PUBH2203 Foundations of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

6 points
(see Timetable)

If this unit does not have an online alternative, then students who are presently unable to enter Western Australia and whose studies would be delayed by an inability to complete this unit, should contact the unit coordinator (details given on this page) to ascertain, on an individual case-by-case basis, if alternate arrangements can be made to support their study in this unit.

Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face Predominantly face-to-face. On campus attendance required to complete this unit. May have accompanying resources online.
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Population Health; Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing major sequences
  • Level 2 elective
This unit introduces students to the use of epidemiology and biostatistics as tools in understanding health. The main epidemiological research designs and related statistical analyses are described and evaluated. Discussion focuses on how health and disease are measured and compared across populations and how researchers measure associations between exposures and health outcomes. Analytical skills are developed using statistical computer software (SPSS) for analysis of research data as well as the critical appraisal of epidemiological studies, which incorporates understanding of the roles of bias, chance and confounding in interpreting study results. The implications of epidemiologic research findings for public policy are also illustrated.
Students are able to (1) identify the research question in published literature; (2) explain the basic statistical concepts of estimation and hypothesis testing; (3) compute measures of health and disease frequency; (4) generate data summaries relevant to epidemiological research
; (5) interpret the results of epidemiological research; (6) interpret statistical methods commonly used in epidemiological studies; (7) describe the major epidemiologic study designs; and (8) Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of epidemiological studies.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) an assignment; (2) short online quizzes; and (3) preparation and participation in tutorial and class activities. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Charley Budgeon
Unit rules
for student enrolled in Population Health Major (MJD-PPHLT) and all students other than those enrolled in the Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing major: one of the following; PUBH1101 Health and Illness in Human Populations or PUBH1102 Health and Globalisation or ANHB1101 Human Biology I: Becoming Human or ANHB1102 Human Biology II: Being Human or ANTH1001 Being Human: Culture, Identity and Society or ANTH1002 Global Change, Local Responses or PUBH2209 Plagues, Pox and Pandemics or SCOM1101: Communicating Science or BIOL1130: Frontiers in Biology or BIOL1131: Plant and Animal Biology;

for students enrolled in the Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing major MJD-ABHWB: either (INDG1150 Aboriginal Encounters: Strangers in our Backyard or INDG1160 Boodjar Moort Katatjin: Introduction to Indigenous Heritage and Knowledge), and AHEA2201 Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing;
Advisable prior study:
knowledge of basic algebra, familiarity with hand-held calculators and familiarity with computing in the Windows environment
IMED2003 Essentials of Research in the Health and Medical Sciences
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week; tutorials: 2 hours per week

Gordis, L. Epidemiology, 5th edn: Saunders Elsevier 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.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.