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.

During the 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.

Clinical Epidemiology is one of the online medical courses of the MSc Epidemiology Postgraduate Online; the online MSc program in Epidemiology offered by Utrecht University, University Medical Center Utrecht, MSc Epidemiology and Elevate.

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

Learning methods

The whole course will take place online. The following learning methods will be used:

  • (Interactive) lectures
  • Computer assignments
  • Individual and group assignments
  • Self-tests
  • Online debates

Course Deadlines

Week 0
Sunday before start date - introduce yourself

Week 1
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 1 and 2
Friday – submit assignment 1.6
Saturday – submit assignment 2.9

Week 2
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 3 and 4
Monday – submit peer-feedback on Learning Unit 1.6 and 2.9
Tuesday – rate peer-feedback
Thursday – submit assignment 3.7
Saturday – submit assignment 4.4

Week 3
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 5
Monday – submit peer-feedback on 3.7 and 4.4
Monday – hand in neutral summary (per group)
Tuesday – rate peer-feedback
Wednesday – formulate argument (per sub-group)
Friday – respond (per group)
Sunday – finalize for feedback (per group)

Week 4
Monday – final exam
Tuesday – give peer feedback (individual)
Wednesday – rate peer feedback (individual) Final exam


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 March 2019

The exam will take place on April 1st, 2019. The re-examination will take place on May 6th, 2019.

Exam edition September 2019
The exam will take place on October 14th, 2019. The re-examination takes place on November 18th, 2019.

If you are able and willing to take the exam in Utrecht, the Netherlands, we are available to proctor the exam for you without any costs. If you have to take the exam from a different location, you need a proctor. This proctor may ask you to pay for their expenses. Please read more about proctoring on our specific webpage

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. 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 passing the final exam, you will receive a recognized certificate from Utrecht University and the UMC Utrecht.            

Entry requirements

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'll need the course book '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'll need to have access to this book and study material before the course starts. You can order the book, among others, at Amazon or

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

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

Course reviews

“Clinical Epidemiology was well organised and informative.” Jamal Uddin

“This course will help you to design your own research.” Astrid van Strien

 “The course is perfect for anyone who has to work and study at the same time.” Caroline Speksnijder


Pick a date for this course:
(Enrollment deadline: 22 September 2019 - 23:59 CET)
99 days left.

Quick overview

  • 23 Sep 2019 – 13 Oct 2019
  • 3 weeks
  • 14 hrs/wk
  • Academic Certificate
  • 1.5 EC
  • Online learning with guidance and support
  • English
  • Lectures, individual assignments, group assignments
  • Desktop, Laptop, Smartphone, Tablet
  • 385

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