Schulich school of Medicine and Dentistry logo Epidemiology and Biostatistics Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

Course Descriptions

Enrolment priority is given to graduate students in the Epidemiology & Biostatistics graduate program. If there is space in the course, graduate students from other programs may register for a course provided they have: the required pre-requisites, permission of the course instructor and permission of their home program.

For a list of required and elective courses in each of our graduate programs, please review our graduate course information page. Course times, locations, and outlines may be found on our course schedule page.

"A" courses are offered in the fall term.
"Q" courses are offered in the first half of fallterm.
"R" courses are offered in the first half of fall term.
"B" courses are offered in the winter term.
"S" courses are offered in the first half of winter term.
"T" courses are offered in the second half of winter term.
"V" courses are offered in the summer term.


Biostatistics 9509A: Principles of Biostatistics

Requirements: Must attend a one-hour orientation session held a week before start of class.
Course Weight: 0.5 credits
An introduction to applied biostatistics including: frequency distributions; sampling; testing means; testing proportions, and basic sample size estimations; one way analysis of variance, correlation and simple linear regression; non-parametric analyses. Introduction to the statistical computing program SAS.

Biostatistics 9510A: Biostatistical Research Methods

Requirements: for biostatistics students only
Course Weight: 0.5 credits
Review of statistical methodology from epidemiological viewpoint, including cohort and case-control designs, relative odds (odds ratio) and relative risks. Introduction to computer simulation, and resampling methodology, including cross-validation and bootstrapping. Introduction to computer packages SAS, Splus/R and LaTeX.

Biostatistics 9521B: Multivariable Methods in Biostatistics

Prerequisite: Biostatistics 9509A or 9510A or equivalent
Antirequisite: Epidemiology 9512A
Course Weight: 0.5 credits
This course is designed to provide students with a conceptual understanding of multivariable regression models most often encountered by epidemiologists and biostatisticians. These include multiple linear regression models for continuous outcomes, logistic regression models for binary outcomes, and Cox proportional hazard regression models for time-to-event data. Models will be discussed in the contexts of isolating the effect of a single predictor, understanding multiple predictors, and outcome predictions. Statistical methods for longitudinal studies are also covered. By the end of the course students should be able to (i) understand and critique applications of regression models appearing in the biomedical literature and (ii) carry out their own analyses.

Biostatistics 9631V: Statistical Software

Prerequisite: Epidemiology 9553B and Biostatistics 9521B
Course Weight: 0.25 credits
This course introduces students to the use of both commercial software packages (i.e. SAS and Stata) and open-source software (R via RStudio) for data management, exploratory data analysis, and inferential statistical analysis. Examples analyzed using multiple software packages are used to illustrate the advantages and disadvantages of each package. Students should have an understanding of statistics at the level of multivariable methods.

Biostatistics 9641V: Missing Data

Prerequisite: Epidemiology 9553B and Biostatistics 9521B
Course Weight: 0.25 credits
Study participants often do not provide all requested data, resulting in missing data. Most analytic procedures in statistical software quietly delete participants with missing values. Thus, missing data are a potential source of bias, and their handling in the statistical analysis can have an important impact on the likelihood and extent of bias. Inadequate handling of missing data may also result in invalid p-values and confidence intervals. This course introduces principled approaches to dealing with missing data arising from randomized controlled trials and observational studies. Students will have opportunity in analyzing studies with missing data using Stata and SAS

Biostatistics 9651V: Multi-level Modelling

Prerequisite: Epidemiology 9553B and Biostatistics 9521B
Course Weight: 0.25 credits
This course covers statistical methods for drawing inferences from multi-level data, including longitudinal data from cohort studies and clinical trials, as well as multilevel data in social epidemiology. Topics include graphical exploration of data, and the use of linear and generalized linear regression models for correlated outcome data. Both marginal and random-effects models will be discussed. The course will have an applied emphasis using common statistical software packages (SAS, R and Stata).

