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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 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.

You can also use the credits you earn on this course towards our MSc in Clinical Nutrition and Master of Public Health qualifications.

What will I 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 will…

  • Understand the concept of causation, how this differs at a population and individual level, and the difference between a ‘simple’ association and a ‘causal’ association.
  • Understand different methodological considerations in epidemiological investigations, including: validity, reliability, bias and confounding.
  • Appreciate the advantages and disadvantages of different epidemiological study designs, understand when to use them and the appropriate analytic approach in each case.
  • Understand different measures of disease occurrence.
  • Have developed skills in critical appraisal and interpretation of epidemiological research.

Why study Epidemiology online with Aberdeen?

How will I study?

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 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
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library
  • discussion boards with classmates.

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

This course is taught at Masters level by experienced epidemiologists and researchers from our School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, internationally recognised for its research excellence.

Course coordinator

Where will this take me?

Towards a Masters

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

Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods for Health (60 credits)

Masters in Clinical Nutrition (180 credits)

  • Available to study to Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) and Postgraduate Diploma level (120 credits).

Master of Public Health (180 credits)

  • Also available to study on campus.

Further short courses

We have a range of online Health 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 careers advice

We’ll help you explore your career potential and connect with job opportunities around the world.

You can access our free careers service while you study.

From interview training to CV clinics, we’re here with tailored, impartial and professional advice.

Am I ready?

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) degree
  • or relevant experience that supports this level of study.

Apply for this course

Start date
18 January 2021