EPM5002 - Mathematical background for biostatistics - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

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


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Andrew Forbes


Dr Trent Mattner

Unit guides


Alfred Hospital


This unit is only available to students enrolled in the Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma or Masters of Biostatistics.


Core topics in algebra and analysis, including polynomial and simultaneous equations, graphs, concepts of limits, continuity and series approximations, including Taylor series expansions. Calculus is used to describe techniques of integration and differentiation of vector expressions. Study of probability, concepts of probability laws, random variables, expectation and distributions. Essential topics in matrix algebra relevant to biostatistical methods. Essential numerical methods, including Newton-Raphson method for solution of simultaneous equations and concepts of numerical integration.


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

  1. Demonstrate a broad understanding of the mathematics underlying key statistical methods.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of basic algebra and analysis, and the ability to manually differentiate and integrate algebraic expressions, and perform Taylor series expansions.
  3. Understand the basic laws of probability, and the calculus basis of expectation and distribution theory.
  4. Perform matrix manipulations manually.
  5. Understand the numerical methods behind solutions of equations regularly encountered in methods in biostatistics.


Written assignments (100%)

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

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