Biostatistics 9681Q: Causal Modelling

Prerequisite: Epidemiology 9553B and Biostatistics 9521B
Course Weight: 0.25 credits
This course will take a rigorous approach to methods related to causal inference and counterfactual comparisons, including confounding, structuring causal models, analysing mediation, and heterogeneity of effect. Methods include propensity scores, causal diagrams, instrumental variables, regression discontinuity, marginal structural models, and average marginal risks.


Research Seminar I & II

Note: All first year students are required to attend the weekly departmental seminar series. This seminar series will appear on students’ transcripts as a complete or incomplete, based on students’ participation.
Course Weight:
Milestone (non-credit, required)
The Epidemiology & Biostatistics Research Seminar course is designed to provide graduate students with a broader exposure to the applications of research methods and statistical approaches to research in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, help students develop critical appraisal skills, and provide students with exposure to a diverse group of health researchers to expand their familiarity with different research topics, perspectives, methods, data analytic strategies, and styles for presentation of research findings.

Epidemiology 9512Q: Questionnaire Design and Survey Implementation

Course Weight: 0.25 credits per course
This course provides an overview of effective questionnaire development and survey implementation techniques emphasizing the development of practical skills to optimize both the quantity and quality of survey data. The course stresses a tailored design strategy to reduce total survey error. Methods covered include: writing effective survey questions, questionnaire design principles, and effective communication with potential participants.

Epidemiology 9514R: Sampling Methods

Course Weight: 0.25 credits per course
This course offers an introduction to the various techniques related to designing and executing population health surveys. Topics to be covered include: construction of sampling frames, basic sampling design concepts, estimation, and inference statistics. Upon successfully completing this course, students will have learned how to design and implement population surveys, estimate sample size for different sampling designs, estimate intraclass correlation coefficient and design-effects, compute sampling weights, and adjust for sampling non-response.

Epidemiology 9516T: Analysis of Population Health Data

Prerequisite: Epidemiology 9514R
Course Weight: 0.25 credits per course
This course will familiarize students with selected statistical methods for the analysis of health-related survey data. In this hands-on seminar, students will learn how to address some of the methodological challenges of working with survey data. Students will develop their analytical skills by conducting a comprehensive analysis of a selected public health problem and by completing all stages of the research project, from conducting literature reviews to presenting the results.

Epidemiology 9526T: Grant Writing and Peer Review

Prerequisite: Epidemiology 9551A and Biostats 9509A or 9510A
Course Weight: 0.25 credits per course
This course will focus on professional skills development in proposal writing, and provide background on the Canadian funding environment. Strategies for presentation of proposed research, formative work with pilot data or background research, and grant structure will be covered. Students will also gain strategies and skills in peer reviewing grants and manuscripts.

Epidemiology 9531B: Methods and Issues in Program and Policy Evaluation in Health and Human Services

Course Weight: 0.5 credits
The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with the major issues in the fields of health and human services program and policy evaluation. Students will develop an inderstanding of the theoretical frameworks used for evaluative research, validity issues in evaluative research, and the multi-methods, theory-driven approach to evaluation. Students will also develop an understanding of the relative value of different designs that can be applied to evaluation research. Students will have the opportunity to develop their theorectical, methodological, and interpretive skills through various examples and applicantions and through the development of a proposal on an evaluation question of interest to them.

Epidemiology 9540R: Health Service Research Methods

Course Weight: 0.25 credits
This course aims to provide a broad overview of the basic concepts and methods for undertaking health services research. The emphasis is on the application of epidemiologic methods to topics related to the delivery, utilization, and outcomes of health services. The intent is to familiarize students interested in conducting health services research with key concepts, tools, and ideas that can support them in assessing the quality of existing studies and developing their own research proposals.

Epidemiology 9551A: Foundations of Epidemiology

Course Weight: 0.5 credits
History, concepts and terminology of epidemiology. Basic types of epidemiological investigation, including strategies for infectious and chronic disease. Outline of important epidemiological variables.

Epidemiology 9553B: Analytic Epidemiology

Prerequisites: Epidemiology 9551A and one of Biostatistics 9509A or Biostatistics 9510A or equivalents
Course Weight: 0.5 credits
Using published studies, epidemiologic research designs (including experimental, cohort and case-control approaches) will be extensively examined. The development and critique of study protocols is a substantial course requirement.

Epidemiology 9560B: Design and Analysis of Clinical Trials

Prerequisites: Biostatistics 9509A or Biostatistics 9510A or equivalent
Course Weight: 0.5 credits
A comprehensive treatment of the issues involved in the design and analysis of clinical trials. The principal requirement is the completion of a grant application for funding of a project in the student's subject matter area.

Epidemiology 9562A: Clinical Epidemiology

Course Weight: 0.5 credits
A seminar course for health care professionals and epidemiology students that surveys the main topics in clinical epidemiology at an introductory level. The seminars focus on the design and evaluation of clinical studies that evaluate health-care related activities, and judging whether clinicians should, or should not, adapt the activity into their practice. The main topics include evaluation of studies that assess diagnostic tests, prognosis, therapy, early detection activities (screening and case-finding), etiology, and clinical prediction rules; introduction to meta-analysis; and variation and disagreement.

Epidemiology 9566S: Randomized Trials: Design

Co-requisite: Biostats 3110B
Course Weight: 0.25 credits
This course provides comprehensive coverage of the issues involved in the design of clinical trials. Brief attention will be given to phase I and phase II trials with the primary focus on phase III clinical trials. Challenges of sample size estimation, recruitment, random assignment, blinding, and ethics of informed consent will be included.

Epidemiology 9568T: Randomized Trils: Analysis

Prerequisite: Epidemiology 9566S
Co-requisite: Biostats 3110B
Course Weight: 0.25 credits
This course provides comprehensive coverage of the issues involved in the analysis of data from randomized trials including cross-over trials, cluster randomization trials and trials where patient reported outcomes are of particular importance. Attention will also be given to survival analysis and repeated measures.

Epidemiology 9572Q: Introduction to Health Economics

Course Weight: 0.25 credits
This course will focus on the concepts and methods relevant to understanding health policy decisions from an economic perspective. It will cover the following topics: microeconomic tools for health economics, demand for and supply of healthcare, market failure in the health sector, and demand for health insurance.

Epidemiology 9574S: Cost-effectiveness Analysis

Prerequisite: Epidemiology 9572Q or instructor's permission
Course Weight: 0.25 credits
This course will provide students with a theoretical foundation of cost-effectiveness analysis. Emphasis will be placed on the methods to evaluate health programs, policies, and interventions arising in the field of health economics evaluation. The topics to be covered include cost-effectiveness analysis, cost-utility analysis, cost-benefit analysis, and measurement of direct and indirect costs.

Epidemiology 9576T: Health Economics Research Methods

Prerequisite: Epidemiology 9574S
Course Weight: 0.25 credits
This course focuses on empirical methods to evaluate health interventions from an economics perspective. The topics to be covered include decision-analytic models, Markov models, microsimulation models, probabilistic sensitivity analysis, and analysis of health care costs and effects for economic analysis. This course will also provide students with a hands-on experience in conducting empirical health economics evaluation using TreeAge Pro and STATA software packages.

Epidemiology 9580S: Systematic Reviews

Course Weight: 0.25 credits
Systematic reviews form the core of evidence-based decision-making in health care and are based on reliable syntheses of research information. This course will cover the theory and rationale behind systematic reviews, discuss strengths and limitations of the methods, and give step-by-step guidance on how to do a systematic review.

Epidemiology 9582T: Meta-Analysis

Prerequisite: Epidemiology 9580S
Course Weight: 0.25 credits
This course is designed to provide details of the process of conducting a meta-analysis and to discuss strengths and limitations of the methods. Familiarity with systematic review methods is required for this course.

Epidemiology 9590S: Measurement in Epidemiology

Prerequisite: Epidemiology 9551A and one of Biostatistics 9509A or Biostatistics 9510A
Course Weight: 0.25 credits
This course will focus on methodological issues related to the measurement of exposures, outcomes, and other relevant covariates in epidemiologic research. Topics to be covered include scale development, assessment of reliability and validity, and factor analysis. Students will learn how to choose an instrument when designing an epidemiologic study and understand the implications of measurement error on their analyses.

Epidemiology 9650A/B: Epidemiology Community Practicum

Prerequisites: Epidemiology 9550B, Graduate Chair's permission needed. Students are required to have finished their literature review and data analysis. The thesis must have been deemed complete by the student's supervisor, except for final writing, prior to being permitted to start the practicum.
Time Commitment: 140 hours (10 hours/week for 14 weeks or full time for 4 weeks)
Course Weight: 0.5 credits
This course will help students integrate course work with the practical skills needed in community health and field epidemiology. Students will gain experience with a variety of relevant methodological tools such as the use of statistical or database computer packages (i.e.: SPSS, EXCEL) and data sets (i.e.: Ontario Health Survey, Ontario Mortality Database), with health information communication and survey design. For example, as part of a practicum, the student may be involved with the preparation of a report on a specific health issue relevant to both the student and the host agency. Currently, the Middlesex-London Public Health Unit is the host agency for the community practicum course. The scope of potential projects will vary and these are meant as examples only. Practicum cannot be substituted for one of the other course requirement for degree credit.

Epidemiology Community Practicum
Process for Requests

  1. Student will meet with Graduate Chair to make initial request to be enrolled in this elective course (Epidemiology 9650A/B).
    Time frame: Summer Term, Year 1 (May – August) for a placement the following January (Year 2 Winter Term) for Master’s students; Year 2 – 4 for Doctoral students.
  2. Student discusses interest in doing a practicum with thesis supervisor. If supervisor agrees with student’s participation and believes it is unlikely to affect student’s time-line for completion, he/she sends letter to Graduate Chair confirming these two points.
  3. Graduate Chair contacts the Student Education Coordinator (SEC) at the Middlesex-London Health Unit with the request, along with the student’s resume and any expressed interest in a particular area.
  4. SEC notifies all of the Epidemiologists at the MLHU of the availability of a student and forwards student’s resume.  Epidemiologists will collectively determine which student project(s) will be offered, if any are available.  
  5. Epidemiologists confirm the project and deliverables (goals and completion targets) and SEC sends the project summary to Graduate Chair. If more than one project is available and offered by the Epidemiologists, student will indicate his/her preference.
  6. Student will contact SEC to confirm project preference and to coordinate a telephone interview with relevant Epidemiologist.
  7. Epidemiologist will confirm with SEC that the interview was completed and successful and that the dates for the placement have been confirmed.
  8. SEC will notify Graduate Chair that MLHU is prepared to offer the placement to student.
  9. Graduate Chair will communicate with student to confirm participation in the project and the student will then enroll in practicum course.
  10. Graduate Chair contacts SEC to confirm start and end dates.
  11. SEC will provide an orientation for student on first day at MLHU and will contact student to confirm these details. (paperwork to be completed, HR policies, H&S policies, MLHU overview of programs and services).

At the end of the placement, the Epidemiologist will meet with the student to provide feedback on his/her performance in the practicum. The epidemiologist will provide the Graduate Chair with a summary evaluation (pass/fail) on the course based on whether expectations and deliverables were met.

The student and Epidemiologist will also complete an MLHU evaluation/ feedback form based on the placement experience and send to SEC. SEC will pass along any relevant feedback or concerns to the Graduate Chair.

Epidemiology 9690R: Advanced Topics in Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Prerequisites: Biostatistics 9681Q and restricted to PhD students
Course Weight: 0.25 credits
This course is designed to give students pursuing a Ph.D. in either epidemiology or biostatistics a synergized introduction to advanced theoretical concepts and emerging methods.