Surrey University Stag


Module code: MMIM017

Module Overview

This module provides an overview of key epidemiological principles and control methods from an epidemiological viewpoint to develop a critical appreciation of the spread of infections, including the methods used to study the characteristics of outbreaks, and the factors that affect patterns of spread. The module introduces students to ways of investigating infectious diseases and disease outbreaks using advanced epidemiological methods.

Module provider

School of Biosciences

Module Leader

SELEMETAS Nick (Biosciences)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: C510

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 6

Independent Learning Hours: 105

Lecture Hours: 18

Tutorial Hours: 1

Laboratory Hours: 6

Guided Learning: 8

Captured Content: 6

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Fundamental aspects of bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi

  • Introduction to epidemiology

  • Overview of key epidemiological principles

  • Cycle of infection, control points, routes of transmission, reservoirs

  • Basic epidemiological methods: Descriptive studies; analytical studies; cohort and case control studies

  • Modelling of epidemiological data

  • Identification of risk factors

  • Investigating the source of disease - Epidemiological investigation

  • Emerging bacterial infectious diseases - Outbreak case studies

  • Notification and reporting of infectious diseases

  • Zoonoses

  • Prevention of infectious diseases by vaccination (types and properties of vaccines, strategies for their use, methods used to develop and test new vaccines)

  • ¿¿¿¿¿¿¿Design and analysis of vaccine clinical trials

  • Analysis of data on the efficacy of vaccines

  • Food Poisoning practical classes

  • Molecular Epidemiology - General Principles

  • Practical Applications of Molecular Epidemiology

  • Recent trends in the epidemiology of food poisoning

  • Sampling and quality control

  • HACCP¿¿¿¿¿¿¿

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Coursework 50
Examination Online Examination - 2 hours, open book online exam 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

  • A critical understanding of the chain/cycle of infection and its use in identifying control points where further spread can be interrupted

  • Application of methods used to study the epidemiology of infectious diseases for a given scenario, including their impact on control strategies

  • Application of the statistical methods used to study and model outbreaks and epidemics

  • Understanding the role of vaccines in preventing and controlling outbreaks associated with gastro-intestinal diseases in animals of food chain and food borne diseases with a zoonotic potential

  • Ability to evaluate measures that ensure microbiological quality of food and water

  Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Coursework, 50%, case studies (addresses LOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9 and 10)

  • Exam, 50%, 2 hours online open book exam (addresses LOs 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10)

Formative assessment

There will be opportunities to complete practice tests, and work through examples of different outbreak scenarios and data analysis applications in the computer workshops. Short tests/quizzes will be used to assess the students’ progress throughout the module.


Detailed written feedback will be provided individually to students on their summative case studies that will help them on how they approach learning and interact with teaching material.  Throughout the module and revision verbal feedback will be provided to students by lecturers based on their understanding of the teaching material. Finally, some generic feedback will be provided on the final exam questions to help students identify the strengths and weaknesses of their exam performance.

Module aims

  • Develop a critical appreciation of the nature of the spread of infectious diseases and the control points at which the cycle of infection can be broken
  • Develop an understanding of biostatistical methods and basic computer modelling methods used in epidemiological investigations and identify the appropriate control strategies
  • Understand the principles of control programmes and monitoring of their progress
  • Understand the role of vaccines in the control of food/water-borne diseases

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Discuss critically the chain/cycle of infection and its use in identifying control points where further spread can be interrupted KCP
002 Describe the methods used to study the epidemiology of infectious diseases and discuss their impact on control strategies KC
003 Explain the statistical methods used to study and model outbreaks and epidemics KCP
004 Explain and evaluate the measures taken to ensure the microbiological quality of food and water KC
005 Understand the role of vaccines in the control of food/water borne diseases KC
006 Interpret epidemiological data on infectious disease outbreaks KCP
007 Analyse the basic practical techniques used in the microbiological examination of foods and investigation of food outbreaks KCP
008 Communicate effectively orally and in written work PT
009 Investigate and analyse problems CT
010 Integrate numerical and non-numerical information CPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Consolidate fundamental concepts of epidemiology and disease control by inviting specialist experts to give lectures and run practical sessions.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • Lectures are used to deliver the main content of this module

  • Practical computer workshops are used to teach modelling of epidemiological data

  • Tutorial class of an outbreak simulation provides a deeper understanding of the subject

  • Lab practical classes are used to explain the microbiological examination of foods and investigation of food outbreaks

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: MMIM017

Other information

Resourcefulness & resilience

Literature search using online databases and resources, e.g. textbooks, peer-reviewed journal papers

Computer workshops that allow students to measure their progress and understanding in preparation for assignments

Global & cultural capabilities

Lectures delivered by a broad range of speakers with diverse backgrounds: UK or international speakers, veterinarians, animal scientists, and researchers

Lectures cover a wide range of infectious diseases worldwide and examples from various disciplines with impact across the ‘OneHealth’ sector.


Lectures in line with OneHealth approach towards food sustainability and sustainable animal production

Digital capabilities

Use of various software for online interaction and review of content.

High content of digital external resources to support lectures and computer workshops


Lectures by professionals working at various professional bodies and institutions providing information to students about potential job opportunities

Module designed to meet employers’ expectations towards self-learning ability, critical analysis, problem-solving skills

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.