MPH5040 - Introductory epidemiology - 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)

Prof Flavia Cicuttini


Drs Monira Hussain
Yuanyuan Wang

Quota applies

This unit is quota restricted. Selection is on a first-in, first enrolled basis.

Unit guides


Alfred Hospital


MPH5041, unless enrolled in an Occupational and Environmental Health program or the Master of Medicine. Must be enrolled one of the following course codes:0046, 0160, 0702, 1884, 2311, 2312, 2314, 2868, 2870, 2872, 3198, 3403, 3416, 3420, 3421, 3422, 3440, 3807, 3862, 3873, 3874, 3896, 3900, M4006, M5007, M5017, M5018, M6008, M6023, M6024, M6025, M6026, M6027, M6028.


This unit is taken concurrently with MPH5041, as together they are prerequisites for clinical epidemiology elective units.

Upon completion of this unit students will be able to measure frequencies of disease i.e. incidence, prevalence, "population at risk"; and measure associations in epidemiological studies; different study designs i.e. observational studies, experimental study designs; bias associated with study designs, misclassification, confounding and effect modification. Students will critically appraise different epidemiological studies, apply diagnostic and screening tests, and examine outbreak investigation.


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

  1. explain and contextualise the purposes of descriptive and analytical epidemiology;
  2. explain and contextualise the concepts of study questions, population, sampling, exposure assessment, bias and confounding;
  3. analyse the strengths and weaknesses of different epidemiological study designs;
  4. critically analyse epidemiological papers from the medical research and OHS literature;
  5. evaluate the adequacy of exposure assessment in epidemiological studies;
  6. interpret and communicate the results of epidemiological studies; and
  7. solve complex problems relating to the use of epidemiological concepts and study designs.


  • Short answer questions (30 minutes) (10%)
  • Open-book test (1 hour) (20%)
  • Critical appraisal (2,000 words) (30%)
  • Open-book examination (2 hours) (40%) (hurdle)

Workload requirements

12 hours per week including one hour weekly lectures for 10 weeks and 10 tutorials (1 hour each).

See also Unit timetable information

Off-campus attendance requirements

12 hours per week, plus 2 compulsory on-campus block days

Note Semester 2 is only available in off-campus mode and no attendance is required during this Semester

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

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