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Epidemiology of Epidemics (VETS90086)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5Online

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeVETS90086
February - Online
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Animal disease epidemics have many unique epidemiological features, most obviously a potential for a high rate of transmission in fully susceptible populations. This expresses itself as an “epidemic curve” where the number of reported cases increases rapidly until control measures become effective, followed by a gradual decline. Thus animal disease managers are faced with a series of common problems when dealing with epidemics, including developing and/or interpreting epidemic models, implementing field procedures to diagnostic test systems for rapid diagnosis and undertaking freedom from disease surveys.

This subject will use online lecture notes and study materials to provide students with an overview of the epidemiology of animal disease epidemics, which will be reinforced with detailed studies of epidemics in later subjects (VETS90087, VETS90088, VETS90089, VETS90090).

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this subject, students will have gained:

  • A basic understanding of the generalised course of animal disease epidemics in fully susceptible populations
  • An overview of the main epidemiological questions faced by animal disease control managers during an epidemic
  • A basic understanding of the main epidemiological tools and techniques to be used during an epidemic (e.g. modelling, GIS, etc)

Generic skills

On completion of this subject, students should have developed their:

  • Ability to understand the main epidemiological problems faced by animal disease control managers
  • Ability to use the literature describing historical animal disease epidemics

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


Recommended background knowledge

Students should have background knowledge in one of:


Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
VETS90083 Selection & Interpretation of Lab Tests
Winter Term

Plus one of:


Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
VETS90084 Communication in Disease Emergencies 12.5

Plus one of:


Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
VETS90085 Management in Disease Emergencies 12.5

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



Students will be assessed for participation in weekly forum discussions, a group assignment in approximately Week 5 and final written exam in approximately Week 9 or 10. Students will be required to arrange an appropriate venue (e.g. a nearby university) to sit this assessment under supervised examination conditions.

The assessment components of this subject are:

  • Participation in online forum discussions (25%)
  • Group assignment (1000 words per student) (20%)
  • 2-hour final written exam (55%)

Dates & times

  • February - Online
    CoordinatorSimon Firestone
    Mode of deliveryOnline
    Contact hoursApproximately 10-14 hours per week over an 8 week period
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period 4 February 2019 to 29 March 2019
    Last self-enrol date 5 April 2019
    Census date22 March 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail12 April 2019
    Assessment period ends12 April 2019

    February contact information

Time commitment details

170 hours

Additional delivery details

Prior to 2017 this subject was VETS50006 Epidemiology of Epidemics.

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    Thrusfield, M. (2005). Veterinary Epidemiology 3rd edition. Blackwell Science, Oxford.

    E-book and hard copy available through UoM library.

  • Subject notes

    Reliable internet access with at least a medium speed connection and a personal computer are essential for undertaking this online program. The content is accessed through your web browser. Microsoft Office™ and Adobe Acrobat Reader or equivalent software packages are necessary for assessment tasks, assignments and some class exercises.

Last updated: 3 April 2019