Introductory Biostatistics - Professional Development Course


This course provides an introduction to statistical concepts, their use and relevance in public health.

Concepts include: descriptive analyses to summarise and display data; concepts underlying statistical inference; basic statistical methods for the analysis of continuous and binary data; and statistical aspects of study design.

Specific topics include: sampling; probability distributions; sampling distribution of the mean; confidence interval and significance tests for onesample, two paired samples and two independent samples for continuous data and also binary data; correlation and simple linear regression; distribution-free methods for two paired samples, two independent samples and correlation; power and sample size estimation for simple studies; statistical aspects of study design and analysis.

Students will be required to perform analyses using a calculator and will also be required to conduct analyses using statistical software (SPSS).

It is expected that students spend an additional 2 hours per week preparing for their tutorials. Computing tasks are self-directed.

Assessments are to be completed; assignment and exam.

This unit may be undertaken in face to face or online/distance mode.

Course aims

On completion students will be able to:

  • Summarise statistical data using tables, graphs and appropriate summary statistics.
  • Interpret significance tests and confidence intervals.
  • Compare two samples using the t test for continuous variables and the chisquared test for categorical data, in both paired and unpaired cases, calculate confidence intervals for the main results, and summarise the conclusions from such an analysis.
  • Compare two samples using non-parametric tests, in both paired and unpaired cases, and summarise the conclusions from such an analysis
  • Analyse the association between two variables using scatter plots, parametric and non-parametric measures of correlation and simple linear regression.
  • Calculate the sample size required for simple studies.
  • Create a statistical analysis plan detailing the major steps in the statistical design and analysis of a study.
  • Use statistical software to present and analyse data.


Unit coordinators: Dr Kevin McGeechan and Associate Professor Petra Macaskill.


Semester 1

Application deadline

Semester 1 courses - 31 January
Late applications may be considered.

More information

Office for Teaching and Learning
Room 329, Level 3
Edward Ford Building (A27)
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia

Phone: +61 2 9351 4366