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MMB8009 : Clinical Epidemiology

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Mark Pearce
  • Lecturer: Mrs Nermine Basta, Dr Mark Booth, Professor Judith Rankin, Dr Louise Reynard, Professor Linda Sharp, Dr Svetlana Cherlin
  • Owning School: FMS Graduate School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module aims to provide the students with a sound theoretical and practical understanding of value, theoretical basis and practicalities of epidemiology and approaches to epidemiological research. Epidemiology concerns the investigation of distributions and causes of disease within populations. This module engages the students in thinking about the basic concepts of epidemiology and covers the basic epidemiology of cancer, children’s health and adult onset diseases, as well as how to investigate the potential impact of environmental, lifestyle and occupational exposures on the health of individuals. The emphasis of the course is on practical application – how can I set about answering a question about the health of individuals within an epidemiological framework? Throughout the course you will develop skills in critical appraisal by evaluating published research and the strengths and weaknesses of epidemiology itself. By the end of the course students will, with our help in small group tutorial work, have designed an epidemiological study of their choice and gained knowledge that will be provide a sound grounding if you undertake medical or biological research in the future. No previous experience of epidemiology is required as the module assumes no prior knowledge of epidemiological methods. The course has (almost) no statistics or formulae. The module is appropriate for all students accepted for the MRes, regardless of background.

Outline Of Syllabus

The syllabus includes:

Introductory lecture: What is it and what has epidemiology ever done for us?
Epidemiological Study Design – ecological, cross-sectional and cohort studies
Case-Control Studies
Measuring disease frequency – incidence, prevalence and mortality
Bias, confounding and Fallacies
Creating Information for use in epidemiology studies
Ethics and Legal issues
Lifecourse Epidemiology
Genetic Epidemiology
Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology
Cancer Epidemiology
Molecular Epidemiology
Perinatal and Paediatric Epidemiology
Critical appraisal of epidemiology literature
Barker hypothesis
Causation and interpretation
Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology
Developing hypotheses and planning studies (leading to the written assignment)

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion140:0040:00Preparation and Submission of Essay
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00Revision for Examination
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture141:0014:00Lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity114:0014:00Additional Reading & Reflective Learning
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study120:0020:00Preparation of Presentation and Presentation
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study150:0050:00Preparing Notes from Lectures and Reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

An understanding of clinical epidemiology is a key area in modern medical science. The majority of the course will be taught by lecture and seminar which is standard format. The knowledge gained and the skills developed in the lectures and seminars will enable the students to make a more informed approach to this subject, particulary in:

1. The fundamentals of epidemiological research.

2. The limitations of all studies.

3. The legal and ethical issues.

4. The role of epidemiological investigation in the study of disease.

5. The basic concepts of environmental and genetic epidemiology.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination601A60N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prof skill assessmnt1M10Oral presentation
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The examination set at the end of the formal presentations will be designed to test the outcomes detailed above. Knowledge and understanding are assessed not only in the written examination but also by coursework. Key (transferable) skills are assessed by coursework. The oral presentation will assess presentation, critical appraisal and planning skills. The written assignment will reinforce material supplied in lectures and help students practice written communication and critical appraisal

Reading Lists