POPLHLTH 708 : Epidemiology

Medical and Health Sciences

2024 Semester Two (1245) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

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

Course Overview

The course covers the basic methods of quantitative epidemiological research and application of these epidemiological principles to the practice of public health. The course provides the conceptual basis for designing epidemiological studies and practical experience with analysing epidemiological data. It covers the measures of disease frequency, measures of effect including attributable risk, and the main observational and intervention study designs used in epidemiology. It gives students experience in designing an epidemiological study, including sample size calculation and analysing data with OpenEpi software, and introduces students to the concepts used in meta-analysis and logistic regression. The paper applies this knowledge to public health issues, including infectious disease and genetic epidemiology.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Course Contacts

Course Director
Professor Robert Scragg
Head, School of Population Health
Building 507  (Level 1)
Grafton Campus, University of Auckland  
Private Bag 92019, Auckland
Tel: (09) 373 7599 ext 86336 DDI: 9236336
Email: r.scragg@auckland.ac.nz
Kathryn Bradbury
Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Level 1
School of Population Health
University of Auckland
Email: k.bradbury@auckland.ac.nz 
Course administrator
Mrs Upendra Wickramarachchi
Email: u.wicks@auckland.ac.nz

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Graduate Profile: Master of Public Health

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Apply epidemiological and biostatistical approaches to public health issues and to the measurement and monitoring of health status (Capability 3 and 5)
  2. Demonstrate the ability to contest and to critically appraise and synthesise evidence (Capability 3, 4 and 5)
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of the research base of public health research in NZ and globally (Capability 3, 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Test 10% Individual Test
Test 10% Individual Test
Project 30% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3
Final Exam

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 24 hours of lectures,  8 hours of tutorial, 60 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 40 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including tutorials to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including tutorials will not be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events including group discussions.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a block delivery of 8 half-days.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Recommended Text book
  • Friis RH, Sellers TA. Epidemiology for public health practice, ebook. Boston: Jones & Bartlett, 2020.
Other books 
  • Szklo M, Nieto FJ. Epidemiology – beyond the basics. Gaithersburg: Aspen
  • Rothman KJ. Epidemiology – an introduction. Oxford: OUP, 2002
  • Hennekens CH, Buring JE. Epidemiology in medicine. Boston: Little Brown, 1987
  • Giesecke J. Modern infectious disease epidemiology. London: Arnold, 2002
  • Weiss KM. Genetic variation and human disease. Cambridge: Cambridge Uni Press, 1999

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

No changes

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.