Prognostic Research

Prognosis is a key concept in patient care. However, although prognostic research is becoming increasingly important in clinical medicine, the actual methodology behind it is relatively underdeveloped.

The purpose of this course is to redress this imbalance. We will therefore discuss the principles and methods of non-experimental prognostic research, together with the practice of prognostic research in a clinical setting. The emphasis will be on learning about the design and statistical analysis of prognostic studies, the construction and estimation of prediction rules, the various approaches to validation, and the generalization of research results. You will also learn how to address the challenges of dealing with small data sets.

Prognostic Research 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 Health.

Learning objectives

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

  • Understand the key characteristics and different types of prognostic research
  • Set out the various steps involved in performing prognostic research

In particular, you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an insight into different types of missing values
  • Understand different ways of handling missing values in prognostic research
  • Propose different modelling approaches for prognostic research, including non-linear models
  • Make a prognostic model
  • Show how to derive a prognostic score, and choose adequate score cut-offs
  • Know how to apply modelling techniques to deal with over-fitting in small data sets.

Course topics

  • The principles of prognostic research and the interpretation of its results
  • The issue of missing values and data analysis in prognostic research, including the underlying assumptions and their statistical consequences, and the evaluation of model performance
  • The practical application of prognostic research and its clinical consequences
  • Modelling techniques for small data sets

Learning methods

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

  • Web lectures
  • Reading articles
  • Online discussion forums
  • Individual and group assignments

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 Unit 1 and 2

Week 2
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 3 and 4

Week 3
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 5 and 6

Week 4
Monday – submit take-home exam


This Prognostic Research course includes an exam. A proctor is required for this exam. Doing the exam is not obligatory, 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. 

Dates for the June 2019 edition:
Exam: Monday July 15, 14:15 - 16:15 (CEST)
Re-examn: Monday August 12, 14:15 - 16:15 (CEST)

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 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 and the UMC Utrecht.   

Entry requirements

To enroll in this course, you need:

Please note
This course is offered through the MSc Epidemiology program developed by the UMC Utrecht and Utrecht University. 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

Staff member image


Pick a date for this course:
(Enrollment deadline: 25 June 2019 - 23:59 CET)
10 days left.

Quick overview

  • 24 Jun 2019 – 14 Jul 2019
  • 3 weeks
  • 14 hrs/wk
  • Academic Certificate
  • 1.5 EC
  • Online
  • English
  • Web lectures, exercises, group discussions
  • Desktop, Laptop, Smartphone, Tablet
  • 785

Request more info