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Livestock Infection, Immunity and One Health


Subject Area Agriculture & Food Science
Credits 10
Start Date 9 September 2024
Duration 12 weeks
Mode of Delivery Online 
Course Leader (opens in a new window)Assoc. Professor Kieran Meade


80% Learner Fee Subsidy (see below) 

Application Deadline 26 August 2024

There is an urgent need to reduce the incidence of diseases across animal production enterprises to support system sustainability and protect the food chain and human health.

Framed against a backdrop of global challenges in antimicrobial resistance and zoonotic disease, a key question that this micro-credential addresses is what can we collectively do to improve livestock health?

This micro-credential will enable you to develop your expertise in immunobiology as applied to livestock production systems. The online lectures and materials will give you the necessary theoretical foundation and applied focus to critically engage with the major issues in livestock health from disease prevention to vaccine design. Emphasis will also be placed on the integration of new knowledge within a One Health framework.

Key Features

This micro-credential is relevant to professionals interested in the design and implementation of new sustainable systems of livestock production from an animal health perspective. 

In particular, those who are currently working in the agri-food sectors, animal health industry, practitioners (veterinary surgeons, nurses and allied staff) seeking to upskill in immunobiology, regulatory bodies, government departments, NGOs or trade organisations, journalists, teachers and more.

On completion of this micro-credential you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate broad knowledge and understanding of the Animal Health ecosystem, including relevant stakeholders and the impacts of animal disease from economic, societal and sustainability perspectives at global, national and farm levels.
  • Understand how core foundational principles in Immunobiology apply to the establishment and maintenance of health in livestock species.
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of how immunobiology supports the sustainability of agri-food systems via the prevention of disease and improved efforts at early disease diagnosis.
  • Appreciate how research efforts in immunobiology are critical to addressing knowledge gaps as well as meeting the current and future challenges in animal health.
  • Make critical and evidenced-based judgements through the application of relevant scientific evidence and other knowledge, to problem solve, evaluate literature, positively affect policy, regulation and public health relating to animal health
  • Effectively communicate the role of immunobiology in supporting sustainability of animal production enterprises, livestock research initiatives, protection of the food chain and the safeguarding of human health across various stakeholder groups (scientists, practitioners, consumers, students, farmers and government agencies)
  • Show evidence of self-development skill acquisition which includes scientific literacy, the principles of scientific inquiry, self-actualisation (time management, self-awareness and organization) to enable graduates to occupy leadership positions and prepare them to take active roles in societal discussions surrounding sustainable animal production systems.
  • Articulate the critical importance of One Health alignment from an agricultural, food chain and human health perspective.

Topics that you will cover include:

  • The Animal Health Ecosystem
  • Evolution of the Immune System
  • Systemic Immunity
  • Mucosal Immunity and the Microbiome
  • Lifetime Immunity in livestock
  • The Health Continuum (from under to over-activation of immunity)
  • Veterinary vaccines
  • Disease surveillance and Diagnostics
  • Priority Diseases in Livestock
  • Future and One Health

This micro-credential gives you all the convenience that online, flexible, learning offers, as well as an upskilling opportunity with strong relevance to the UN sustainability goals and the design of future sustainable livestock production systems.

This micro-credential is delivered through the UCD online learning platform (Brightspace). This is a self-directed micro-credential designed for you to work through the material at your own pace as much as possible. You will need to meet the key assessment dates, but you can read the material and engage with the lectures as and when fits your schedule.

You will learn in a variety of ways, through a mixture of autonomous learning, live online tutorials, and peer interactions. A repository of resources will be available to support your learning, and as a UCD student, you will have full access to the library.

This is a 10 ECTS micro-credential and involves approximately 200 hours of learner effort.

Applicants are required to hold an NFQ level 8 Honours degree (minimum 2nd Class Honours Lower) or equivalent in a related science discipline. Applicants who do not meet this requirement may be admitted on the basis of considerable relevant experience.

Applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate proof of English proficiency as per UCD's minimum English language requirements.

All applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

  • A timed multiple-choice questionnaire is to be completed online (a window of availability will be provided).
  • Learners will complete an online interview with a disease specialist on a disease of choice.
  • Group presentation.

Individual feedback will be provided to you on written assignments. You will also receive feedback during the live online practical tutorials taken over the course of the trimester.

This micro-credential is also a module on the MSc Animal Health.

Please note: Learners can avail of only one form of funding per application. 

Micro-Credentials Learner Fee Subsidy-Human Capital Initiative Pillar 3

The HCI Pillar 3 Micro-credential Learner Fee Subsidy has been introduced to enable more learners to address critical skills gaps and engage with lifelong learning through micro-credentials. The HCI Pillar 3 Micro-credential Learner Fee Subsidy is funded by Higher Education Authority (HEA) and the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science. 

HCI Micro-credential Learner Fee Subsidies are available on identified micro-credentials only and in fixed numbers from March 2024 until October 2025.  

Please see Eligibility Criteria for further information.