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.

Key facts

  • Module codeNURP022
  • Start date 22 Jan 2024 Applications will open in June 2023.
  • Application deadline8 Jan 2024
  • Duration11 weeks
  • Credit value SCQF 20
  • SCQF level Level 11
  • Fees Home: £1167, Overseas: £1167
  • 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.

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.


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 on-line 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.