Single-Course English 5 ECTS

Epidemiology – an introduction

Overall Course Objectives

Epidemiology is the doctrine of the occurrence and spread of diseases and other health conditions in populations; both animals and humans. Epidemiological studies attempt to identify causal relationships by identifying factors that affect the incidence and spread of diseases with the primary purpose of preventing or controlling diseases at the population level. Epidemiology share many common features with biostatistics and quantitative epidemiology uses statistical methods to investigate and detect associations and causal relationships.

At this course, the students are introduced to the discipline of epidemiology, which include the definition and explanation of epidemiological concepts, study designs, and measures of association. The students will also get hands-on experience with some of the most frequently used analytical methods. The overall course objective is that the students acquire epidemiological skills to an extent, where they can understand, explain, interpret and criticize scientific epidemiological studies, ranging from the choice of study design to translating the results into initiatives for prevention and control. The skills acquired by the students may also be prerequisites for other more advanced courses, where epidemiological insights are essential for analyzing and interpreting results, e.g. when analyzing complex or composite data sets, including “Big Data” and registry data.

Learning Objectives

  • Calculate and present disease frequencies in populations using epidemiological terms and methods
  • Explain the relationship between disease, cause and risk factors
  • Explain the types of study designs and their relation to the different measures of association
  • Formulate hypotheses and select study designs that can test these
  • Calculate sample sizes and study power
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the sources of bias in epidemiological studies and explain how they can be controlled
  • Estimate measures of association using univariate or multivariate, linear or logistic regression analyses
  • Present, interpret and discuss frequency and measures of association
  • Suggest strategies for prevention and control strategies based on the results of epidemiological case studies
  • Interpret, present and discuss results from epidemiological studies

Course Content

Epidemiological concepts and principles, and the connection to other related disciplines. Descriptive vs. analytical epidemiology. Description of disease incidences in populations. Types of disease determinants and disease patterns. Disease transmission and pathways of infectious diseases. Formulation of hypotheses and choice of study design with emphasis on observational studies. Classification of data and data management. Sampling, sample sizes and power calculation. Measures of association and test of hypotheses. Control of biases in the design and analytical phase, including control for confounding and interaction. Univariate and multivariate regression analyzes. Comparative epidemiology. Strategies for prevention, control, and disease eradication.

Recommended prerequisites

Basic statistical skills and knowledge, such as understanding probability and interpretation of results of statistical tests.

Teaching Method

Lectures, exercises, group work


See course in the course database.





13 weeks




DTU Lyngby Campus

Course code 23256
Course type Bachelor
Semester start Week 5
Semester end Week 19
Days Tues 13-17

7.500,00 DKK