Module code: MD7452

Module co-ordinator: Mark Rutherford

Module Outline

This module will provide an outline of the principles of epidemiological study design and conduct, and analysis, with emphasis on basic statistical principles and methods. Students will be given introductory experience in the critical appraisal of epidemiological studies and in the interpretation of their results. The role and importance of statistical techniques covered later on the MSc will be discussed in the context of epidemiological study design, analysis and interpretation.

  • Introduction to epidemiology: observation vs. experiment; cohort, case-control and cross-sectional study designs; consideration of example
  • Disease measurement: estimation of incidence, prevalence and odds ratios
  • Bias and confounding; cause and association: types of bias and confounding; controlling confounding; cause vs. association
  • Adjustment: Why adjust? 
  • How to adjust: stratification vs. matching; standardisation; simple regression models in epidemiology; assessing homogeneity and trends. 
  • Review and discussion of a paper illustrating adjustment issues
  • Critical consideration of epidemiological papers in this week’s journals and newspapers

Modelling in Epidemiology project

The project is designed to give you experience in analysing epidemiological data using logistic and Poisson models. The project uses real datasets, which inevitably comes with some real problems. The overall aim is that the datasets should be analysed using appropriate statistical techniques and written up in a clear, concise and scientifically rigorous manner.


  • 14 one-hour lectures
  • Six one-hour seminars
  • 14 one-hour workshops


  • Coursework (30%)
  • Mini project (70%)