INTHE4021 – Introduction to Epidemiology

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This is an introduction course in epidemiological principles and use of epidemiological methods in international community health. Students will be able to explain the main principles for planning and carrying out quantitative/epidemiological research, the most central epidemiological study designs, and how to select a study sample.  They learn central concepts regarding epidemiologic measures and statistical analysis in epidemiology, and mechanisms for systematic bias in different research projects, estimation of study samples, study variables and relevant data analysis methods. Students will attain epidemiological knowledge that renders them a valuable partner for planning and carrying out epidemiological research and enable them to read and critically evaluate epidemiological literature.

Learning outcome


After completing the course, you will be able to:

  • Define key concepts in Epidemiology
  • Summarize the measures used in epidemiology
  • Explain the most commonly used epidemiological study designs
  • Definitions of populations, samples and variables
  • Relate types of variables and data analysis approaches
  • Describe validity and reliability in epidemiology and how they relate to epidemiological errors (random and systematic errors)


After completing the course, you will be able to:

  • Choose epidemiological study design relevant to the research question at hand
  • Estimate an appropriate sample for your study
  • Develop a data management and analysis plan based on study measures
  • Compare and contrast between random and systematic errors
  • Identify different types of systematic errors that can affect validity
  • Make use of relevant statistical analysis to obtain epidemiologic measures of association
  • Apply the methods learned in combined statistical and epidemiologic exercises

General Competences

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • critically evaluate the role of quantitative research within health and health services
  • recognize the pros and cons (challenges) of quantitative designs
  • reflect upon ethical and scientific standards of quantitative research


This couse is only available for students at the following master programme:

International Community Health


The course consists of lectures and seminars. In the seminars, the students do exercises and assignments related to the course. 80% attendance in the seminars is required to be eligible to take the exam. Attendance will be registered.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


Home examination (one week).


The Board at the University of Oslo has decided to introduce detailed guidelines for all examinations, which take place at the University. The description of the grading should be clear and transparent. This is done to ensure alignment between learning outcomes, assignments, and grading. The Faculty of Medicine has developed a web page with information regarding exams and the grading procedures (norwegian version).

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language