Trying to make sense of nonsense

Epidemiology courses: getting an idea of what’s out there

So I started my final year as a PhD student yesterday. Or so I am told, as the REF exercise is coming up, and PhD students finishing on time seem to make up at least part of that score. Also, my funding runs out in 12 months – 1 day which might be a bit more of a personal motivator to actually try and achieve that still seemingly unattainable goal (I seem to be slightly stuck in the valley of shit-part of my PhD at the moment).

Thesis relationship: it's complicated

As I go into that scary final year, others are just starting their perilous journey of pre-doctorhood and one of the questions that seems to keep popping up is what courses are good (all those newbies seem to swim in money!). I’ve been lucky enough to go on quite a few, and hear about even more during my two years of thesis-slavery, so I thought I’d try and make a dreadfully incomplete overview of epi & stats related courses. There’s bound to be lots more out there (apologies for the London/South-East England-bias) and I haven’t been able to find a nice summary of what’s available anywhere else. Though I suspect there’s probably a reason for that, which I’m about to find out.

So without further ado: some of the awesome epi education the UK (and again, very selective bits of Europe) have to offer:


London: UCL – Institute of Child Health All year round short stats courses, from basic courses on logistic or linear regression, to Bayesian analysis and missing data

London: UCL – Primary Care & Population Health Organises courses in October/November on the use and analysis of electronic health records

London: UCL – Infection and Population Health Perhaps a bit too specific for this list, but IPH organises 2 courses in June for HIV/sexual health researchers (nothing wrong with a bit of cross-disciplinary education)

London: LSHTM All year courses on a wide variety of statistics, epidemiology and public health topics. The causal inference course (in November) is particularly good.

London: Imperial – Statistical Advisory Service All year round stats courses: introduction to Stata or SPSS and design and analysis of clinical trials

London: The Royal Statistical Society What better place to learn about statistics? They do lots of different stats courses, all year round. They also run a good course on presenting data (equally important as getting some results).

Bristol: Uni of Bristol – Social and Community Medicine All year round courses on lots of different topics related to statistics (mainly Stata focussed), epidemiology and social medicine

Cambridge: MRC Biostatistics Unit One day course on practical use of multiple imputation to handle missing data in Stata 12 – usually held once a year but exact date varies

Cambridge: Uni of Cambridge – The Psychometrics Centre run short courses on structural equation modelling once a year

Reading: Uni of Reading – Statistical Services Centre The SSC runs lots of different statistics courses, from introduction courses to advanced level using (almost?) every statistical software imaginable (30% academic discount!).

Leeds: Uni of Leeds – Statistical Thinking Courses on statistics for non-statisticians. Most courses seem to run in February/March, and there’s a summer school as well.

Manchester: Uni of Manchester – The Cathy Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research The CCSR run all year round stats courses ranging from intro to advanced levels, as well as some courses on (analysing) survey data.

Southampton: Population Health Sciences Research Network A 3-day course on epidemiology for clinicians covering measures of disease occurrence and risk, cohort, case-control and cross-sectional studies, randomised controlled trials, getting started in research, introduction to statistical analysis, statistical genetics, interpreting findings, and genetic epidemiology.

Lancaster: Uni of Lancaster – Department of Mathematics and Statistics Another university running all year stats courses from introduction to advanced level, using R, SPSS, Stata and AMOS.

Southampton: Uni of Southampton – Courses for Applied Social Surveys The name says it all: all the statistical and analytical skills you need to analyse (complex) survey data in one place.

Colchester: Uni of Essex – Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis Six weeks of mathematics and statistics, in collaboration with the universities of Oxford and Mannheim. The six weeks are split up in three sessions, each with courses increasing in difficulty. It’s a very mixed bag of courses, so there ought to be something interesting for everyone.

If you’re interested in courses on infectious disease epidemiology, the IDRN have a great overview on their website.


The Netherlands: Erasmus University Rotterdam (Winter / Summer) Three weeks of courses focussed on epidemiology in winter (February/March) and summer (August) with some excellent international speakers (PhD students get 50% discount on the course fees!)

The Netherlands: Utrecht University Summer School In July and August, Utrecht University organises 6 weeks of courses ranging from art history to theoretical physics. There are plenty of epidemiology and statistics related courses as well (mainly focussing on pharmacoepidemiology and environmental/occupational epi.

Switzerland: Epi Winter School in Wengen The course everyone wants to go on: lectures in the morning, skiing in the afternoon, practicals in the evening and it is actually relevant to epidemiology so you’ve got an excuse to go (though I didn’t manage to convince my supervisor of this just yet).

Italy: European Educational Programme in Epidemiology in Florence Just in case skiing isn’t your thing, there’s this course in summery Tuscany. Pasta, Pisa and P-values, what more could one want (clinically significant results and a publication in the Lancet, since you’re asking)?


US: University of Michigan summer school The school of Public Health is organising this one with courses varying from 1 to 3 weeks in length, and some online/distance-learning courses as well.

Canada: McGill Summer session Organised by the department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health so topics available for everyone!



Coursera: Free online courses, too many different ones to create a list here (new ones keep getting added), but to pick just one as an example: Computing for Data Analysis (an intro to R)

EdX: Similar to Coursera (also free!), lots of different courses, but EdX has got a specific public health course, ran by Harvard – Health in Numbers: Quantitative Methods in Clinical & Public Health Research

Stata NetCourses: Online courses on how to use Stata, how to program in Stata and some time series modelling. They’re very affordable, and even more so with the current dollar/pound exchange rate 🙂

Elevate: Online courses organised by the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands on epidemiology and biostatistics, and also a few public/global health ones! Courses are priced similar to offline courses (which is my way of saying I think they’re quit expensive).

NIHES: The same people organising the Erasmus Winter & Summer programmes, but online this time. At the moment there’s only a course in diagnostic research, but I’m sure more will follow. You’ll have to miss out on visiting the Erasmus bridge and famous Dutch stroopwafels though.

UCLA: Quite possible the best stats resource on the internet. You can find web books, video lectures, explanations on how to run all commonly used statistical tests in Stata, SPSS or SAS, and lots more. Once you get into it, it’s a bit like that XKCD comic.

I’ll add courses once I run into them, but please let me know if there’s anything I should add (there are lots, I am sure!).


Thanks to @gingerly_onward,  @rlodw, @CedarUK, @lou_hurst, @jeanmadams, @rob_aldridge, @rebeccalacey and @Peter_Tennant for suggestions!

5 responses to “Epidemiology courses: getting an idea of what’s out there

  1. Pingback: MOOC points « normally distributed

  2. D L Dahly October 4, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Thanks for linking to our short courses at Leeds. I also have a growing list of open, on-line stats resources here -> http://statisticalepidemiology.org/things-we-like

  3. Mr Epidemiology October 4, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    This is phenomenal!! Great job!!!

  4. Mr Epidemiology October 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Reblogged this on Mr Epidemiology and commented:
    A phenomenal list of epidemiology courses – both of the “short course” and “online” variety!

  5. Fahd October 21, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Thank you, really great list, stands up a year later.

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