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.

Advanced Epidemiology MED5591

  • 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 in advanced epidemiology is designed to move beyond the basics of epidemiology, building on the material taught in the introduction to epidemiology course (or similar). The course will cover the major contemporary issues in epidemiology, including counterfactual approaches, directed acyclic graphs and providing a conceptual understanding of the major threats to the validity of epidemiological studies. Students will gain an appreciation of the issues which typically come-up when epidemiological papers are criticised in peer review, or in the scientific literature.


Ten sessions within semester 2.

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses

Students must have completed MED5433 Introduction to Epidemiology




Assessment 1- Written assignment - 40%

Assessment 2 - Written assignment - 60%

Course Aims

This course will introduce students to advanced epidemiological concepts and methods, that are underpinned by counterfactual thinking, which are employed in modern epidemiological research.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

1. Critique epidemiological research drawing on an understanding of counterfactual thinking and causal diagrams.

2. Recognise important biases and their implications, understand how such biases can be addressed by study design and/or statistical analysis.

3. Design epidemiological research which is informed by an understanding of counterfactual thinking and be able to critically reflect on the relative strengths and limitations of different methodological approaches.

4. Critically understand how quantitative methods can be used to apply effect measures to target populations, as well as the assumptions such approaches require.

5. Critically understand the major methodological issues in natural experiment studies, administrative data analyses and life-course epidemiology and relate these to major theories across the wider field (e.g. collider bias, confounding etc).

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.