Professional Diploma in Tropical Nursing

Professional Diploma in Tropical Nursing

Course overview

First established in 1996, the course is led by the highly experienced and world-renowned nurse, humanitarian and field worker, Dame Claire Bertschinger, from 1997 and who remains Director of the PDTN today.

The PDTN was the first programme of its kind that was designed with nurses in mind, acknowledging the vital role that they play in medicine and global health, whilst equipping them to work in a range of challenging circumstances with little or no infrastructural support. For those wishing to work overseas, the PDTN is a first requirement, and as such is recommended by Médecins Sans Frontières, Save the Children, Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) the British Red Cross and other international agencies.


The course covers a range of topics such as Public Health, Primary Health Care, Climate Crisis and Health, Medical Anthropology, Sanitation Technology, Mental Health, Maternal and Child Health, Nutrition, Immunology, Parasitology, Conflict and Health, together with wide coverage of neglected, but often common, Tropical Diseases. Lecturers are experts in their fields, with most having had substantial experience working in resource-poor settings. To some degree, the PDTN programme retains some flexibility so as to be able to accommodate current global health concerns.

There is also a highly regarded laboratory element to the course, directed by Principal of Biomedical Sciences, Claire Rogers, Head of Teaching and Diagnostics. During this course students learn to recognise Malaria, TB, Leishmaniasis, Filariasis and other parasitic diseases, from their morphological features. Blood grouping, cross-matching and haemoglobin estimation are also demonstrated.

How you will learn

Students study for one full day each week on a Wednesday for 19 weeks. For the duration of the programme, each week will typically include 7 hours of online time and 8 hours of self-directed study for a total of 285 notional hours.

The course is extremely rich and concentrated and you will get the most benefit from engaging with live lectures. Lectures are scheduled between 9am - 5pm London time, as well as being recorded and accessible afterwards on our e-leaning platform Moodle. Where possible we do encourage all students to attend live lectures to be able to interact with the academic exercises, other students, ask questions and get immediate answers. Students from many different time zones across the world join our live online lectures to benefit from the enhanced learning experience. We strongly encourage students to make every effort to attend these live sessions, however, should their existing schedules occasionally make this impossible, the materials are also made accessible at the end of the course day, to enable students to catch up at a more convenient time for them.

Entry requirements

The programme is open to candidates with a degree who are currently registered as nurses, midwives, paramedics or allied medical professionals.

Any prospective student who does not meet the above minimum entry requirements but who has relevant professional experience may still be eligible for admission. 

Candidates must be computer literate and have a good standard of written and spoken English and of English comprehension. LSHTM may ask the applicant to provide evidence of a satisfactory standard of English. LSHTM has approved certain English tests.

Priority may be given to applicants with experience of working in low-and middle-income countries and to those with at least two years of post-qualification experience.