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Epidemiology 1 (POPH90014)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2017
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codePOPH90014
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject is a core subject within the Master of Public Health, the Master of Epidemiology and the Master of Science (Epidemiology). Students should enrol in this subject early in their program of study.

Epidemiology is the discipline of studying the distribution and determinants of disease in populations and is a fundamental science of public health.

The subject covers the role of epidemiology in public health and ethical conduct of quantitative research. Within this subject the measures of population health and disease frequency, measures of association and measures of the impact of specific risk factors are studied. The subject includes descriptive epidemiology using routinely collected data. The common experimental and observational study designs, and systematic reviews, and their relative strengths and weaknesses are discussed. The implications of common types of bias (selection bias, information bias, and confounding) are discussed, as are methods to minimise them. Causal inference is considered within a framework of critical appraisal of epidemiological evidence. The validity and performance of screening and diagnostic tests are considered. Current infectious diseases will also be examined by considering the principles of infectious disease transmission and surveillance systems used for health protection. The cultural considerations in undertaking research within indigenous populations, and epidemiological measures in the context of indigenous health will be considered in an online module.

Intended learning outcomes

At the completion of this subject, students are expected to be able to:

  • Calculate and interpret measures of disease frequency, association and impact and interpret commonly used summary measures of population health
  • Use routinely collected data to describe the patterns of a disease in the community
  • Recognise the roles, strengths and weaknesses of systematic reviews, randomised controlled trials, cohort studies and case-control studies
  • Recognise confounding, selection bias and information bias in epidemiological studies and discuss means to minimise their effects
  • Perform basic critical appraisals of randomised controlled trials, cohort studies and case-control studies
  • Assess whether associations are likely to be causal or non-causal
  • Describe the basic principles in infectious disease transmission and surveillance systems used for health protection
  • Explain the epidemiological principles of screening, and calculate and interpret measures of validity and performance of screening tests

Generic skills

Upon completion of this subject, students will have developed skills in:

• Critical thinking and analysis
• Finding, evaluating and using relevant information
• Problem-solving
• Written communication
• Using computers

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


POPH90142 POPH90143

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home


Additional details

  • Written short answer assignment, 1500 words, Due week 6 (30%)
  • Written short answer assignment, 1500 words, Due week 12 (30%)
  • Two-hour open book exam held during the examination period (40%)

Dates & times

  • Semester 1
    Principal coordinatorDallas English
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours24 hours: 2 hours per week for 12 weeks.
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period27 February 2017 to 28 May 2017
    Last self-enrol date10 March 2017
    Census date31 March 2017
    Last date to withdraw without fail 5 May 2017
    Assessment period ends23 June 2017

    Semester 1 contact information


    Melbourne School of Population and Global Health


    Currently enrolled students:

    Future Students:

Time commitment details

170 hours

Further information

Last updated: 5 July 2019