Module code: VMS2008

Module Overview

In this module, students will assimilate and build upon concepts that they have encountered in previous modules including epidemiology, economics and veterinary public health. The topics are inter-related as they are concerned with how veterinary professionals can influence wider society, beyond individual animal owners. The module also considers the responsibilities that society places upon the profession and upon animal keepers, which provide a context for making decisions in the course of veterinary practice. Important animal-human interactions occur in an ever-changing socio-cultural society, which veterinary professionals need to consider in order to tackle One Health issues. The topics studied here provide the foundation for the study of population medicine and the application of veterinary knowledge to One Health issues and food safety.

Module provider

School of Veterinary Medicine

Module Leader

LO IACONO Giovanni (Vet Med)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 6

Independent Learning Hours: 97

Lecture Hours: 25

Practical/Performance Hours: 22

Module Availability

Semester 1

Module content

Indicative content includes:


  • An introduction to epidemiology

  • Describing health & disease

  • Measures of disease frequency

  • Epidemiological concepts of causation

  • Measures of association

  • Epidemiological study design

  • Hypothesis testing and statistical tests

  • Interpretation of diagnostic tests

  • Introduction to Risk Analysis

Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety:

  • Introduction: The Veterinary Surgeon as the custodian of public health

  • Valuing and protecting the food chain

  • Food safety, HACCP and risk analysis

  • Protecting animal welfare, including transport

  • Principles of biosecurity

  • Animals as food 1: The abattoir

  • Animals as food 2: Manufacturing and retail

  • Animal as food 3: The consumer

  • Foodborne zoonoses and their control

  • Responsible animal ownership and zoonoses, including occupational hazards

  • Policy, practice and regulation (including certification)


  • Animal Health Economics

  • Economic Perspectives on Animal Health

    • Introduction: Is it all about money?

    • Livestock production economics

    • Using economics to make decisions

    • Values and economics – what’s a life worth?

Value Chain

  • Introduction: animals, people and society

  • Introduction in value chain analysis

  • Changes in the value chain and stakeholder management

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation Group Activity: Action Plan for an Situation of Public Health Relevance 20

Alternative Assessment

Resits for the summative group activity will involve an individual presentation on the same topic.  The presentation will take 12 minutes followed by 5 minutes questions.  

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

  • Their ability to assimilate and communicate relevant knowledge, to synthesize knowledge and make recommendations through a group activity

  • Demonstrate awareness and knowledge of essential legal obligations with respect to veterinary public health through a multiple choice question examination 

  • Their content knowledge and ability to synthesise information through a written examination 

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • 30 minutes Group Activity which will integrate of the various issues learned in the module by producing and discussing an action plan relating to a situation of public health relevance (20%)

  • 1 hour MCQ examination – Legislative requirements in relation to veterinary public health and food safety and epidemiological principles (30%)

  • 1 hour Written examination (50%)


Formative assessment and feedback

Formative feedback will be provided through verbal feedback in practical sessions and following guided learning exercises. A formative mock exam session will be posted on Surrey Learn halfway through the module.

Furthermore,  the students will be required to write a short text to explain subtle theoretical concepts to their peers. The students will be requested to peer-assess their colleagues (not graded but compulsory)

Module aims

  • Provide students with an epidemiological framework that they can apply in understanding why disease occurs and in making decisions on disease prevention control and clinical diagnosis
  • Enable students to utilise economic principles in deciding how limited resources should be allocated
  • Promote the pivotal role of the veterinary profession in the protection of public health including food safety, animal welfare and animal health

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Explain the epidemiological principles when applied to disease causation, prevention, control and clinical diagnosis RCVS KU 1, KU 9, KU10 K
002 Interpret results from epidemiological and clinical studies RCVS KU 9, KU 10 C
003 Discuss the role of economics in veterinary practice RCVS KU 4, KU 12 KC
004 List the legislation relevant to veterinary public health RCVS KU10 K
005 Discuss the epidemiology, control and prevention of important zoonoses with regard to human health RCVS KU10 KCP
006 Explain the principles of veterinary certification RCVS 26
007 Describe the animal value chain and the role and motivations of key stakeholders KPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Stimulate students to take an epidemiological approach to animal health and disease, especially at the group level (farm, household, etc.)

Enhance critical thinking and ability to evaluate evidence

Promote the recognition of the role of the veterinary profession in safeguarding public health

Introduce concepts from animal health economics  to encourage multi-disciplinary thinking

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures, seminars, small workshops & small group discussions, on line library modules

  • Formative peer assessed short writing task

  • Practicals involving computer-based exercises handling data and performing statistical calculations

  • Practicals related to the abattoir environment

    • utilising the School’s clinical skills (large animal) facility to perform “mock” ante-mortem inspections

    • utilising the “live animal” area of the pathology building to evaluate food chain information, movement and transport with respect to delivery of animals for slaughter, observe humane slaughter, practice carcass dressing and meat inspection techniques

  • Practical class on preparing and evaluating a veterinary certificate


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: VMS2008

Other information


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Veterinary Medicine and Science BVMSci (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.