MPH5041 - Introductory biostatistics

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine


Dr Baki Billah

Quota applies

Enrolment for the DE mode of this unit is quota restricted.

Unit guides


Alfred Hospital


Students do not have provision to borrow SPSS CD from Monash University; they have to lease/buy it from IBM SPSS.


This unit introduces students to biostatistics as applied to public health and management studies. Biostatistics is the science of describing, summarising, and analysing health-related data. It is essential to understand biostatistics in order to design, conduct, and interpret health-related research. The basic principles and methods used in biostatistics are covered in this unit. This includes the technical qualifications necessary for analysing and interpreting data on a descriptive and bivariate level.

Topics include classifying health data; summarising data using simple statistical methods and graphical presentation; sampling distributions; quantifying uncertainty in results from a sample; working with statistical distributions; comparing two or more groups/methods using confidence intervals and hypothesis tests (p - values); assessing the association between an outcome and an exposure using the chi-squared test; using risk comparisons (RR and OR); predicting an event or identifying risk factors for an event of interest where the event is measured on a continuous scale or a binary scale (yes/no).


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Classify data into appropriate measurement types.
  2. Present data using relevant tables, graphical displays, and summary statistics, quantify uncertainty in study results.
  3. Formulate research hypotheses into a statistical context in public health studies.
  4. Estimate quantities of interest and evaluate hypothesis with appropriate statistical methods.
  5. Accurately interpret statistical methods and results reported in health publications.
  6. Analyse data using a specific software package.


  • Structured written report 1 (1500 words) (15%)
  • Structured written report 2 (2000 words) (30%)
  • Structured written report 3 (2500 words) (45%) (Hurdle)
  • Online test (MCQ) (30 minutes) (10%)

Workload requirements

Sem 1 - DAY mode: 4 contact hours (2 hours lecture and 2 hours tutorial) + 2 hours online guided discussion + 6 hours independent study per week.

Sem 1 - DE mode: 24 contact hours over 3 days + 2 hours online tutorial exercises + 2 hours online guided discussion + 6 hours independent study per week.

Sem 2 - DE mode: 2 hours online lectures (recorded), 2 hours online tutorial exercises + 2 hours online guided discussion + 6 hours of independent study per week.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

Off-campus attendance requirements

3 day on-campus block for off-campus students.

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Must be enrolled one of the following course codes:0046, 0160, 0702, 1884, 2311, 2312, 2314, 2868, 2870, 2872, 3198, 3403, 3416, 3420, 3421, 3422, 3440, 3807, 3862, 3873, 3874, 3896, 3900, M4006, M5007, M5017, M5018, M6008, M6023, M6024, M6025, M6026, M6027, M6028


Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: