Case study

MSc Epidemiology student — Martina Brayley

Martina's passion for epidemiology was sparked during her undergraduate nutrition degree. Find out why she chose to continue her studies at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)

Why did you choose LSHTM and the MSc Epidemiology?

Studying the MSc Epidemiology at LSHTM was a clear choice, as the school has an amazing reputation and influence in global health research. We are taught by experts in the field, which is truly incredible. LSHTM has great facilities and support. Being in such a diverse environment with students and staff from all around the world is truly enriching.

What does the course involve?

We learn about all the practical aspects of conducting research, such as planning, monitoring, analysis and dissemination of the results. The course also provides a deep understanding of epidemiological issues within various study designs and how to tackle these. And lastly, we gain advanced skills in statistical analysis, which is hard at times but very interesting and fun to learn.

What has it been like studying during the COVID-19 pandemic?

For me, this has been a valuable experience, as the current generations have not lived through such a large pandemic. It's great to apply my knowledge when reading new research articles or just listening to the news. Also, the teaching staff has been involved in some research related to COVID-19, so we are lucky to hear the findings early.

How do you find the online teaching elements of the course?

The school has a long history of online teaching with their distance learning courses. This has been a great advantage as everything is perfectly organised and any issues have been solved promptly. I found that many more people were asking questions during lectures, as it is much easier to write the question into a chat box, rather than speaking in front of a large number of people. The online tutorials for our statistical practicals also work very well.

What are your plans after graduation?

I would like to gain some work experience in non-communicable diseases research. My long-term goal is to complete a PhD, but because I came straight from an undergraduate course, I feel like I want to work for a couple of years to consolidate the skills gained throughout my education.

What advice would you give to those considering the course?

Good planning and time management is key, as the schedule can be very busy. Ask a lot of questions if you don't understand something - chances are that, other people also don't understand it. Also, make the most out of all the university events such as the Global Health Lecture Series, as it will give you a great insight into other areas.

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