The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020

Course handbook


This course applies the principles of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in a very practical manner to improve clinical decision-making. Students are provided with an opportunity to develop research skills and apply epidemiological concepts which are essential for investigating important clinical and population-based health problems. The course is delivered in topic specific modules. Each module includes a video that focuses on the key objectives. In addition, other content specific videos are provided by the Course Coordinator. Students also contribute to facilitated discussion questions after reading relevant sections of the textbook and other articles. Students are expected to read all recommended texts and contribute to discussion forums on Blackboard.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Describe the relationship between the natural history of disease and prognosis. Describe how prognosis may vary according to factors (injury, disease, age, sex, race and treatment) that influence the natural history of disease. Discuss the ways that the risk of various disease precursors and their interaction might be used to identify groups amenable for prevention. Consider factors that influence the natural history of a disease. Critically appraise articles on natural history of disease and apply these to clinical examples.

2. Locate and interpret evidence-based information to inform clinical practice. Evaluate evidence in relation to a specific clinical question and patient population. Identify relevant ethical issues when undertaking clinical research.

3. Give examples of the properties and evaluation of health outcomes at an individual and population level; Describe the use of health outcomes in clinical decision-making, management, quality improvement and public health research.

4. Analyse variations in clinical practice and understand ways to reduce variations in clinical practice to improve health outcomes. Locate and interpret clinical guidelines and the quality of the evidence underpinning them.

5. Calculate and interpret measures of patient risk; Express evidence in terms of risk in ways useful to both clinicians and patients.

6. Define and Apply concepts relating to the selection and interpretation of diagnostic tests.

7. Apply concepts relating to the principles and practice of screening for early diagnosis of disease. Describe the role of screening and early diagnosis in preventing diseases. Critically appraise studies that evaluate screening programs.

8. Apply and Describe the concepts of health social science to clinical practice and research; undertake a critical appraisal of an existing psychometric measurement scale.


The course content includes the following learning modules:

Module 1. Natural History and Disease Prognosis (week 1)

Module 2. Introduction to Evidence-Based Medicine (weeks 2 and 3)

Module 3. Measurements of Health Outcomes (week 4)

Module 4. Variations in Clinical Practice and Clinical Guidelines (week 5)

Module 5. Applying Measures of Effect to your Patient (week 6)

Module 6. Diagnostic Tests (week 7)

Module 7. Screening and Early Diagnosis in Preventing Diseases (week 8 and 9)

Module 8. Design of Measurement Scales and Questionnaires (weeks 10 and 11)

Assessment items

Written Assignment: Assignment 1 - 40%

Written Assignment: Assignment 2 - 40%

Written Assignment: Assignment 3 - 20%

Contact hours


Online Activity

Online 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

Self-Directed Learning

Self-Directed 8 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

Contact hours are an indication only.