Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

MEDI6073 Epidemiology: Concepts, Analysis and Application

Module Overview

This module focuses on the epidemiological methods and approaches that underpin an evidenced based approach to public health research and practice. The module covers each of the main types of epidemiological study design and provides a framework for critically appraising each method, differentiating association and how to draw causal inferences. The module includes sessions on chance, bias, confounding, measures of disease frequency and risk estimation and hypothesis testing. The module provides guidance as to how to critically appraise published studies and to how to design studies.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Provide you with the skills to understand and interpret descriptive and analytical epidemiological study designs • Develop your skills to utilise epidemiology in public health practice both at national and international levels • Develop your independent analytical and appraisal skills that will enable you to make independent scientific judgements on epidemiological evidence.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Apply observational and interventional epidemiological study designs to a range of health-related issues.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of prevention and screening.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the basic concepts and application of statistical estimation, hypothesis tests and inference to epidemiological data.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the role of chance, bias and confounding in explaining associations and describe ways to deal with confounding and bias.
  • Calculate and interpret measures of disease frequency including prevalence and incidence rates and risk.
  • Calculate and interpret measures of association and effect size (odds ratios, relative and absolute risk, population attributable risk and number needed to treat).
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify the key sources of epidemiological and public health data and evaluate different types of study design and problems of measurement.
  • Critique epidemiological research evidence demonstrating the knowledge and ability to appraise scientific validity.
  • Evaluate the sources of bias in epidemiological studies including information bias and selection bias.
  • Understand the difference between association and causation and assess causation
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Use problem solving skills for a range of situations.
  • Discuss ideas and scrutinize information in critical, evaluative and analytical ways.
  • Communicate epidemiological concepts, data and information.


• Epidemiological associations and causal inference • Understanding rates and risk • Chance, bias, and confounding • Observational study designs: Cohort, case-control, cross-sectional and ecological • Experimental study designs: Randomised and non-randomised, complex interventions • Systematic review and meta-analysis • Critical appraisal • Epidemiology in range of fields with special interests e.g. environmental, life course and nutrition • Prevention strategies and principles of screening

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

A variety of methods will be used including lectures, active participatory methods, case studies of epidemiology in practice, e-learning/interactive tools for learning and self-assessment, practical exercises, guided reading, group study and individual study.

Independent Study210
Total study time250

Resources & Reading list

How to read a paper.

Statistics at square one.

Epidemiology for the uninitiated.

CASP checklists.

CEBM critical appraisal tools.

Short Introduction to Epidemiology.

Basic epidemiology.


Assessment Strategy

The assessment includes both formative and summative elements. There will be two components to the summative assessment i) written research funding proposal and ii) written critical appraisal and two components to the formative assessment i) MCQ quiz and ii) group oral presentation. The pass mark for the module and the two summative assessment components is 50%. You must pass the online MCQ quiz by achieving a mark of 70% or more to pass the module. If you fail the MCQ quiz you are allowed to take it again until you pass. If you do not achieve the pass mark on this module by achieving 50% or more in both summative components, you may still pass by compensation for the two summative assessments. To do this, you must at least achieve a qualifying mark of 40% in each component. Each of the component marks is then combined, using the appropriate weighting, to give an overall mark for the module. If this overall mark is greater than or equal to 50% you will have passed the module. If your overall mark is less than 50% when the weighting has been applied to the components, you will have failed the module. If you have not achieved 40% or more on both components, you cannot use compensation and have failed the module. If you have failed the module, you will have the opportunity to submit work at the next referral (re-sit) for components where you have not achieved the pass mark (50%). Marks for components which were passed (50% or higher) will be carried forward. You must achieve the pass mark in all referred components. On passing your referrals, your final module mark will be capped at 50%.


Group presentation


MethodPercentage contribution
Written critical appraisal  (1000 words) 40%
Written Individual Research Funding Proposal  (2000 words) 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Written critical appraisal  (1000 words) 40%
Written Individual Research Funding Proposal  (2000 words) 60%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Google+ Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.