School of Public Health


EPI 512 Epidemiologic Methods I (4)

Considers principles and methods of epidemiology. Covers measures of disease frequency, descriptive epidemiology, overview of study designs, measures of excess risk, causal inference, screening, measurement error, misclassification, effect modification, and confounding. First in a two course sequence. Prerequisite: BIOST 511, which may be taken concurrently, or equivalent. Offered: A.

Line Number Section ID Credits Days/Times Room/Bldg Instructor
This course is not offered during the current quarter. For more info, please see the Epidemiology Course Planning Sheet at the link below.
For a complete listing of Epidemiology courses, their elective categories, and when they are typically offered, please see the Epidemiology Course Planning Sheet

Additional Course Details

EPI 512 is the first course in a two-course sequence on the principles and methods of epidemiology. If you take EPI 512, you should also plan to take EPI 513 offered in Winter Quarter, as neither course can stand alone as an introduction to the field. It is assumed that after completing the EPI 512-513 series, you will actually be conducting research using epidemiologic study designs in the future. You are required to take the EPI 512-513 series if you are a graduate student in epidemiology. You are also encouraged to take the EPI 512-513 series if you are a graduate student in another department but need or desire an in-depth introduction to epidemiologic methods in order to apply them as research tools in your field.

Topics Covered

  • State-transition models
  • Measures of occurrence
  • Data sources
  • Overview of study designs
  • Excess risk measures
  • Interaction
  • Causal inference
  • Measurement error
  • Screening
  • Misclassification
  • Confounding
  • Causal diagrams
  • Mediation

Learning Objectives

  • Evaluate the integrity and comparability of data and identify gaps in data sources commonly used in epidemiologic research and practice
  • Define and calculate the major measures of disease frequency used in epidemiologic research and practice
  • Define and calculate measures of association between a given risk factor and a disease or health outcome
  • Describe the major epidemiologic research study designs and their advantages and limitations
  • Describe the major sources of bias in epidemiologic research (confounding, selection bias, and measurement error) and the ways to evaluate and reduce bias
  • Define and evaluate the modification of associations between a given risk factor and disease or health outcome by a third factor or characteristic
  • Describe and apply guidelines to support causal inference in epidemiologic studies
  • List and define the basic terms and methods used in outbreak investigation, infectious disease epidemiology, chronic disease epidemiology, disease prevention trials, and evaluation of screening tests
  • Critically review the relevant scientific literature, synthesize the findings across studies, and make appropriate public health recommendations based on current knowledge
  • Design a randomized trial, cohort study, or case-control study to evaluate whether a certain exposure is causally associated with a certain health outcome
  • Interpret results of an epidemiologic study, including the relation to findings from other epidemiologic studies, the potential biological and/or social mechanisms, the limitations of the study, and the public health implications
  • Write a clear description of the rationale, methods, results and interpretation of an epidemiologic investigation
  • Apply epidemiologic skills in a United States or global public health setting, specifically in the formulation, application or evaluation of public health programs or policies

Course Format

Lectures and small group sessions

How You Are Evaluated

  • Problem sets
  • Quizzes
  • Exams

Contact the Instructor

Ali Rowhani-Rahbar (