This online course is a core component of any Master's degree in Epidemiology, and is also key to being able to follow specialized courses in epidemiology. It is focused on observational studies for etiologic research. Its aim is for you to learn about the principles and practice of cohort, case-control and cross-sectional studies. We will discuss design, data collection and validity issues, as well as the major advantages and disadvantages of the different study designs. The emphasis will be on the application of observational study design in etiologic research.
This online medical course focuses on the more classical approach but also addresses modern concepts and design options, such as case-cohort designs. Various other study designs will also be discussed, with an emphasis on validity issues.
Study Design in Etiologic Research 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.
By the end of the course, you should be able to:
• Explain the principles, design and validity aspects of a cohort study, a case-control study and a cross-sectional study
• Interpret the measures of frequency and association from cohort, case-control, and cross-sectional studies
• Calculate the corresponding measures of frequency and association, and explain these calculations
• Explain special designs used instead of the classical case-control study (e.g. case-cohort study or case-crossover study)
• Explain the methods of data collection in the different study designs
• Explain the specific aspects of study design in veterinary epidemiology as compared to human epidemiology (e.g. clustering of animals and the effects this has on study design, measurement of exposure status, disease status and confounders, and the selection of the study population)
• Appraise scientific abstracts and papers on the choice of study design, and debate the relevant validity aspects
• Design an appropriate study to be used in a specific situation or to answer an etiologic research question
• Design of cohort, case-control and cross-sectional studies
• Data collection of the above studies
• Validity issues of the above studies
• Advantages and disadvantages of the above studies
• Specific aspects of study designs in veterinary epidemiology
This course includes an exam with essay questions. 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.
Exam edition March 2023
The exam will take place on April 28th, 2023 from 14:15 – 17:15 CET. The re-examination will take place on June 9th, 2023 from 14:15 – 17:15 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 October 2023
The exam will take place on November 24th, 2023 from 14:15 – 17:15 CET. The re-examination will take place on January 12th, 2024 from 14:15 – 17:15 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 March 2024
The exam will take place on April 26th, 2024 from 14:15 – 17:15 CET. The re-examination will take place on June 14th, 2024 from 14:15 – 17:15 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 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. For MSc Epidemiology Postgraduate students the exam is compulsory.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
• All other participants should contact the MSc Epidemiology Office instead, through MSc-Epidemiology@umcutrecht.nl.
In short, as of now, it is no longer possible to skip the first exam option and -automatically- enrol 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 enroll in this course, you need:
• A Bachelor’s degree in (bio)medical education or a degree in epidemiology or related subject
• Sufficient proficiency in English reading and writing
Recommended study materials:
• ‘Clinical Epidemiology – Principles, Methods and Applications for Clinical Research (Second edition)’ by D.E. Grobbee & A.W. Hoes, Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2014, ISBN-13: 978-1449674328.
• ‘Epidemiology – An introduction (Second edition)’ by K.J. Rothman, Oxford University Press, 2012, ISBN 978-0-19-975455-7.