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.

dr. C.H. (Ilonca) Vaartjes
Associate Professor Cardiovascular Epidemiology
Quick overview
  • 3 weeks - 14 hrs / wk
  • Academic Certificate
  • 1.5 EC
  • Online
  • English
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Enrollment closes 29/04/2025 289 days left to apply
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Course description

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 discuss gender differences, the role of HDL cholesterol, the importance of genes, the exposome, chronic kidney disease and cardio-oncology. If you wish to further your medical education in the field of Cardiovascular Epidemiology, this is an excellent course for you.

This is one of the online medical courses offered through the MSc Epidemiology program of the UMC Utrecht and Utrecht University, and as such is highly relevant for anyone participating in a medical education or working in healthcare. It will also provide you with a good basis for further research into specialized areas of epidemiology.

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

  • Artherosclerosis
  • CVD morbidity and mortality
  • Occurance of cardiovascular events
  • Risk factors
  • Prevention strategies
  • Gender differences
  • HDL cholesterol
  • Genetics
  • The exposome
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Cardio-oncology


This Cardiovascular Epidemiology course includes a multiple choice exam. By default, due to the online nature of the programme, the examinations are digitally administered by using online proctoring. It is, however, possible to sit the exams at the UMC Utrecht. If you wish to take your examinations at the UMC Utrecht, you need to indicate this with the e-moderator of the course before the end of the first week.

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 if you score a minimum grade of 4/10.

The exam takes place on the last Friday of the course at 14:15-16:15 CET.

Exam edition May 2024
The exam will take place on May 24th, 2024 from 14:15 – 16:15 CET. The re-examination will take place on July 12th, 2024 from 14:15 – 16:15 CET. Note: these times might be subject to change. The exact time and place will be announced as soon as possible in the learning environment and any changes announced there will overrule the information here.

It might be that, due to a force majeure situation, you cannot be present during the first exam moment.

• MSc Epidemiology Postgraduate students 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 through

• All other participants should contact the MSc Epidemiology Office instead, through

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.


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

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