Introduction to Epidemiology

Key facts

  • Module codeNURP022
  • Start date 1 Feb 2021
  • Application deadline18 Jan 2021
  • Duration11 weeks
  • Credit value SCQF SCQF 11 20
  • Fees £945
  • Study mode


This module will provide students with an understanding of epidemiology, the study of the distribution and determinants of health and disease in different groups of people and why. The module will demonstrate how epidemiological evidence is used to plan and evaluate strategies to prevent illness and as a guide to the management of patients in whom disease has already developed.

  • The key aims within the module are to:
  • Describe the contribution that epidemiology has made to public health
  • Outline the fundamental principles of the discipline of epidemiology
  • Develop a knowledge base and understanding of epidemiological study design and analysis
  • Demonstrate how epidemiological evidence can be used to inform public health practice, policy and evaluation

A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2:1 preferred) or equivalent. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

A flexible payment scheme is operated by the University for students who are self-funding.

By the completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Critically reflect on the validity of epidemiological data sources
  • Analyse epidemiological data to provide information on disease frequency and associations between different variables
  • Compare the suitability of different epidemiological study designs to answer specific research questions
  • Critically appraise evidence generated from epidemiological studies
  • Critically reflect on the use of epidemiological evidence in public health practice, policy or evaluation

Content for the module is structured on a weekly basis in the form of an online lecture, guided student activities and associated reading, which you may work through at your own pace. Each week there is an optional evening face to face session with the Module Co-ordinator to consolidate the previous week's learning. Topics covered include:

  • Demography
  • Epidemiological data sources
  • Study design for descriptive epidemiology
  • Study design for analytical epidemiology
  • Critical appraisal of epidemiological studies

You should expect to set aside at least 10 hours of study time a week for this module.

The module is delivered online via Canvas.

The assessment for this module is composed of two parts to address the learning outcomes:

Assessment 1: Students will be assessed on their technical understanding of epidemiological study design and analysis.

Assessment 2: Students will critically evaluate two published epidemiological studies and reflect upon their potential contribution to public health practice and policy

You will develop an understanding of historical, current and emerging epidemiological priorities and areas of work which will be directly applicable to the working environment