Online Epidemiology Courses and Related Resources

Many online resources, including introductory courses, are currently available on the broad topic of epidemiology. Though primarily developed and offered for public health students and professionals, these resources can provide prevention practitioners with a much needed foundation in epidemiology basics. The following are some examples, organized by categories, of online epidemiology resources that are available at no cost:

Course Compilations

  • Epidemiology Open Courses
    Compiled by Open Education Database, this extensive list includes epidemiology courses offered by a range of accredited online colleges.
  • Free Online Training, National Network of Public Health Training Centers
    This collection of technology-based Epidemiology 101 courses from the Association of Schools of Public Health includes a subset of trainings—ranging in length from 1/4 hour to 8 hours—developed by the National Network of Public Health Training Centers.

Courses from Coursera

Coursera is a social entrepreneurship company that partners with top universities to offer free online courses. Relevant courses include the following:

  • Epidemiology: The Basic Science of Public Health
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    This course explores public health issues—both locally and globally—through the lens of epidemiology. By applying the concepts learned in this course to current public health problems and issues, students will understand the practice of epidemiology as it relates to real life and have a better appreciation of public health programs and policies.
  • Social Epidemiology
    University of Minnesota
    Social epidemiology describes how a society makes people sick and/or healthy. This course addresses the identification of new disease risk factors (for example, deficient social capital) as well as how well-known exposures (for example, cigarette smoking, lead paint, health insurance) emerge and are maintained by the social system.

Courses from Schools of Public Health

  • Fundamentals of Epidemiology I & Fundamentals of Epidemiology II
    Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health OpenCourseWare
    These courses introduce the basic concepts of epidemiology and biostatistics as applied to public health problems, with an emphasis on the principles and methods of epidemiologic investigation, appropriate summaries and displays of data, and the use of classical statistical approaches to describe the health of populations. (Case studies for these courses are available at WikiEducator’s Case Studies for Fundamentals in Epidemiology.)
  • Health in Numbers: Quantitative Methods in Clinical & Public Health Research
    HarvardX, Harvard University
    This is the online adaptation of material from the Harvard School of Public Health's classes in epidemiology and biostatistics. This course covers the principles of biostatistics and epidemiology used for public health and clinical research.
  • Rapid Survey Course
    UCLA School of Public Health
    This is an online version of a course that was created and taught at the University of California, Los Angeles from 1988 through 2008. The intention of the course (Rapid Epidemiological Surveys in Developing Countries) was to present the need for rapid surveys, instill an appreciation of theories of sampling, and describe the nature of rapid two-stage cluster surveys and the importance of such surveys for decision-making.

Courses from CDC's Centers for Public Health Preparedness

  • Basic Epidemiology
    Florida Center for Public Health Preparedness
    This course offers public health workers and professionals in related fields a foundation in epidemiology, including definitions of key terms and concepts and information on field epidemiology surveys, field investigation surveillance systems, and interview communication concepts and techniques.
  • Field Epidemiology
    University at Albany Center for Public Health Preparedness
    This course provides an overview of field epidemiology and the steps of an outbreak investigation. It describes the context of field epidemiology and its relationship to epidemiology, in general, and reviews some basic techniques typically used in data analysis.
  • Basic Epidemiology Training Series
    University of North Carolina Center for Public Health Preparedness
    This series, designed to be used for computer-based self-study or as a face-to-face teaching tool, includes the following:
    • E is for Epi. Updated in 2012, this five-part training series introduces non-epidemiologists to the basic concepts of epidemiology.
    • P is for Practice. This case-based training series allows non-epidemiologists to practice basic epidemiology skills.
    • I is for Investigation. This CD-ROM and facilitator's guidebook contains seven modules that use case studies to examine the concepts of an outbreak investigation.
  • FOCUS on Field Epidemiology
    University of North Carolina Center for Public Health Preparedness
    This periodical, designed to be used for computer-based self-study or as a face-to-face teaching tool, takes a hands-on, practical approach to addressing various topics in the field epidemiology. Each issue provides information about and examples of the featured topic, accompanied by a corresponding PowerPoint presentation, helpful illustrations, a glossary, additional resources, and discussion questions for individuals or groups. Solutions for the questions are posted on the FOCUS website.

CDC Resources

  • CDC Epidemiologic Case Studies
    These case studies, based on real-life outbreaks and public health problems, are interactive exercises designed to teach epidemiologic principles and practices by requiring students to apply their epidemiologic knowledge and skills to problems confronted every day by public health practitioners at the local, state, and national levels.
  • Principles of Epidemiology in Public Health Practice, Third Edition: An Introduction to Applied Epidemiology and Biostatistics
    This self-study course is designed for health professionals in federal, state, and local government as well as private sector health professionals who are responsible for disease surveillance or investigation. It addresses the basic principles of epidemiology and key concepts and procedures used in the surveillance and investigation of health-related states or events.
Last Updated: 09/24/2015