Professional course Quantitative Health Research (Distance Learning)

Entry year
Course code
Professional/Short Course
Health and Social Sciences

15 credit Masters level module

Page last updated 4 October 2021


Accreditations and partnerships:

On successful completion of this distance learning module, students will be able to:

  • Understand the historical basis for epidemiology in public health (Component A, Element 1 and Component B)
  • Identify and critically analyse the strengths, limitations and issues to consider with different types of epidemiology studies for public health policy and practice (Component A, Element 2)
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the sources of evidence routinely used as a basis for health policy and practice, including strengths and limitations (Component A, Element 1 and Component B)
  • Understand and interpret basic statistical analysis, particularly relating to inferential statistics (Component A, Element 2) Critically appraise evidence used in public health, utilising various tools and techniques (Component A, Element 2)
  • Understand how evidence is used in the policy process (Component B)

Careers / Further study

This module contributes towards

  • PGCert/PGDip/MSc Environmental Health
  • MSc Environmental Health Studies.



The course content includes:

  • History of epidemiology and our understanding of disease causation in populations.
  • Characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of epidemiological studies.
  • Sources of public health data.
  • Basic statistics - descriptive and inferential.
  • Introduction to statistical tests, including parametric and non-parametric.
  • Controlling for bias and confounding in epidemiological studies.
  • The concept of evidence based policy and practice.
  • Hierarchies of evidence.
  • Tools and techniques in critical appraisal.
  • The dissemination and communication of evidence.
  • Ethical issues in the use of data.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching is delivered in the format of up to eight online lectures (delivered as audio podcasts or video capture linked with Adobe presenter or equivalent), plus online seminars and other web-based activities.

Online seminar activities include student-centred active learning techniques (e.g. via Collaborate) and access to a module discussion board or blog. These are delivered via the Blackboard online learning platform.

Essential, indicative and supplementary online learning materials and resources are also provided via Blackboard, with links to online library resources.

Study time

This distance learning module learning approach utilises asynchronous online activities (including lectures, reading, quizzes, videos) and synchronous tutorials (seminars/discussions).

Progress through the module is managed through time-dependent release of online resources to ensure structured progression through the learning materials and the synchronous activities promote development of the student-tutor relationship and encourage a cohort identity in
addition to supporting core learning.

Approximately 24 hours of directed study (online lectures, seminars etc.) are delivered via Blackboard.


The Assessment Strategy has been designed to support and enhance the development of both subject-based and generic key skills, whilst ensuring that the module's Learning Outcomes are attained. The assessment comprises of multiple choice question quizzes, essay and a structured online test.

This three part assessment is an innovative and suitable form of assessment as it enables students to

  • develop a deep understanding of epidemiology and its significance to improving the public health
  • increase their understanding and develop their competence around key approaches to quantitative research. It assesses all the specific module learning outcomes in addition to the CIEH Knowledge and Skills domains.

The following assessment details will be published in the module handbook at the start of the module. There will be three components to the summative assessment. Two are unseen and completed online, embedded within the module to provide a sufficient level of control:

Component A

  1. Online multiple choice question (MCQ) quizzes will assess understanding of epidemiological definitions and concepts.
  2. A structured online test (50 minutes towards the end of the course) will assess interpretation of results (table/graph/text).

Component B
A 1,500 word essay will assess understanding of more complex epidemiological issues, and the ability to apply these to real examples.

Formative Assessment
Opportunities exist for formative assessment in the module, through online quizzes, Blackboard collaborate sessions and individual feedback.

Prices and dates

Supplementary fee information

Please visit full fee information to see the price brackets for our modules.

Please note: Funding may be available to support your learning. Please contact your Trust Education Lead. If you work in the Private, Independent and Voluntary Sector, please contact your employer who will advise you.


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How to apply

How to apply

You are required to apply online for your CPD modules, which you can take as stand-alone courses or as part of an undergraduate (level 3) or postgraduate (Masters level) programme.

For further information