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Disease Detectives: An Introduction to Epidemiology 

Department: Public Health                                               

Instructor: Anita Dev and Yoolim Jung
Instructor Email:;
Prerequisites: None

Schedule: Zoom; varying days 1pm - 3pm PST. Some days may have pre-recorded lectures instead of a live session. Students are expected to spend a total of 15 hours a week (this includes Zoom meetings). This amounts to about 10 hours of in-class time per week + 5 hours of homework (~1 hour a day).

Further details will be provided when program starts.

Course Description

What is epidemiology? Why does it matter? This course provides students with an exciting introduction to epidemiology. The course begins with a review of the history of epidemiology and key concepts in population health. Then, students will learn how to conduct epidemiologic research (identify health problems, develop hypotheses, design studies, analyze data, draw conclusions and present findings). Lastly, students explore real life applications of epidemiology and the diverse set of career paths that are available to epidemiologists. The course will engage students in collaborative learning through group discussion, case studies, activities, and a team project.

Course Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be able to define epidemiology and describe its applications. Further, students will be able to describe public health problems, apply epidemiologic methods, draw inferences from epidemiologic data and communicate information to lay and professional audiences.

 Course Topics

  • Origins of Epidemiology
    • Key epidemiologists
    • Major milestones
  • Foundations of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Scientific Method
    • Study Design
    • Measures in Epidemiology
    • Analyzing Data and Drawing Conclusions
    • Visualization and Communication of Results
  • Biological Applications
    • Cancer
    • Infectious Disease
    • Vaccines
    • Food and Waterborne Disease
    • Antibiotic Resistance
  • Contemporary Issues in Public Health
    • Climate Change and Public Health
    • Global Health
    • Maternal and Child Health
    • Health Disparities and Social Determinants of Health
    • Preventative Health
  • Professional Development
    • Studying Public Health in College & Beyond
    • Careers in Public Health

*Courses vary by experience and exposure to content. Instructors have the ability to change content and pace to serve the needs of students. Courses have been modified for online teaching.