Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Introduction to Epidemiology MED5433

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Health and Wellbeing
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No
  • Taught Wholly by Distance Learning: Yes

Short Description

This course takes students through the major techniques used to measure the health of populations and the prerequisite of causal inference. The course aims to make students competent at interpreting and critically appraising epidemiological literature and provides a basis for more advanced study of the topic.


This course comprises of lectures and an interactive session in semester 2.

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





Guided epidemiological analysis (Max 1000 words) (40%) [ILO 2-5]

Structured critical appraisal of an epidemiological study (Max 1500 words) (60%) [ILO 1-6]

Course Aims

To introduce students to the epidemiological approaches used to understand the health of populations, including:

■ the measures of health event occurrence and associations

■ the strengths and limitations of common study designs

■ the approach and framework to critically evaluate evidence of causality

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


1. Discuss and critically evaluate the role of epidemiology in public health practice.

2. Define, apply, and critically evaluate measures of health event occurrence and associations.

3. Critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of common epidemiological study designs.

4. Describe the process of screening and critically evaluate its assessment.

5. Critically evaluate whether observed associations are likely to be causal or due to alternative explanations.

6. Interpret and analyse epidemiological studies and critically appraise their implication to population health.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.