Introduction to Epidemiology

Course dates

5 - 9 February 2018.

Course duration

5 days (approximately 27 hours of teaching, including 21 hours of lectures and 6 hours of practicals).
Registration will start at 9.30am on the first day, the course will finish by 3.45pm on the final day. 

Course tutors

Dr Peter Blair (course organiser). The tutors are epidemiologists, clinicians and medical statisticians and have wide-ranging interests in clinical epidemiology. They have a breadth of experience in the design, conduct and analysis of epidemiological research and between them have over a 1000 peer-reviewed publications.

Course aims 

The aim of the course is to provide a grounding in epidemiological study designs and measures of disease risk used in aetiological epidemiology and health services research. Participants will gain practical experience in study design and the appraisal of epidemiological literature.

Course objectives

By the end of the course participants should be able to:

  • select the appropriate epidemiological study designs to investigate research questions;
  • with expert advice, be able to design and undertake a case-control, cohort, ecological or cross-sectional study;
  • list the strengths and weaknesses of randomised controlled trials (RCT) and case-control, cohort, ecological and cross-sectional studies;
  • calculate incidence and prevalence and state which measure is most useful in a particular circumstance;
  • calculate direct and indirect standardised mortality ratios and list advantages and disadvantages of each approach;
  • explain confounding and interaction (effect modification);
  • assess whether an exposure-disease association is likely to be due to chance, bias, reverse causality or confounding;
  • explain the principles underlying sample size/power calculations;
  • critically appraise a published RCT, case-control, cohort, ecological or cross-sectional study;
  • assess causality using the Bradford Hill criteria.

Who the course is intended for

This course is intended for clinicians, researchers, public health specialists and other health care professionals who have only a basic understanding of epidemiology. Prior knowledge of basic medical statistics so that you understand findings published in peer-reviewed medical journals is important.

Course outline

Topics to be covered include:

  • exposure measurement and measures of disease occurrence (incidence, prevalence);
  • measures of exposure effect (risk, rate and odds ratios);
  • study designs (cross-sectional studies, case-control studies, cohort studies, ecological studies and randomised controlled trials);
  • bias and confounding;
  • basic regression, interaction;
  • sample size calculations;
  • causal Inference;
  • epidemiology and public health policy.

Please note: No prior knowledge of Stata is required but students are advised to bring a calculator. Parts of this course will be held in a computer lab, you will not need to bring a laptop. 


Bookings for this course have now closed.

Excellent course, well organised and delivered.

Course feedback, February 2017

Course fee


More information on course fees, fee waivers and reduced prices.

Course venue

Bristol Medical School
Canynge Hall
39 Whatley Road
United Kingdom

Map and directions

Course refreshments

We provide morning and afternoon refreshment breaks, including tea and coffee, biscuits and fresh fruit.

If you have specific dietary needs we ask that you let us know in advance.

Lunch is not included. There are a range of local cafes and supermarkets nearby for students to purchase lunch. 


Information about accommodation in the area.


For further information please email

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