HAR619: Epidemiology


Epidemiology is the discipline underpinning both effective public health practice and research into the causes, control and prevention of disease. Knowledge and understanding of epidemiological concepts and methods is a basic requirement for effective public health practice.

This module will provide an introduction to epidemiology covering key epidemiological concepts; measures of disease; association and causation; confounding and bias. It will also introduce research designs including cross-sectional, ecological, cohort, case-control and intervention studies and introduce population health measures such as screening.


This module aims to develop an understanding and basic proficiency in epidemiological methods as applied to public health, in particular in the areas of epidemiological concepts, measures, research designs and interpretation.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, a student will be able to demonstrate:

  • An understanding of key epidemiological concepts such as measures of incidence and prevalence, bias and confounding in studies and the population perspective of disease;
  • An ability to interpret data related to epidemiological studies;
  • A systematic understanding and critical awareness of cross-sectional studies, ecological studies, case-control studies, cohort studies and intervention studies.

Teaching Methods

The teaching methods aim to deliver core knowledge through a lecture series accompanied by practical exercises. Learning will include applying the key concepts to practical public health scenarios. The lectures will provide students with knowledge about epidemiological methods and their associated epidemiological concepts. The problem solving work will allow students to be able to critically appraise epidemiological research designs and interpret relevant results.

There are 12 timetabled sessions that are two hours long.  The sessions mix lectures and problem solving work. These will include individual and group exercises, structured questions, critical appraisal of epidemiological papers and revision sessions.

There is a structured timetable of work to be completed in advance of the lecture sessions each week, giving students the opportunity to consider relevant concepts in depth.


Component Weighting
Formal Exam 70%
Mid semester multiple choice exam 30%

The examination will assess understanding of key epidemiological concepts and measures, epidemiological research designs and the ability to critically analyse, correctly interpret and use data. It will cover the learning objectives set out above. The examination will involve students answering a number of structured questions.

The pass mark is 50%.