Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 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.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitDepartment of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine
OfferedNot offered in 2015
Coordinator(s)Dr Baki Billah


This unit introduces students to biostatistics as applied to public health and management studies. Biostatistics is the science of describing, summarising and analysing health-related data. It is essential to understand biostatistics in order to design, conduct and interpret health-related research. The basic principles and methods used in biostatistics are covered in this unit. This includes the technical qualifications necessary for analysing and interpreting data on a descriptive and bivariate level.

Topics include: classification of health data; summarizing data using simple statistical methods and graphical presentation; sampling distributions, quantifying uncertainty in results from a sample; statistical distributions; comparing two/more groups/methods using confidence intervals and hypothesis tests (p-values); assessing the association between an outcome and an exposure using the chi-squared test; risk comparisons (RR & OR); prediction of an event or identifying risk factors for an event of interest where the event is measured on a continuous scale or a binary scale (yes/no); sample size calculations.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Explain the importance of biostatistics in public health studies;
  2. Classify data into appropriate measurement types;
  3. Explain sampling concepts and the role of sampling errors;
  4. Present data using relevant tables, graphical displays and summary statistics;
  5. Formulate research hypotheses into a statistical context in public health studies;
  6. Estimate quantities of interest and evaluate hypothesis with appropriate statistical methods;
  7. Accurately interpret statistical methods and results reported in health publications;
  8. Analyse data using a specific software package.


Structured written report (1,000 words excludes tables and data analysis output) (15%)
Structured written report (1,500 words excludes tables and data analysis output) (25%)
Structured written report (2,400 words excludes tables and data analysis output) (40%)
MCQ online test (1 hour) (20%)

Workload requirements

Off-campus: 20 hours per week for 6 weeks.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Must be enrolled in courses 4528 or 4529.