Clinical Epidemiology

This course focuses on the principles and practice of clinical epidemiology, and elaborates on examples from relevant literature. The aim is to provide you with the knowledge to evaluate and assess applied clinical research and data analyses, and give you sufficient scientific and methodological background information to actively participate in clinical studies.

Dr. B. (Bart) Lagerwaard
Assistant Professor
Quick overview
  • 3 weeks - 14 hrs / wk
  • Academic Certificate
  • 1.5 EC
  • Participants rated this online course with an 7.7
  • English
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Enrollment closes 11/11/2024 120 days left to apply
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Course description

During this online course, you will focus on questions of diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and etiology. Several research options are available to help you address these questions, including intervention trials and case-control studies using data obtained in a clinical setting.

Learning objectives

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

• Define, explain and apply the basic terminology and principles specific to clinical epidemiology
• Differentiate between the different aspects of clinical epidemiological research (diagnostic / etiologic / prognostic / therapeutic)

In particular, you should be able to:

• Construct a clinical research question that includes outcome, determinants and domain
• Characterize different data collection designs used in clinical epidemiology
• Design a clinical epidemiological study
• Name and identify the data analysis techniques that are used for the different types of clinical epidemiological studies
• Interpret the basic data analysis results of a clinical epidemiological study
• Explain the concepts of bias, and the issues concerning confounding bias
• Read and explain clinical epidemiological scientific papers and identify, in these papers, which design of data collection and data analysis were used

Course topics

• Principles of applied clinical research
• Study design and analysis of diagnostic and prognostic research
• Study design and analysis of comparative (clinical) experimental and non-experimental studies


This course includes a closed-book exam that consists of multiple-choice and essay questions, which is the only part of the course that is not online.

Exam edition November 2023
The exam will take place on December 15th, 2023 from 14:15 – 16:15 CET. The re-examination will take place on February 2th, 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.

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.

The exams are, by default, online using online proctoring. If you wish to take the exam on-site in Utrecht, the Netherlands, this is possible as well.

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, however, only if you did the first exam and scored higher than 4.0.

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.

Academic Certificate

When you finished all the exercises of the online course and scored higher than 5.5 on the exam, you will receive an official Academic Certificate from the Utrecht University.

Utrecht University is a prestigious institution that has been at the forefront of education, research, and innovation since its establishment in 1636.

Utrecht university has been featured prominently in global rankings, highlighting their contributions to various fields of study. Whether it’s their research impact, academic programs, or the quality of their faculty and students, their rankings affirm their dedication to academic success.

In the Shanghai Ranking Utrecht University ranked #1 in the Netherlands. Worldwide Utrecht University ranked #51 (17.000+ universities).

Requirements & material

To enroll in this course, you need:
• A BSc degree in biomedical sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, medical education or veterinary medicine, or a comparable degree
• Basic knowledge of epidemiological and statistical data analysis. Elevate courses offering this knowledge include Introduction to Epidemiology and Introduction to Statistics. You will also need to have basic knowledge of study designs in order to fully understand the assignments and content of this course. If you lack this knowledge or want to check your current knowledge, we recommend that you read chapters 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the book ‘Principles and Methods of Clinical Epidemiology’. This is not included in the time investment of this course.
• Sufficient proficiency in English reading and writing

Compulsory study materials
For this course, you will need:
• ‘Principles and Methods of Clinical Epidemiology’ by Diederick E. Grobbee and Arno W. Hoes, Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2014, ISBN-10: 1449674321 | ISBN-13: 978-1449674328.

Please note that you need to have access to this book and study material before the course starts. You can order the book, among others, at Amazon or

"The content was very clear. The weblectures helped a lot. Also the structure of each study type in another learning unit was very helpful."
Participant January 2023
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