Systematic Reviews of Prognostic Research

“I like distance learning because of the interaction with a diverse, international student group of…”
Esther de Groot, Amsterdam - The Netherlands
“E-learning, as provided by Elevate, is a good opportunity to do part of the MIH on a distance.”
Tabitha Kievit, student, Tokyo - Japan

The number of primary studies evaluating prognostic factors and models is rising per day. Alike for therapies and diagnostic tests, critically summarizing and analyzing the evidence form prognostic studies in a systematic review and meta analysis is beneficial for health care professionals seeking the best evidence. Reviews of prognostic studies are much more challenging because of more variation in questions & designs, specific sources of bias & variation, and more complex statistical meta-analytical models. Several advances regarding the design, critical appraisal and statistical analysis in systematic reviews of prognostic studies, have recently been made. In this online medical course for researchers we discuss and practice how to define your review questions, how to search the literature, how to critically assess the methodological quality of primary prognostic studies, and which statistical methods to use for meta-analyses of the results of primary prognostic studies. The course consists of plenary presentations, small-group discussions, and computer exercises.

Learning Objectives

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

  • Explain the rationale for performing a systematic review of prognostic studies
  • List the key steps of a systematic review of prognostic studies
  • Formulate a focused review question addressing a prognostic problem
  • Systematically search the literature
  • Critically appraise the evidence from primary prognostic studies
  • Formulate the difficulties of meta-analysis of prognostic research
  • Meta-analyses of performance of prognostic models
  • Meta-analyses of the added value of specific prognostic factors


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.       

Course Deadlines

Week 0
Sunday before start date - introduce yourself

Week 1
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 1 and 2

Week 2
Wednesday – hand in group assignment 1
Friday – hand in multiple smaller group assignments
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 3 and 4

Week 3
Monday – peer feedback group assignment 1
Wednesday – peer feedback on multiple smaller group assignments
Sunday – complete Learning Unit 5, 6 and 7

Week 4
Monday – exam


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. 

The take-home exam is scheduled on the 10th of December. The exam will be available between 9am and 5pm CET and from the moment you start, you have 3 hours to finish it.

Entry Requirements

To enroll in this course, you need:

  •   A BSc or MSc degree in biomedical sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, medicine or veterinary medicine, or a comparable degree
  •   Access to the program R
  •   We strongly recommend that you take part in our online course Prognostic Research, prior to enrolling in this course
  •   Sufficient proficiency in English reading and writing

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 staff



Pick a date for this course:
(Enrollment deadline: 5 November 2018 - 23:59 CET)
15 days left.

Quick overview

  • 19 Nov 2018 – 9 Dec 2018
  • 3 weeks
  • 14 hrs/wk
  • Academic Certificate
  • 1.5 EC
  • Online learning with guidance and support
  • English
  • Weblectures, individual assignments, group assignments
  • Desktop, Laptop, Smartphone, Tablet
  • 785

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