Disease Ecology

Ref: C2422916

Where do new diseases come from? Does climate change impact diseases in humans? How did COVID-19 “jump” from animals to humans? This interactive, interdisciplinary course will discuss how the environment influences human disease, drawing upon the fields of medicine, public health, epidemiology, ecology, evolution, and environmental science. Students will learn the basics of how diseases spread from animals to humans, evolve in prevalence and impact, and how changes to the environment can potentially influence disease dynamics in humans. We will also discuss how future research can help predict future outbreaks, and the odds of another global pandemic occurring.

Course aim

To provide an overview of how environmental factors influence disease dynamics in humans.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • outline how diseases evolve over time, changing in prevalence and virulence
  • explain how diseases move between different hosts and/or vectors
  • recognize how environmental changes, such as climate change, influence disease dynamics in humans
  • discuss how scientists are studying and will study future disease dynamics in the context of environmental change

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

The course will consist of four interactive lectures, with breaks for questions and activities throughout. Students will have the opportunity to complete post-lecture assessments in Canvas to track their learning. Optional readings to accompany lectures will be provided in Canvas.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Disease Ecology


This course is funded by the Greater London Combined Authority but is also open to residents of other areas.

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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