Clinical Epidemiology Fundamentals - Professional Development Course


The Clinical Epidemiology Fundamentals short course was previously known as Introduction to Clinical Epidemiology and is a stand-alone course that differs from the other short courses offered by the Sydney School of Public Health.

It DOES NOT provide credit towards future enrolment in Masters, Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate (Clinical Epidemiology) degrees.

In this course we aim to introduce you to 'Clinical Epidemiology' the science of applying best available evidence to patient care. It is desirable that those who apply to do this short course have some clinical experience or experience in clinical research. The assessment tasks assume this knowledge and experience.

Course dates

This course will be offered only both semesters

Semester 1 - Monday 2 March - Friday 29 May 2015
Semester 2 - Monday 27 July to Friday 20 November 2015

Course Objectives

At the end of the course participants should be able to:

  • Formulate a concise clinical question, find and appraise the evidence and apply the information to patient care;
  • Identify the best type of study to answer clinical questions;
  • Locate and critically appraise articles on treatment, systematic reviews and diagnostic tests;
  • Identify major sources of bias and their likely effects on results;
  • Understand and interpret: 95% confidence intervals; p values; and power estimates;
  • Understand, calculate and interpret: prevalence; incidence; relative risk; risk ratio; odds ratio; risk difference; number needed to treat;
  • Calculate and interpret: sensitivity; specificity; likelihood ratios; pre- and post-test probability of disease.

Course Content

The six topics of the course will address different questions:

  1. How to ask clinical questions and use efficient literature searching strategies?
  2. The basics of epidemiology - study designs and measures of effect
  3. Understanding Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)
  4. Understanding Systematic Reviews
  5. Understanding Diagnostic Test Studies
  6. Understand and apply the evidence - a critical appraisal task

Course Structure

This course is fully online and is structured around the six 'topic' modules. You can work through the course materials at your own pace, whenever and wherever you like, within the semester time frame.

eLearning support is available via email - with a response usually within the working day. Academic support is also available via email - with response within 1-2 working days (if issues can't be dealt with via email, a phone call would be fine). Once you are enrolled, you will be given access and the instructions on how to use eLearning (Blackboard 9).


In the Clinical Epidemiology Fundamentals – Short course you will be assessed in the following ways:

1. Formative assessment:

Module 1 to 5 Tasks are formative assessment – no marks will be assigned for your answer to the task and you will be given feedback in the form of a ‘model’ answer once you have submitted your task.

2. Summative assessment:

Module 6 Task -
No grades are given for the Module 6 task, however, you will be required to make a ‘Satisfactory’ attempt before you are given your ‘Introduction to Clinical Epidemiology – Short course’ completion certificate.

Course Fee

The course fee for Clinical Epidemiology Fundamental in 2015 is $1,100.

For a group of participants from the same institution or organization, the following discounts will apply:

  • 3-4 participants: 10% discount
  • 5 or more participants: 20% discount

The University's tuition fees are reviewed annually and may be varied during the period of study. The exact tuition fee may depend on the specific units of study in which you enrol.

How to apply

Applicants wanting to undertake the Clinical Epidemiology Fundamentals short course offered by the Sydney School of Public Health need to complete the application form and tax invoice (PDF).

If you would like to apply for a group, please complete the group application form and tax invoice (PDF).

If you are a University of Sydney staff member and would like to apply please contact the Office for Teaching and Learning regarding a journal transfer after you have submitted your application form.

Please either fax or post the application form with payment to:

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

Application Deadline

Please submit your completed application form and payment by the following closing date.

Semester 1 - 6 February
Semester 2 - 3 July

Late applications may be considered.

Cancellation Policy

No refunds will be made once the course has commenced. All cancellations must be in writing and addressed to .