, the department may start the assessment of your application if two of the three references are submitted by the course deadline and your application is otherwise complete. Please note that you may still be required to ensure your third referee supplies a reference for consideration.

If you are a current or recent master’s student, one of your referees should be your supervisor or course director from the master’s course.

Professional references are accepted if these are relevant to the course.

Your references will support your academic ability and suitability for the course. You should ask your referees to provide any other information they consider to be relevant to your application. If they have knowledge of your recent study, it would be helpful if they could indicate the standard attained.

Official transcript(s)

Your transcripts should give detailed information of the individual grades received in your university-level qualifications to date. You should only upload official documents issued by your institution and any transcript not in English should be accompanied by a certified translation.

More information about the transcript requirement is available in the Application Guide.

CV/résumé

A CV/résumé is compulsory for this course. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.

Statement of purpose/personal statement:
A minimum of 500 words to a maximum of 1,000 words

The first half of this document should explain your motivation for applying for the course at Oxford, your relevant experience and education.

For the second part you are asked to include a short abstract on a specific area of interest for you within paediatric infectious diseases.

There are no restrictions on font size or line spacing, although the document should be clearly legible and written in English.

If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed on the document.

This will be assessed for your motivation for applying to this particular programme of study; your relevant academic, research, or practical experience; and the areas of study within the subject that interest you. This will also enable the course team to provide feedback on a piece of non-assessed written work before you start your first assignment.

Start or continue your application

You can start or return to an application using the relevant link below. As you complete the form, please refer to the requirements above and consult our Application Guide for advice. You'll find the answers to most common queries in our FAQs.

Application Guide Apply

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