Epidemiology explores the patterns, causes and effects of diseases in groups of people.

Develop your skills in epidemiology and discover what factors can protect people against disease.

  • Get an introduction to disease measurement at population level.
  • Learn to design and appraise epidemiological studies.
  • Join a part-time online epidemiology course you can fit around full-time work.

You’ll study with active applied health researchers at a university awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for 40 years of excellence in health services research.

We have a distinguished track record in putting health research into practice and you’ll benefit from this unique expertise.

Build credits towards a Masters degree

This online course is part of:

You can use the credits you earn on this short course towards any of these postgraduate qualifications.

What you’ll study

You’ll study the basic principles of epidemiology.

This includes an introduction to disease measurement at a population level and basic epidemiological study design and analysis.

You’ll explore:

  • causality and associations
  • measures of disease occurrence
  • different types of study design – and the pros and cons for each
  • populations
  • sampling
  • validity and reliability
  • sensitivity and specificity
  • bias and confounding
  • critical appraisal.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to…

  • Discuss the concept of causation, how this differs at a population and individual level, and the difference between a ‘simple’ association and a ‘causal’ association.
  • Explain the different methodological considerations in epidemiological investigations, including: validity, reliability, bias and confounding.
  • Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of different epidemiological study designs, understand when to use them and the appropriate analytic approach in each case.
  • Identify different measures of disease occurrence.
  • Critically appraise and interpret epidemiological research.

Why study epidemiology online with the University of Aberdeen?

How you’ll study

Online learning

Our Epidemiology short course is delivered part-time, 100% online. You can study with us anywhere in the world and manage your study hours to suit you.

Your teaching

This course is taught at Masters level.

Your teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It holds all the materials, tools and support you’ll need in your studies. Take a look around MyAberdeen.

You can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and laptop, 24 hours a day. You’ll find a range of resources at your fingertips, including:

  • short podcasts
  • online lectures
  • online tutorials
  • reading materials
  • discussion boards with classmates
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library.

This course has weekly themes, with material released in three-week blocks to give you flexibility to suit your schedule. You’ll consolidate your learning from lectures with further reading, practical assignments, online discussions and homework assignments.

Your tutors

You’ll learn from experienced epidemiologists and researchers from our School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, internationally recognised for its research excellence.

Your course coordinator

Where this will take you

Towards a Masters

You’ll earn 15 credits at Masters level (SCQF Level 11) with this course. You can use these credits towards our:

Build your learning

We have a range of online healthcare and medicine short courses you can use to build your skills.

Many carry credits you can build up into postgraduate qualifications, including Masters degrees:


Developing your skills in this key area of public health, you’ll gain a strong career advantage as a researcher, health or related professional.

An epidemiology career can take you into roles in a research setting, focusing on populations as a whole, or as a clinical epidemiologist, concentrating on patients.

Your employer or professional institute may recognise this course for Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Talk to your employer or institute to find out more.

Free career support

Access our free careers service while you study.

  • 1:1 appointments
  • CV checks
  • Interview prep
  • Job opportunities

See how our careers service can help you.

Entry requirements

This course has no formal entry requirements. You decide if it’s suitable for you.

The course is delivered at Masters level. At this level, you’d usually have at least:

  • a 2:2 (second-class) undergraduate degree
  • or relevant experience that supports this level of study.

Apply for this course

Start date
23 January 2023
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