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MPH1040 - Introductory epidemiology

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Leader: Dr D Magliano


Alfred Hospital First semester 2008 (Day)
Alfred Hospital First semester 2008 (Off-campus)


This unit aims to provide students with the core knowledge of epidemiological concepts and skills required in clinical epidemiology and general public health. The first half of the unit provides an appreciation of the difference between descriptive and analytical epidemiology, and a appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of different epidemiological study designs. The second half of the unit introduces key methodology concepts of epidemiology. The unit also provides parallel introduction to the basic concepts and methods of biostatistics including confidence interval, p values and sample size and how they relate to epidemiology.
Students will be provided with study material which will direct them through the topics using introductory notes and exercises. This will be followed by more advanced activities that link the conceptual material to assessment of epidemiological studies via the use of tutorial exercises.


On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Understand the differences between descriptive and analytical epidemiology;
  2. Explain the concepts of study question, study population, sampling strategy, exposure assessment, bias and confounding;
  3. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of different epidemiological study designs and apply this knowledge to the selection of appropriate study designs;
  4. Critically analyse epidemiological papers from the medical research literature in order to identify the main study question/s, study design, study populations and sampling strategy using epidemiological principles;
  5. Evaluate the inadequacy of exposure assessment in epidemiological studies and appreciate the consequences of poor exposure assessment;
  6. Interpret the results of epidemiological studies, solve problems relating to the use of the epidemiological concepts, parameters and study designs and calculative relative risks, incidence ratesm and odds ratios from simple data.


Assignments 30%
Examination 70%.

Contact hours

2 contact hours per week

Off Campus Attendance Requirements

2 day on campus block



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