Course Syllabus


Course:                        HEA 315—Epidemiology

Academic Credit:          3 credit hours

Pre/Corequisites:          STA 108 or MAT 115 or higher level STA or MAT course or permission of instructor

For Whom:                   Required for Public Health Education majors; all other UNCG undergrads


Office Hours:                Tuesdays 4:30-5:30pm, Thursdays 9:30-10:30am; or by appointment

Instructor:                     Mark R. Schulz

                                    Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Dept of Public Health Education

                                    437B HHP Building

                                    Office telephone: (336) 334-5517; Fax: (336) 334-3238


Catalog description:      Study of the distribution and determinants of disease occurrence in populations

Semester:                     Fall 2005

Lecture Times:  Tuesdays and Thursdays 8:00am-9:15am

Classroom:                   HHP 347




Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

1) Define epidemiology and understand its role in community health education.

2) Define basic epidemiologic concepts.

3) Calculate and distinguish various measures of disease occurrence.

4) Identify the five major epidemiologic study designs and assess the strengths and weaknesses of each.

5) Examine and appraise published epidemiologic studies.

6) Interpret results of health education program evaluations.

7) Obtain health-related data about social and cultural environments, growth and development factors, needs and interests.

8) Distinguish between behaviors that foster and those that hinder well-being.

9) Infer needs for health education on the basis of obtained data.




1) Lecture

2) Class discussion

3) Problem solving & discussion in pairs and small groups




Student’s final grade will be based on,

  • Class participation (10%):  Students are expected to be present and to participate in in-class activities.  All students will receive a subjective evaluation based on participation in class activities- Student Learning Objectives 1-6, 8, 9. 


·        Homework (25%): Five to ten homework assignments will be given throughout the semester.  Specific instructions will be provided by the instructor.  In many cases, assignments will be given in the class period prior to the due date.  This allows for flexibility, ensuring that the assignments are most responsive to the needs of the students.  After being graded, assignments will be returned to the students.  In case of any questions about the final grade, all assignments should be kept until after the course grades have been submitted to the University Registrar.  Unless otherwise noted, all assignments must be typed- Student Learning Objectives 1-9.


·        Quizzes (15%): There will be between 5 and 10 unannounced-time-limited quizzes during the semester.  Quizzes will be distributed at 8am.  A student’s quiz grade will be the average of her/his 5 highest quiz grades- Student Learning Objectives- 1-4, 6, 8, 9.


  • Examinations (50%):  There will be two examinations during the semester and, make-up exams will not be administered for these exams.  A third (optional) exam will be given during the final exam period.  The 50% examinations grade will be the average of a student’ two highest exam grades.  Make-up exams will only be allowed for the final exam if you have a documented illness or emergency.  Further details about the content and structure of exams will be provided as the examinations approach Student Learning Objectives 1-6, 8, 9.


Grades will be assigned as follows:

>93%               = A

90-92%           = A-

87-89%           = B+

83-86%           = B

80-82%           = B-

77-79%           = C+

73-76%           = C

70-72%           = C-

67-69%           = D+

63-66%           = D

60-62%           = D-

<60%               = F




  • The following textbook is required for this course: Gordis, Leon Epidemiology 3rd edition, Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders; 2004.
  • Please bring a calculator with you to each class.
  • The following dictionary is recommended especially for those who think they may pursue epidemiology further: A Dictionary of Epidemiology, edited by John Last
    Published by Oxford University Press.




Students are expected to,




Students are expected to,

·        Be present at all classes.  Even if students must be absent from class, they will still be held responsible for getting the class notes and announcements.  Unless otherwise noted assignments are due by the beginning of class period on the day assigned.  At the instructor’s discretion, assignments may be made up if there is an excused absence.  In the event that late assignments are accepted, the instructor may elect to impose a substantial grade penalty. 

  • Be active participants in class sessions.  This implies that students will be present, on time and stay for the entire class period.  In extenuating circumstances, students should contact the instructor about absences and tardiness.
  • Spend a weekly average of 3 hours of study time for each hour of class time.


The instructor will be expected to:

  • Be available for meetings outside of class (office hours and by appointment).
  • Be clear about expectations for student assignments and be timely in returning graded assignments.
  • Make efforts to enhance student learning.  This will include: (1) maintaining an atmosphere of mutual respect in the classroom, (2) using various teaching and evaluation strategies- lectures, class discussion, problem-solving in pairs and small groups and (3) being receptive to feedback and suggestions from students about course content and procedures.


COURSE SCHEDULE (topical outline)


This syllabus may change as we go through the semester.  Changes will be announced in class and sent out via e-mail.  Students will be held responsible for all announced changes.





16 August

Course outline

Self introductions


18 August

Introduction to the study of epidemiology

and its role in public health

Chapter 1

23 August

Introduction to the study of epidemiology

and its role in public health (cont’d)


25 August

Outbreak investigation

Chapter 2

30 August

Outbreak investigation (cont’d)


1 September

Public health surveillance

Pages 42-45

6 September

Population screening programs

Pages 71-87

8 September

Measurement of disease frequency

Pages 48-58

Homework 1 due

13 September

Measurement of disease frequency (cont’d)

What is risk

Chapter 11

15 September

Measuring risk


Chapter 12

20 September

Attributable risk


22 September

Attributable risk proportion, in population, in the exposed.


27 September


Homework 2 &3 due

29 September

Review for Exam


4 October

Examination #1


6 October

Overview of study designs; Ecologic & Cross-sectional study designs

Pages173-175 & Pages 204-206




13 October

Case-control study design; Informal evaluation of class; Provisional class participation grades

Pages 159-173

18 October

Case-control study design

Chapters 8 & 12

Homework 3&4 due

20 October

Cohort study design

Chapters 9 & 13

Homework 3&4 due

25 October

Clinical trial study design

Chapter 7 and pp.

136-146 (Chap. 8)


27 October

Community trial study design

Homework 5 due

1 November

Bias in epidemiologic studies: information bias

Pages 226-228

3 November

Bias in epidemiologic studies: selection bias

Pages 224-226

Homework 6 due

8 November

Bias in epidemiologic studies: confounding

Pages 228-233

10 November

Bias in epidemiologic studies: confounding

Pages 228-233

15 November

Effect modification/interaction

Pages 233-239

Homework 7 due

17 November

Review for examination;


22 November

Examination #2


24 November



29 November

Evaluation of epidemiologic research

Chapter 14

1 December

Course evaluation; Final remarks


13 December

Optional Exam 8:00am-11:00am