Course Outline

PUB361 Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Course Coordinator:Faith Alele ( School:School of Health - Public Health

2024Semester 1

UniSC Sunshine Coast

UniSC Moreton Bay

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.

Please go to for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


In this course, you will be introduced to the disciplines of epidemiology and biostatistics. You will design epidemiological studies to answer research questions, and use basic statistical concepts and methods to collect and analyse quantitative data. You will develop practical skills in applying epidemiological and biostatistical concepts, and in evaluating epidemiological research findings relevant to your professional area.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Learning materials – 2 hours of independent structured learning materials 2hrs Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – 2-hour workshop - on-campus 2hrs Week 1 13 times

Course Topics

Measures of health

Epidemiological study designs, bias, confounding and concepts of causation

Analytical techniques used in epidemiology, including inferential statistics for categorical variables, non-parametric statistics and regression 

What level is this course?

300 Level (Graduate)

Demonstrating coherence and breadth or depth of knowledge and skills. Independent application of knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Meeting professional requirements and AQF descriptors for the degree. May require pre-requisites where discipline specific introductory or developing knowledge or skills is necessary. Normally undertaken in the third or fourth full-time study year of an undergraduate program.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Mapping Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming... Professional Standard Mapping * International Union for Health Promotion and Education
1 Calculate and interpret measures of disease occurrence, and measures of association between exposures and disease Knowledgeable
6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 9.4
2 Identify and critique epidemiological study designs Creative and critical thinker
A.8, B.8, 4.1, 6.3, 9.2, 9.4
3 Critically appraise and assess epidemiological studies Creative and critical thinker
B.8, 4.1, 4.2, 6.2, 6.3, 6.7, 9.1, 9.4
4 Conduct, present and interpret epidemiological data Empowered
B.8, 4.1, 4.4, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 9.1, 9.4

* Competencies by Professional Body

International Union for Health Promotion and Education
A.8 Seeking the best available information and evidence needed to implement effective policies and programmes that influence health
B.8 The evidence base and research methods, including qualitative and quantitative methods, required to inform and evaluate health promotion action
4.1 Use effective communication skills including written, verbal, non­verbal, and listening skills
4.2 Use information technology and other media to receive and disseminate health promotion information
4.4 Use interpersonal communication and groupwork skills to facilitate individuals, groups, communities and organisations to improve health and reduce health inequities.
6.2 Use a variety of assessment methods including quantitative and qualitative research methods
6.3 Collect, review and appraise relevant data, information and literature to inform health promotion action
6.4 Identify the determinants of health which impact on health promotion action
6.5 Identify the health needs, existing assets and resources relevant to health promotion action
6.7 Identify priorities for health promotion action in partnership with stakeholders, based on best available evidence and ethical values.
9.1 Identify and use appropriate health promotion evaluation tools and research methods
9.2 Integrate evaluation into the planning and implementation of all health promotion action
9.4 Use research and evidence-based strategies to inform practice

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the UniSC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.




Not applicable


Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

Basic mathematical and statistical skills are assumed.

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

Weekly in-class practice activities will be used to provide you with early feedback to support your preparation for all tasks. You will also be able to check your progress each week with activities embedded into learning materials.

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Artefact - Technical and Scientific Individual 20%
10 multiple choice; 5 short answer questions
Week 4 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 2 Report Individual 35%
Written critique (completion of a template)
Week 9 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 3 Artefact - Technical and Scientific Individual 45%
1000 words
Week 13 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All - Assessment Task 1:Multiple choice and short answer questions
To apply your knowledge and skills in epidemiology to deconstruct extracts, assess epidemiological research designs, perform calculations, and identify the foundational concepts relevant to epidemiological approaches.
Product: Artefact - Technical and Scientific
Multiple choice and short answer questions related to the application of core epidemiological  concepts. Further details on how to approach and complete the multiple choice and short answer questions will be available on Canvas.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Application of concepts of epidemiology, including the strengths and weaknesses of different study designs.
Accuracy of routine epidemiological calculations.
Accuracy of interpretation of epidemiological data and study findings.
2 4
All - Assessment Task 2:Article critique
To apply your knowledge and skills in epidemiology to critique an epidemiological study published in the peer-reviewed literature.
Product: Report
Individually, you will use the knowledge and skills gained throughout the course to critically assess an 
allocated published peer-reviewed epidemiological article. The critical appraisal checklist and template, as well as further details on how to approach and complete the article critique will be available on Canvas.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Accuracy of the identification of the epidemiological characteristics of a study
2 3
Application of epidemiological concepts to critically assess and interpret the effects of potential bias, confounding and error
Quality of communication of the findings of an article critique.
All - Assessment Task 3:Public health report
To demonstrate your knowledge and skills in health data analysis and interpretation to inform evidence-based public health practice.
Product: Artefact - Technical and Scientific
Using an open-source data set provided to you in class, you will plan and conduct a biostatistical analysis and produce a report. Details on how to approach and complete the public health report will be provided in Canvas.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Application of statistical software to summarise features of descriptive data in an appropriate format.
Accuracy in the identification and application of appropriate statistical tests for different types of data
Accuracy in the interpretation of descriptive and inferential statistics
Quality of communication

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

Please note that you need to have regular access to the resource(s) listed below. Resources may be required or recommended.

Required? Author Year Title Edition Publisher
Recommended Webb, P., Bain, C., and Page, A. 2020 Essential epidemiology: An introduction for students and health professionals 4 Cambridge University Press

Specific requirements

Access to a basic calculator.
Access to statistical software, such as jamovi (recommended) or IBM SPSS Statistics (commonly called SPSS). You only need
access to one of these programs.
• jamovi is available as a free download from We advise downloading the solid version (rather than the current version) as it is likely to be more stable.
• SPSS is available in most UniSC computer laboratories, and through USCAnywhere ( on any internet-enabled device. You do not need to purchase SPSS.

How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Eligibility for Supplementary Assessment
Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:
The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate (the rates are cumulative): 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


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Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

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