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Introduction to Epidemiology




Admission Requirements

None, but basic quantitative skills are necessary for this course.


This course will introduce the student to the “the language of public health”; epidemiology. Concepts that will be reviewed include: causality and transmission of disease; the design and use of indicators; the measurements of morbidity and mortality; and the appropriate choice of research methodology for population health. The first half of this course provides a broad foundation for understanding how population health is measured. The second half of this course will prepare the student to measure the health of populations. Specific global challenges to population health serve as case examples.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Assess causality and transmission of disease in populations

  • Implement basic measurements of morbidity and mortality

  • Critically assess the appropriate level of analysis for public health evaluations

  • Demonstrate an understanding of how and when to use a given research design

  • Apply epidemiology to the practice of public health

  • Employ epidemiology to analyze global health challenges

Mode of Instruction

In addition to lectures and discussions, this course will use case studies and problem solving to master the concepts reviewed.


Assessment: 6 Weekly Assignments & 2 Quizes
Learning aim: Master content of lessons
Percentage: 40%

Assessment: Midterm Examination
Learning aim: Assess Retention and Application of Material
Percentage: 15%

Assessment: Research & Poster Presentations
Learning aim: Develop effective research/presentation skills
Percentage: 25%

Assessment: Final examination
Learning aim: Assess Retention and Application of Material
Percentage: 20%


Required Textbook for course (Please purchase in advance of first class.)

  • Gordis, L. 2009. Epidemiology. Fourth Edition. Saunders.

Recommended Textbooks

  • Bonita, R., Beaglehole, R., and Kjellstrom, T. 2006. Basic Epidemiology. Second Edition. World Health Organization.
    Free upload at:

  • Katz, D.L., Elmore, J.G., and Wild, D. et al. 2013. Jekel’s Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Preventive Medicine, and Public Health. Saunders. (Excellent all around reference.)

  • Rothman, K.J. 2002. Epidemiology: An Introduction. Oxford University Press.

  • Rothman, K.J. and Greenland, S. 1998. Modern Epidemiology. Second Edition. Lippincott-Raven.

Contact Information

Weekly Overview

Week 1: Introduction to Epidemiology
Week 2: Categorizing Populations and Population Health
Week 3: Causality and Transmission
Week 4: Measuring Morbidity and Mortality
Week 5: Research Design
Week 6: Assessing Validity
Week 7: Applications of Epidemiology

Preparation for first session

Please come to the first class prepared to discuss Chapter 1 of Gordis’ Epidemiology.