3 x 2.5-hour independent studies weekly
2 x 1-hour on-line exercises weekly
1 x 1-hour on-line tutorial weekly
Assumed knowledge
Basic numeracy skills.
Assignment(s); Test(s)
Topic description

This topic is intended to meet the needs of those researchers wishing to gain knowledge of the study of epidemiology, casual inference, study design and a range of quantitative measures commonly used in Epidemiological research. It is also designed to assist in meeting the core competencies for the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (AFPHM) for clinicians wishing to become Public Health Physicians.

Educational aims

This topic aims to:

  • Provide Public Health researchers with the key concepts used in the study of Epidemiology including cause and effect
  • Teach the key measures of association used in epidemiology
  • Cover the key aspects of the main types of epidemiological study design
  • Understand the concepts of bias, confounding and effect modification, and the various possible ways that might be used to control for them
  • Assist in meeting the entrance requirements for Domain 3 (Information, Research and Evaluation) of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (AFPHM) core competencies for clinicians wishing to become Public Health Physicians.
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Understand the key principles and study of modern epidemiology, including the concept of casual inference
  2. Understand when and how to calculate measures of frequency (prevalence, incidence, and incidence rates) and common measures of association (absolute risk, relative risk, odds ratios and number needed to treat) used in epidemiology
  3. Recognise the main types of study design used in epidemiolog, their limitations, the rationale behind their use and when each might be employed. Describe the characteristics of cross-sectional studies, case-control studies, cohort studies and meta-analyses. Be familiar with the Cochrane Collaboration and the PRISMA statement for meta-analyses
  4. Explain the purpose of standardisation and when it is used. Understand how to perform direct and indirect standardisation, when each would be used and why
  5. Understand the rationale of screening and diagnostic tests used to assess the presence of disease. Use appropriate measures to assess the accuracy of screening tests including sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value
  6. Be able to describe the purpose and types of public health surveillance, identify indicators that may be used for evaluating public health programs and discuss the role of epidemiological data in informing public health policy

Key dates and timetable

(1), (2)

Each class is numbered in brackets.
Where more than one class is offered, students normally attend only one.

Classes are held weekly unless otherwise indicated.


If you are enrolled for this topic, but all classes for one of the activities (eg tutorials) are full,
contact your College Office for assistance. Full classes frequently occur near the start of semester.

Students may still enrol in topics with full classes as more places will be made available as needed.

If this padlock appears next to an activity name (eg Lecture), then class registration is closed for this activity.

Class registration normally closes at the end of week 2 of each semester.

Classes in a stream are grouped so that the same students attend all classes in that stream.
Registration in the stream will result in registration in all classes.
  Unless otherwise advised, classes are not held during semester breaks or on public holidays.