Introduction to Epidemiology

Develop your understanding of the distribution and causes of disease in populations, and learn how evidence can help plan and evaluate strategies to prevent disease and promote public health.

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Key facts

  • Module codeNURP022
  • Start date 20 Jan 2025
  • Application deadline6 Jan 2025
  • Duration11 weeks
  • Credit value SCQF 20
  • SCQF level Level 11
  • Fees £1,225
  • Mode of study part time
  • Delivery online


Epidemiology is the study of health and disease in populations. While a global pandemic has refocused the world’s attention on the threat from infectious disease, chronic diseases such as diabetes and mental ill-health are also increasing worldwide.

In this module, you will develop an understanding of the distribution and causes of disease in populations, and how epidemiological evidence is used to plan and evaluate strategies to prevent disease and promote health in populations.

Flexible learning

This short course forms part of the MPH Public Health (Online). You can study other stand-alone continuing professional development (CPD) short courses from this degree:

If you’re interested in studying more than one module from this course, please email our Admissions team at to discuss your course of study.

Entrance requirements

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.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS Academic or UKVI 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-skill.
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 60 overall with a minimum of 59 in each sub-skill.
  • IBT TOEFL 78 overall with a minimum of 17 in listening, 18 in reading, 20 in speaking and 17 in writing.

See our information on English language requirements for more details on the language tests we accept and options to waive these requirements.


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

Structure and content

This module will provide students with a sound knowledge base of the principles and practice of epidemiology. Students will be taught skills in the collection and analysis of epidemiological data, and the conduct and critical appraisal of epidemiological study designs; to ensure that their reflection on public health challenges is underpinned by a sound understanding of epidemiological principles.

Indicative content:

  • Definition, scope and history of epidemiology
  • Sources and appraisal of epidemiological data
  • Measures of disease frequency and association
  • Descriptive epidemiology
  • Analytical study designs in epidemiology
  • Bias, Confounding, Misclassification, Effect modification, Interaction
  • Assessing Causality

Delivery and assessment

The module will be delivered using a range of online approaches including: pre-recorded lectures, webinars, reading, quizzes, discussion boards, group work, student presentations. 

The assessment for this module is composed of two parts to address the learning outcomes. Both parts must be passed with at least 50% to pass the overall module.

Module coordinator

Agi McFarland


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

What next?

Contact us

If you have any questions about entry requirements for our continuing professional development and short courses, contact our Admissions team.

For all other questions, please use our enquiry form.