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: 2021-22
  • 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

The Introduction to Epidemiology course takes students through the major techniques used to measure the health of populations as well as considering how poor study design can cause misleading results. 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 is made up of lectures and seminars throughout semester 2.

Requirements of Entry





An appraisal of an epidemiological study (Max 1,500 words) (50%)

1,500 approx word assignment integrating the learning from the literature analysis exercises (50%)

Course Aims

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

1. the measures of disease occurrence

2. the strengths and limitations of common study designs

3. the approach and framework to critically evaluate evidence of causality

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


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

Define and critically analyse measures of frequency of health events and determinants of healt

Critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different epidemiological study designs.

Describe the process of screening and critically evaluate its assessment.

Critically evaluate whether observed associations are likely to be due to bias, con
founding or real, or whether they are causal.

Interpret and analyse epidemiological data and critically appraise population health related research.

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.