Dept. of Health Research Govt. of India
World Health Organization

ICMR School of Public Health



Post-Graduate Diploma in HIV Epidemiology


Strengthening the scientific and epidemiological basis for programme and policy decisions to prevent and control priority diseases is key to public health impact. The Post Graduate Diploma in HIV Epidemiology (PGDHE) at the ICMR School of Public Health, National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE) is an initiative of Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society (TANSACS) and Global AIDS Program of CDC, USA, in response to the need for the development of long-term sustainable human capacity for applied HIV epidemiology in India. This initiative primarily aims to strengthen the government health system for timely utilization and dissemination of the strategic information available within the HIV intervention programmes.

The programme is affiliated to Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Thiruvananthapuram.


The primary goal of PGDHE will be to develop a self sustaining institutionalized capacity of public health workers in applied HIV epidemiology at field level and competent in addressing HIV public health needs and priorities efficiently and effectively.

It is expected that in the long term, PGDHE will lead to improved surveillance systems contributing to health system strengthening and increased improved human resource capacity at the national level.

Upon completion of the PGDHE, a trainee will have developed the following seven technical core competencies:

  1. Manage HIV surveillance system
  2. Conduct quantitative epidemiological research to improve the delivery of HIV prevention and treatment services
  3. Conduct qualitative epidemiological research to improve the delivery of HIV prevention and treatment services
  4. Use statistical software for data processing and analysis
  5. Develop HIV programme monitoring and evaluation
  6. Develop oral and written communications
  7. Use data to analyze and redirect policy


a. Duration and Course organization

PGDHE is a 12-month “learning-by-doing” programme. The academic session begins in July every year.

This programme consists of two parts:

Part I - ‘In-class’ sessions during which the students will receive theoretical inputs and plan for epidemiological field projects through residential contact sessions at NIE at intermittent intervals. The following modules will be covered: Principles and practice of public health, Principles and methods of epidemiology, Biostatistics, Qualitative research methods, Scientific communication, Applied Epidemiology, and Programme evaluation.

Part II – Field assignments during which the students will execute the epidemiological projects (Secondary data analysis, Surveillance description & evaluation, Programme description & evaluation) of relevance to HIV programme at field placement site (usually the district identified by the student and NIE in collaboration with the sponsoring agency).

b. Course credits

The PGDHE will carry a total of 30 credits distributed in two categories of Contact sessions and Field assignments.

c. Course Report

In the last contact session, at the completion of the field postings and coursework, the student will submit the Course Report that will include all assignment reports. Each of the assignment reports should be in the format of a scientific manuscript of 3,500 words or less that uses the Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion structure.

d. Grading system

A six letter grading system (A-F) will be used to assess student’s performance in each module. Cumulative Grade-point average (CGPA) will be calculated as the weighted average of numerical values of grades with credits as weights.

In the case of failure in any of the modules, one more chance will be given to reappear for examination within two months. If the student fails for the second time, he/she has to reappear for the module when the same is offered in subsequent academic years within a span of two years. The student has to obtain prior approval from competent authority. The maximum grade that will be awarded for a re-examination will be limited to C. A maximum of two chances will be given to pass in all the modules.

e. Criteria for award of diploma

To qualify for award of the PGDHE, the student must obtain a minimum grade of ‘E’ in all individual modules and assigned field projects; and secure an overall CGPA of 2.


Admission is open to both government sponsored and private candidates. However, preference will be given to government sponsored candidates and private candidates will be given admission only on seats that remain vacant after admission of government sponsored candidates.

Call for applications is usually advertised in leading newspapers and NIE website in December/January.

a. Course eligibility

Applicants fulfilling the following criteria will be eligible to apply for the programme:

  1. MBBS degree (recognized by Medical Council of India)
  2. Minimum two years experience in public health/HIV surveillance or programme related activities.
  3. If currently in position in Central/State Government, preferably in HIV/AIDS Control Programme, sponsored on deputation for 1 year on a full time basis.
  4. Age 40 years or less as on the date of commencement of the course. Relaxable for SC/ST/OBC/PH candidates as per Government of India rules.

b. Selection of students

A selection committee constituted and approved by the Director of SCTIMST will select the nominated students for the course based on the review of the applications, written test and/or personal interview. Reservation of seats will be as per Government of India norms for SC/ST/OBC/PH candidates being followed by SCTIMST. Mere possession of the eligibility criteria will not entail selection for the course. The decision of the Director, SCTIMST, shall be final for selection of the candidates.

c. Course fee

Non-sponsored/private candidates are required to pay a course fee.