PUBH4403 Epidemiology I

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 1OnlineOnline
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Honours core unit in Population Health [Bachelor of Science (Honours)]
  • Honours option in Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing [Bachelor of Science (Honours)]
This unit covers the principles and methods of epidemiological research. It introduces the principles of epidemiology as well as higher-level coverage of the major study designs (intervention, cohort and case-control studies); the causes and control of bias, confounding, and effect-modification; screening; outbreak investigation; and causation of disease. In addition, it provides an introduction to the newer study designs (e.g. case-crossover). Emphasis is placed on the critical appraisal of published articles in order to enable the student to take an evidence based approach to health policy and practice.
Students are able to (1) describe and contrast the characteristics of the key epidemiologic study designs; (2) explain the relative strengths and limitations of the various study designs; (3) interpret and calculate measures of disease frequency; (4) interpret and calculate measures of association; (5) identify and describe bias, chance, effect modification and confounding in epidemiological research and methods to reduce or manage these issues; (6) differentiate between association and causation in disease models; (7) evaluate the strength and nature of possible causal relationships; and (8) evaluate the appropriateness of screening programs.
Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) mid-semester online quiz; (2) an assignment (consists of written short-answer questions and calculations); and (3) a final 2-hour examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Tom Briffa
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week; tutorials: 1 hour per week (for face-t- face mode only)

Rothman K. J. Epidemiology: an Introduction, 2nd edn: OUP 2012


Gordis L. Epidemiology, 5th edn: WB Saunders 2014


  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.