Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2012 (Day)
South Africa First semester 2012 (Day)
Caulfield Second semester 2012 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Catherine Joyce (Caulfield), Dr Ravayi Marindo (South Africa)


This unit provides an introduction to epidemiological and statistical concepts necessary for understanding patterns of health and disease in populations. It extends the overview provided in HSC1061, reviews how health and disease are measured, and covers how patterns of health and disease in populations are investigated, including study designs and basic statistical methods for analyzing health data. Students are introduced to different study designs and to the concepts of bias and confounding. Case studies include local, national and global examples of epidemiological research, including Australian Indigenous health issues and global health inequalities.


On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. Critically analyse the strengths and weaknesses of different epidemiological study designs
  2. Critically appraise the popular and biomedical literature on population health
  3. Identify fundamental ethical considerations that underpin health research
  4. Identify the importance of statistical methods in the design, analysis and presentation of the results of research studies in health and biomedicine, and in reports of health related matters in general
  5. Explain basic statistical methods and when to apply them
  6. Interpret statistical results presented in the biomedical literature and other media, and convey the interpretation in simple language.
  7. Identify different approaches to the nature of 'evidence' in public health and the implications of such approaches for measurement of health and well being of
Indigenous Australians and other population groups.


Hurdle requirement: At least 80% attendance at tutorial/computer laboratory classes
Written assignments (2) 35%
Group presentation 15%
In-class biostatistics tests (2) 20%
Exam 30%

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Catherine Joyce

Contact hours

3 contact hours per week plus 9 hours per week private study





Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: