Cardiovascular Epidemiology

The objective of this online medical course is to provide you with insights into the principles of cardiovascular disease (CVD) epidemiology and the important issues that are involved – plus a lot more besides. Unlike many other courses that only go into one particular topic in depth, this course will enable you to ‘zoom out’ from your own direct research in order to look at the bigger picture. By doing so, you will be able to see your own work or research from a broader perspective. Furthermore, this is an essential course to follow if you want to gain a broader understanding of cardiovascular epidemiology than you would in your own specialty.

During this course, you will learn about atherosclerosis, worldwide trends in CVD morbidity and mortality, the role of factors triggering the occurrence of a cardiovascular event, risk factors for CVD, and prevention strategies. In addition, we will present the latest developments in CVD epidemiology. We will also discuss gender differences, the role of HDL cholesterol, the importance of genes, renal denervation, heart failure, stem cells, early origins of vascular risk, and non-invasive imaging. If you wish to further your medical education in the field of Cardiovascular Epidemiology, this is an excellent course for you.

Cardiovascular Epidemiology is part of MSc Epidemiology Postgraduate Online; the online MSc program in Epidemiology offered by Utrecht University, University Medical Center Utrecht, MSc Epidemiology and Elevate Health.

Learning objectives

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • Understand the process of atherosclerosis, which is the underlying pathology for the most common cardiovascular diseases
  • Describe the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases
  • Describe the worldwide trends in cardiovascular diseases and cardiovascular disease mortality
  • Describe the triggers for a cardiovascular event
  • Understand the principles for prevention of cardiovascular diseases

Course topics

  • Atherosclerosis, the underlying pathology for the most common cardiovascular diseases
  • Risk factors for cardiovascular disease
  • Worldwide trends in cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality
  • The role of trigger factors in the occurrence of a cardiovascular event
  • Prevention strategies for cardiovascular disease

Learning methods

The whole course will take place online, apart from the final exam. The following learning methods will be used:

  • Web lectures
  • Articles
  • Assignments
  • Group discussions

Course Deadlines

Please note that you are required to hand in assignments during some of the learning units in this course:

Week 0
Sunday before start date - introduce yourself

Week 1
Sunday – complete Learning Units 1 to 7

Week 2
Saturday – submit presentation
Sunday – complete Learning Units 8 to 10

Week 3
Wednesday – review presentations
Thursday – formulate pro and contra arguments
Friday – respond to the arguments
Saturday – Finalize for feedback
Sunday – complete Learning Units 11 to 13

Week 4
Tuesday – submit take home exam

Completing all required assignments and meeting the deadlines are requirements to take the final exam.


This course includes a multiple-choice exam, which is the only part of the course that is not online. The exam will be June 3rd 2019. The re-take is on July 8th 2019. 

The exam is not compulsory. However, if you want to receive the Course Certificate and the credits, it is obligatory to take the exam. You are allowed to redo the exam once. 

It might be that, due to a force majeure situation, you cannot be present during the first exam moment. You must then, preferably prior to the first exam option, ask the academic counsellor for permission to be absent. Please note that the academic counsellor can ask for some form of proof of your absence (e.g. in case of illness) to establish if you are applicable for authorized absence. Jaco de Fockert-Koefoed, MSc is the academic counsellor you need to turn to

In short, as of now, it is no longer possible to skip the first exam option and -automatically- enroll in the second (re-sit) exam. Unauthorized absence during the first exam period results in no longer being able to finish the course that college year.


As this is a university course, it is covered by academic accreditation. Upon successful completion of this course, you will receive a recognized certificate from Utrecht University.           

Entry requirements

To enrol in this course, you need:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in life sciences (or the equivalent)
  • Sufficient proficiency in English reading and writing
  • Access to PubMed

Please note
This course is offered through the MSc Epidemiology program developed by the UMC Utrecht and Utrecht University. The only part of the course that is not online is the examination. You do therefore need access to an internet connection in order to be able to follow lectures, complete assignments and communicate with fellow participants.

The entire course is also available offline.  For more information about this option, please visit the MSc Epidemiology website.

Course staff

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Pick a date for this course:
(Enrollment deadline: 10 May 2020 - 23:59 CET)
330 days left.

Quick overview

  • 11 May 2020 – 31 May 2020
  • 3 weeks
  • 14 hrs/wk
  • Academic Certificate
  • 1.5 EC
  • Online
  • English
  • Weblectures, exercises, group discussions
  • Desktop, Laptop, Smartphone, Tablet
  • 785

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