Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Preparatory Course

The School of Medicine and Population Health, The Faculty of Health.

Lead Academic: Dr Paul Collini.

Mosquito close up on skin
Aedes albopictus, James Gathany, CDC

Course description

The course aims to equip medically qualified clinicians to work in tropical countries and to better understand tropical infections presenting in the UK. Students will gain essential skills and competence in clinical tropical medicine, laboratory skills in low technology settings, tropical diseases epidemiology and control, and travel hygiene.

The course is designed for medical doctors in full-time work. We use a mix of online webinars, and face-to-face and self-directed learning to ensure the syllabus is covered with flexibility.

Webinar-based and face-to-face teaching 

The core of the course involves seminars from 6pm - 8.30pm every Tuesday evening between late August and early April - for the Public Health module, seminars will be on four Saturday mornings between October and March. The teaching seminars will be delivered as interactive webinars using the University of Sheffield Blackboard Collaborate system. These webinars will also be recorded and available for review 24 hours following the teaching.

During the course, three face-to-face teach-in days will take place in Sheffield. These will be used to deliver practical teaching and be an opportunity for the class to get to know each other. The first on Malaria will be near the beginning, on a Friday in September, followed by a course dinner in the evening. The second will be two consecutive days of teaching on a Thursday and Friday in January for half the class, with the same sessions repeated on the subsequent Thursday and Friday for the other half of the class.

During the teaching days, you will receive practical training in the use of basic microscopy to diagnose tropical infection, in line with DTM&H exam requirements. This will teach you to prepare and read stool, urine, CSF and sputum slides, and perform diagnostic parasitology and etymology, including making and reading blood films for malaria. Our labs are large enough to deliver this teaching while using social distancing. 

Microscopic images of parasites
From L-R: Trichenalla encyted, P knowlsei, Trichuria and Ascaris eggs.

Additional training

UK-based course attendees will also be able to join our clinical staff and observe at least one of the STH Travel clinics on Wednesday afternoons at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield. After the exam, there is an optional half-day hands-on Tropical Paediatrics session in Sheffield.

We work closely with two sister DTM&H preparatory courses run by The University of Glasgow and MSF. Together we run fortnightly web-based interactive tropical medicine tutorials from October through to April. We also schedule extra, ad-hoc online seminars by researchers in the tropics, talking about their work.

Sheffield DTM&H course students also have access to an exclusive two-day LSHTM Tropical Parasitology Laboratory course. This external course has excellent feedback from previous Sheffield DTM&H students and is highly recommended if you wish to delve deeper into this topic. The estimated cost is £500 and is not mandatory.

Self-directed learning

A substantial number of hours of private learning will be required – you should timetable for at least as many hours as spent with webinars and face-to-face teaching. Each lecturer has prepared reading material and exercises and made their presentations available in advance of their taught seminar. Some material is designed to be covered in advance of the seminars, which will then be interactive and involve discussion based on this material. All these materials can be accessed via an online course folder, with individual folders for each seminar, as well as the timetable and syllabus.

The Faculty of Health

Our lecturers are senior academics and physicians from the disciplines of infectious diseases, microbiology, virology, child health, obstetrics and gynaecology and public health across Sheffield and South Yorkshire. Some teaching is delivered by invited external speakers from fields ranging from tropical ophthalmology to water and sanitation and non-communicable diseases.

All faculty members will make email addresses available and are more than happy to discuss your learning with you.

Exams and assessment

The exam will take place in a single day in June 2024. This exam is sat and invigilated as an online exam. Since 2016, the syllabus, fee, and administration (including registration) has been run by the Royal College of Physicians (London). The syllabus breaks down as 60% Clinical Tropical Medicine, 25% Public Health and 15% Non-communicable diseases. Maternal and Child Health are included within these.

A topic list is provided on the RCP website.

Exam format

Best-of-five’ multiple choice paper with 100 questions (3 hrs.)
  • 16 image-based (e.g. abnormal signs, slides, X-rays) 
  • 84 clinical scenarios, data interpretation, epidemiology etc.
Parasitology/entomology short notes (1.5 hrs.)
  • 50 images of parasitology/entomology where the name of the organism, associated condition and or treatment will be tested.
Preventative medicine 5 questions  (1 hr.)
  • Write short notes on 5 of 10 questions that cover preventive medicine and international community health in a tropical context.

Entry requirements

  • Primary medical degree.

Course fees

The 2024/25 course fee will be £1,640, payable using the University's online registration system.

This includes all course teaching, learning materials, access to the course document folder, seminar recordings, and refreshments during face-to-face teaching and course dinners. It does not include the LSHTM parasitology course or exam fees.

Payment is taken at registration for the course. There is a ‘cooling-off period’ until the end of September when you can choose to withdraw from the course and receive a 90% refund.

Since 2021, the course has been open to doctors working in South Africa through an arrangement with Dr Jeremy Nel at the University of the Witwatersrand and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases' Tropical Parasitology training course in Johannesburg. If you are a South Africa-based applicant, contact the course administrator for details (sheffielddtmandh@sheffield.ac.uk).

The Sheffield course is currently only open to applicants based in the UK or South Africa. Glasgow's DTM&H and MSF's Global Health and Humanitarian Medicine course do have options for applicants from other countries.


An attendance register is taken at every session.

This course is designed for busy doctors in full-time jobs with on-call rotas and recognises that it is difficult to achieve full attendance. However, it will be challenging to pass the exams without attending the majority of sessions and undertaking substantial private learning.

There is a requirement that at least 12 hours of microscopy training is completed for you to be eligible to sit the RCP DTM&H exam. A letter from the course stating evidence of attending the course, specifically evidence that the microscopy training has been completed will be provided for you.


It is important to us that this course delivers for all classes. We invite all classes to complete anonymous, web-based feedback forms following each teaching session. These are reviewed in real time by the course organisers so that we can respond quickly to any problems.

Course committee


Dr Paul Collini, Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Physician

Deputy Director

Dr Ruth Payne, Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Physician

Committee members

Professor S T Green, Honorary Professor and Consultant Physician

Professor Thushan de Silva, Professor of Infectious Diseases and Honorary Consultant Physician

Professor Andrew Lee, Professor in Public Health and Consultant in Communicable Disease Control

Dr Tom Darton, Florey Advanced Research Fellow and Honorary Consultant Physician

Course administrator

Mrs Lisa Graham

Contact us

For further information about the course, contact sheffielddtmandh@sheffield.ac.uk

Four students laughing while sat at a bench, outside the Students' Union

International scholarships

We offer a generous package of financial support for international students, including undergraduate and postgraduate taught scholarships towards the annual tuition fee. Applications are open for existing offer holders.