About the course
The Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Paediatric Infectious Diseases is a part-time 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 Diploma is a two-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 a specialist qualification equivalent to the Membership Examination of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (MRCPCH), specialist trainees in paediatric infectious diseases or relevant medical subspecialties, and clinical research fellows. It will provide in-depth knowledge and is aimed at those working in specialist PID centres.
The syllabus covers the following modules:
Diagnostics, Therapeutics, Infection Control and Prevention
Important Viral Infections
Tropical Paediatrics and Tuberculosis
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 modules 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 also required during the two years on course to attend two Infection and Immunity in Children (IIC) residential conferences held annually in Oxford. 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 3-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, the Department for Continuing Education and the European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases (ESPID).
The international panel of tutors is led by Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, Professor of Paediatric Infection and Immunity at the University of Oxford, and Honorary Consultant Paediatrician at the Children’s Hospital, Oxford.
The allocation of graduate supervision for this course is the responsibility of the Department for Continuing Education and/or 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
- Two 4,000-word written assignments based on the modules taught in Michaelmas and Hilary term, and an examination consisting of multiple-choice questions taken from the modules covered in the first year
- You will have the opportunity to deliver a 5-minute oral presentation to tutors, assessors and fellow peers during Year 1, which is strongly encouraged usually before or after the IIC conference.
- Two 4,000-word written assignments based on the modules taught in Michaelmas and Hilary term, and an examination consisting of multiple-choice questions taken from the modules covered in the second year
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 Congenital Infections’ course, and complete the Self-Assessment Questions (SAQ’s) during the two-years on course as part of exam preparation. Students with an interest in paediatric mycology are also encouraged to participate in the PentaTr@ining: ‘Fungal Infections in Paediatrics’ course.
Each of the summative assessments – the written assignments and the MCQ Exams – contribute equally to the final mark achieved for the PGDip.
Most part-time students commencing this programme are already in full-time employment. The PGDip 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 (including Covid-19), 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.
Other courses you may wish to consider
If you're thinking about applying for this course, you may also wish to consider the courses listed below. These courses may have been suggested due to their similarity with this course, or because they are offered by the same department or faculty.
Courses suggested by the lead department
All graduate courses in this area offered by the Department for Continuing Education
Entry requirements for entry in 2023-24
Proven and potential academic excellence
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).
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.
|Test||Minimum overall score||Minimum score per component|
|IELTS Academic (Institution code: 0713)||7.5||7.0|
TOEFL iBT, including the 'Home Edition'
(Institution code: 0490)
*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.
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.
You will be required to supply supporting documents with your application, including an official transcript and a CV/résumé. 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. Interviews will be held after each application deadline. They will be conducted by a minimum of two interviewers, via telephone of 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 published 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.
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.
Whether or not you have secured funding will not be taken into consideration when your application is assessed.
Processing your data for shortlisting and selection
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:
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.
The department is committed to supporting you to pursue your academic goals.
The Rewley House Continuing Education Library, one of the Bodleian Libraries, is situated in Rewley House. The department aims to support the wide variety of subjects covered by departmental courses at many academic levels. The department also has a collection of around 73,000 books together with periodicals. PCs in the library give access to the internet and the full range of electronic resources subscribed to by the University of Oxford. Wi-Fi is also available. The Jessop Reading Room adjoining the library is available for study. You will have access to the Central Bodleian and other Bodleian Libraries.
The department's Graduate School provides a stimulating and enriching learning and research environment for the department's graduate students, fostering intellectual and social interaction between graduates of different disciplines and professions from the UK and around the globe. The Graduate School will help you make the most of the wealth of resources and opportunities available, paying particular regard to the support and guidance needed if you are following a part-time graduate programme. The department’s graduate community comprises over 600 members following taught programmes and more than 70 undertaking doctoral research.
The department provides various IT facilities, including the Student Computing Facility which provides individual PCs for your use. Many of the department's courses are delivered through blended learning or have a website to support face-to-face study. In most cases, online support is delivered through a virtual learning environment.
Depending on the programme you are taking with the department, you may require accommodation at some point in your student career. Rewley House is ideally located in central Oxford; the city's historic sites, colleges, museums, shops and restaurants are only a few minutes’ walk away. The department has 35 en-suite study bedrooms, all with high quality amenities, including internet access.
The Rewley House dining room has seating for up to 132 people. A full meal service is available daily. The department operates a Common Room with bar for students.
The University expects to be able to offer around 1,000 full or partial graduate scholarships across the collegiate University in 2023-24. You will be automatically considered for the majority of Oxford scholarships, if you fulfil the eligibility criteria and submit your graduate application by the relevant December or January deadline. Most scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit and/or potential.
For further details about searching for funding as a graduate student visit our dedicated Funding pages, which contain information about how to apply for Oxford scholarships requiring an additional application, details of external funding, loan schemes and other funding sources.
Further information about funding opportunities for this course can be found on the department's website.
Annual fees for entry in 2023-24
Annual Course fees
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.
This course requires participation in two instances of the Infection and Immunity in Children (IIC) course 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 course fee is approximately £640 to £1000 for each instance, depending on membership and Earlybird discount, however enrolled students on the University of Oxford Postgraduate Diploma in Paediatric Infectious Diseases can apply for a bursary towards the course fees. You will also need to meet your own travel and accommodation costs in attending this course.
The Department for Continuing Education offers a contribution towards these costs to Home students in the form of a reduction in the annual tuition fee of £1,250 per annum. 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.
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. Check the deadlines on this page and the information about deadlines in our Application Guide. We recommend that you submit your application well in advance - two or three weeks earlier.
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 graduate studies 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.
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.
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.
A CV/résumé is compulsory for all applications. Most applicants choose to submit a document of one to two pages highlighting their academic achievements and any relevant professional experience.
Statement of purpose/research proposal:
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.