Principles of Epidemiology – HLTH 503

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 10/27/2020

Course Description

The course is a study of human population patterns of disease and injury and the application of this study to the control of health problems.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


Disease is not randomly distributed within a population, but rather occurs according to patterns which can be observed and described using frequencies within subpopulations and groups. An understanding of the uneven distribution of an illness can be used by investigators to correctly determine causation and ultimately develop strategies and programs for prevention and control of that illness. As one of the core course requirements of a public health degree, the discipline of epidemiology provides the tools necessary to accurately study and describe the occurrence of disease, reach conclusions regarding causation, and develop practical, effective interventions to reduce or eliminate the effects of disease upon human populations.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Analyze public health data using appropriate epidemiologic measures to describe a population-based health problem.
  2. Describe selected surveillance and informatics systems used to assess public health problems.
  3. Identify determinants of health in a population across socioecological gradients.
  4. Describe a public health problem in terms of magnitude, person, place, and time.
  5. Apply evidence-based reasoning to draw appropriate inferences from epidemiologic data.
  6. Effectively communicate epidemiologic information to lay and professional audiences.
  7. Describe how behavior affects human biology.
  8. Explain the interrelationship between religion, spirituality, and health.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board forums (4)

The student will complete 4 Discussion Board Forums in Modules/Weeks 1, 2, 4, and 6. Each discussion will consist of a thread and at least (minimum) 2 replies. The instructor is looking for substantial, thoughtful, and critical discussions.

Study Group Collaboration Forum

The Study Group Collaboration Forum provides an opportunity for the student to work together to answer questions as they prepare for the quizzes and the final exam. The purpose of the Study Group Collaboration Forum is for each student to give and receive meaningful feedback and assistance and to work together to answer questions that are difficult to understand. The student will be enrolled in a group in the Group Discussion Board at the beginning of the course and must have at least five significant interactions throughout the course. Points will be deducted if the interactions in the forum lack meaningful contribution and collaboration skills. The students should not miss opportunities to collaborate.

PowerPoint Presentation Project

The student will explore an infectious disease using a descriptive epidemiologic approach. The student will select the disease from an approved list that will be provided. The student will then collect sources, develop an outline, and compile a reference page according to APA or AMA format. The student will develop a PowerPoint presentation of 15–20 slides, plus a fully typed narration that is suitable for a professional meeting.

Quizzes (6)

There will be a quiz in Modules/Weeks 1–6. The quizzes will cover the weekly reading from the Friis and Seller text and study guide. Each quiz will have 25 multiple-choice and true/false questions and is timed for 1 hour and 30 minutes. The quizzes are open-book/open-notes. The student is encouraged to use a calculator.

Final Exam

There will be a final cumulative exam in Module/Week 8 which will cover all of the reading and study from Modules/Weeks 1–8. The exam has 50 multiple-choice and true/false questions and is timed for 2 hours and 45 minutes. The exam is open-book/open-notes. The student is encouraged to use a calculator.