Term 1 aims to provide you with a strong understanding of the core concepts and methods of epidemiology and statistics and skills required to successfully complete Term 2 and 3.
In Term 1 all MSc in Epidemiology students follow a core pathway of teaching that draws directly on the research within the Departments of EBS and IDE at St Mary’s Campus.There is a common core of epidemiology and statistics shared with students taking the Master of Public Health.
Running in parallel to the 10-day ‘Introduction to Statistical Thinking and Inference’, ‘Principles and Methods of Epidemiology’ and ‘Infectious Disease Modelling’ modules are two additional 5-day epidemiology modules dedicated to the specific core topic areas of ‘Infectious Disease Epidemiology’ and ‘Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Burden of Disease’.
Statistics, epidemiology and modelling modules consist of lectures, practicals in which you will be asked to do calculations by hand; critically interpret data; critique research findings, designs or papers; computer practical sessions using STATA, Excel or Berkeley Madonna software; discussion groups; independent learning activities and self-study. Formative assessments, which give you insight in your progress, are part of several modules. Please refer to the module handbooks or Blackboard for more information.
Term 2 modules aim to reflect areas of emerging research as well as providing extended tutoring in core epidemiological and statistical concepts and skills. Term 2 requires you to build upon the knowledge, insight and skills gained in Term 1.
The programme allows students to select modules and to follow a particular degree pathway if they wish. Students who wish to pursue a particular pathway must study the specialised module options within their chosen pathway:
Statistics modules (all modules are accompanied by practical sessions where students analyse data using R or Winbugs):
- Spatial epidemiology
- Topics in biostatistics
Environmental and chronic disease modules:
- Further chronic disease epidemiology
- Social epidemiology
Infectious disease epidemiology modules:
- Epidemiology and control of Vector-borne and helminth infections
- Advanced infectious disease modelling
- Genetics and evolution of infectious pathogens
- Investigation of outbreaks
There is thus a mixture of compulsory and optional modules. All students will continue their training in statistics by studying the compulsory modules ‘Advanced Regression (with R)’ and ‘Introduction to Bayesian Analysis’.
All students will also study ‘Exposure Assessment’ which focuses on the assessment of environmental exposures and sources of environmental pollution. ‘Molecular epidemiology’ will provide you with a fundamental understanding of the core concepts of molecular epidemiology and the application of molecular epidemiologic findings to public health and translational medicine, which is an emerging field. This module also focuses on biomarkers.
The compulsory module ‘Study design: from Hypothesis to Publication’ aims to take you through the steps of carrying out research, from hypothesis testing to publishing study results. It will enable students to understand why it is important to carry out research in the first place, and how research integrates with public health practice. This module will also cover the important topics of formulating a research hypothesis, writing a grant application, causal assessment, and ethics.
As in Term 1, practicals and independent study complement the lectures, which can all take different forms. Formative assessments are part of several modules.
In Term 3, individual research projects are carried out under supervision. If you wish to follow a particular degree pathway, you must also take the research project within the pathway subject area.
It is possible that the projects may be carried out in collaboration with other universities and research institutions, but this is not common and not always recommended. Projects are expected to take 4 months of full-time study, with one (or more) member(s) of Imperial College academic staff assigned to advise and monitor students. There may also be external supervisors.