Introduction to Epidemiology and Public Health


About this course

The course teaches the basic concepts, measures and study designs used in epidemiology and public health. It contains lectures on study design and methodological issues, lectures by epidemiologists working in various disciplines and e-learing modules to practice knowledge on study designs, standardization, and calculations of basic epidemiological and public health measures.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • describe the field of epidemiology and public health and the work of scientists in this field;
  • describe the major communicable and non-communicable diseases worldwide, including infectious diseases, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, pulmonary diseases, and brain disorders in terms of global burden of disease, time trends using prevalence and incidence, and disease processes, including major risk factors and the role of age and sex;
  • calculate and interpret basic measures used in epidemiology and public health;
  • explain basic study designs used in epidemiology and public health and indicate major (dis)advantages of the various study designs, including ecological, cross-sectional, cohort, and case-control study designs, and design of a randomized controlled trial;
  • explain internal validity issues, i.e., selection bias, information bias, and confounding; and discuss how these validity issues can affect the results while using different study designs;
  • explain the difference between internal and external validity of epidemiological findings, explain the basic concept of causality, and interpret precision measures;
  • explain the difference between population and individual prevention strategies, and the role of early detection in primary prevention, and calculate various measures used for disease screening, including sensitivity, specificity, and diagnostic value;
  • explain basic terms in infectious disease epidemiology, explain the dynamics that drive the development of a simple epidemic curve, and understand and discuss a basic compartmental model (SIR model) that describes an epidemic.

Required prior knowledge

Assumed Knowledge:
MAT15303 Statistics 1 + MAT15403 Statistics 2.

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Wageningen University.


  • Start date

    2 September 2024

    • Ends
      25 October 2024
    • Term *
      Period 1
    • Location
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