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)
Unit Outline

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.