Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

POPLHLTH 708 - Epidemiology

15 Points

Semester 2



Examines epidemiological study design, measures of effect, screening, appropriate statistics for epidemiology, with a focus on public health epidemiology.

Course aims

Content outline

Day 1

  • Measures of disease frequency
  • Measures of effect
  • Cohort studies

Day 2

  • Intervention studies
  • Cross-sectional studies
  • Monitoring health status of New Zealanders
  • OpenEpi – introduction to data analysis

Day 3

  • Case control studies
  • Bias in observational studies
  • Confounding & Standardisation

Day 4

  • Sample size, Power & Confidence Intervals (practical with OpenEpi)
  • Genetic epidemiology

Day 5

  • Meta-analysis
  • Multivariate analyses in epidemiology

Day 6

  • Infectious disease epidemiology
  • OpenEpi – further practice

Day 7

  • Screening, Causation & Prevention
  • Questionnaire design
  • Validity & Reliability

Day 8

  • Burden of disease
  • Applying epidemiology to develop health policy
  • Overview of course 

Goals of the Course

To provide an overview of the:

  • Principles of the design of epidemiological studies
  • Main measures of effect measured in epidemiological studies
  • Role of bias in the results of epidemiological studies
  • Application of epidemiology to public health

Learning Outcomes


Experience gained in:

  • Designing an epidemiological study
  • Analysing epidemiological data using OpenEpi & hand held calculators


This is a core course for the following programmes:

and an optional course for:

This course is core background knowledge and research methods in public health epidemiology. It is suitable for BHSc or social sciences graduates as well as medical and nursing graduates and may also be taken towards a health sciences or medical science programme.

It is a core course (option of POPLHLTH 708 or POPLHLTH 709) for the PG Certificate and PG Diploma in Public Health.

Full-time public health students are encouraged to take this course rather than POPLHLTH 709.


Learning and Teaching

Learning and Teaching 

Sessions are taught using an interactive lecture format with opportunity for informal discussion and questions (medium class size). A calculator is required to do calculations in class. Students learn how to use OpenEpi (internet version) for analyses of aggregated data and sample size calculations in the computer laboratory. The main project is designing an epidemiological research study.


Campus Teaching Dates 

This course is held at Tāmaki Campus. Please see your timetable on SSO or Building 730 Reception noticeboard on the day for the room details.


Learning Resources

Recommended text book: Friis RH, Sellers TA. Epidemiology for public health practice, 4th edit. Boston: Jones & Bartlett, 2009

OpenEpi software, can be freely downloaded from CDC website



Course work: 2 tests of epidemiological calculations (10% each of total mark)

Project – design an epidemiological study (30% of total mark)

Examination: 2 hours (50% of total mark)

Course Director

Course Administrator