Conceptual Foundation of Epidemiologic Study Design [ESP38]

Course highlights

EC points


Start date


End date


Course days

Monday to Friday (5 mornings)


Prof. Kenneth Rothman

Course fee

€ 790


Erasmus MC, Rotterdam NL




An interest in the conceptual foundations of epidemiologic research.


  • Epidemiology


Go to the ESP website

Detailed information about this course:


Faculty: Prof. Kenneth Rothman, DrPH

This course elaborates the fundamental principles of epidemiologic study design. It begins with an introduction to the basic principles of epidemiologic inference, including concepts of causation, causal inference and the measurement of disease occurrence and causal effects. With this foundation, attention shifts to the principles of study design and discussion of the major types of epidemiologic study, primarily cohort and case-control studies. The utility and consequences of matching in subject selection is also addressed. The course concludes with a presentation of the underlying principles of epidemiologic data analysis.


  • Participants will be conversant with the concepts of causation and causal inference in epidemiology, as well as the basic epidemiologic measures, especially risk and rate measures, and effect measures based on them.
  • Participants will understand and be able to explain the conceptual similarities and differences between cohort and case-control studies.
  • Participants will be able to define and describe confounding and discuss the primary ways in which it can be controlled, and articulate why matching of subjects may be inadequate as a means to prevent confounding.

Participant profile

This course is intended for those who are new to epidemiology who wish to focus on the conceptual foundation, or those with a similar interest who already have some familiarity with epidemiology.



Reduction on fees


50% reduction on our fees for participating institutes of NIHES

This 50% reduction is offered to participants formally appointed at the departments or sections participating in NIHES.

University Medical Center Rotterdam/Erasmus University Rotterdam:

  • Department of Epidemiology
  • Department of Public Health
  • Department of Psychiatry, Section of Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy
  • Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology
  • Department of Medical Informatics
  • Department of General Practice
  • Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management
  • Generation R

50% reduction on our fees for NIHES affiliated partners

This 50% reduction is offered to participants formally appointed at the following NIHES affiliated partners:

University Medical Center Rotterdam/Erasmus University Rotterdam, departments of:

  • Dermatology
  • General Paediatrics
  • Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • Rehabilitation Medicine

Institute of Medical Education Research Rotterdam (iMERR)

Netherlands Cancer Institute/Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital

  • Department of Cancer Epidemiology

25% reduction on our fees for partner institutes of NIHES

For participants formally appointed at the following departments, institutes:

  • Departments of Erasmus MC (except the departments mentioned above)
  • Addiction Research Institute (IVO)
  • Integraal Kankercentrum Zuid (IKZ)
  • Pallas Health Research and Consultancy
  • Municipal Health Service Amsterdam (GGD Amsterdam)
  • Municipal Health Service Rotterdam (GGD Rotterdam)
  • Havenpolikliniek
  • Admiraal De Ruyter Ziekenhuis

25% reduction for all (international) PhD students
Please state your tutor’s name and email address on the application form (remarks field).

25% reduction on our course fees (maximum 3 EC points per academic year) for all NIHES alumni
Please state that you are a NIHES alumnus/alumna and the academic year you graduated (remarks field).