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Introduction to Epidemiology (CO7048)

Module Coordinators: Dr. Enida Friel
ECTS Value:                             5

This module is an introduction to basic principles and methods of epidemiology. It is largely based on the book ‘Basic Epidemiology’ authored by Bonita et al and published by WHO, a widely used resource, downloadable free from: The book can also be purchased as hard copy or as an e‐book.

The aim of the module is to:

  • Explain the principles of disease causation with emphasis on environmental factors.
  • Encourage the application of epidemiology to disease prevention, health promotion, and wider health policy development, implementation and evaluation.
  • Stimulate a continuing professional interest in epidemiology

Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module, students should be able to demonstrate knowledge of:
•          The nature and uses of epidemiology
•          The epidemiological approach to defining and measuring the occurrence of health related states in populations
•          The strengths and limitations of epidemiological study designs
•          The epidemiological approach to causation
•          The contribution of epidemiology to disease prevention, health promotion and wider health policy development, implementation and evaluation

In addition students will have gained skills to:
•          Describe the common causes of death, diseases and disability in a given context
•          Outline appropriate study design to planning, monitoring and evaluation of a health intervention/policy
•          Critically evaluate the literature

Module content
The module will contain but not be limited to the following subjects:
•   What is epidemiology?
•   Measuring health and disease
•   Types of epidemiological studies
•   Causation in epidemiology
•   Epidemiology, prevention and health promotion; communicable and non-communicable diseases
•   Epidemiology and health policy
•   Practical epidemiology

A reading list may be recommended in addition to the ‘Basic Epidemiology’ book (download free from: or purchase as hard copy or as an e‐book). This reading list, long with lecture notes, exercises, case studies, articles for review etc. will be posted in Blackboard.

Methods of teaching and student learning
The module will run for 18 hours. Part of it will be dedicated to introduction of the theory of epidemiology. A significant portion of time will however be spent on discussing practical examples, exercises, case studies as well as critically reviewing the literature. There will be group and individual work.

Methods of assessment
Group assignment and presentation: 30%
Open book exam: 70%


Last updated 2 November 2017 School Web Administrator (Email).