• Offered by Nat Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Classification Specialist
  • Course subject Population Health
  • Areas of interest Public Health

Outbreak investigation is a central aspect of applied epidemiology which aims to control the outbreak and prevent future outbreaks. The Outbreak Investigation course is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills to undertake outbreak investigations in the field. The course combines theory with outbreak investigation case studies based on real-life outbreaks. 

This course may be delivered during a standard semester or as an intensive course. Please check yearly scheduling information for details.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Identify the role of disease surveillance and other intelligence in outbreak detection and investigation.
  2. Devise and execute the necessary steps in a simple outbreak investigation, and be able to support a more complex one.
  3. Analyse outbreak data using STATA.
  4. Identify and suggest appropriate outbreak control measures.
  5. Utilise key pieces of public health legislation and guidelines relevant to outbreak investigation.
  6. Effectively communicate outbreak investigation findings to a range of stakeholders.

Other Information

Course topics will include:

·        Introduction to outbreak investigation

·        Ethical considerations in outbreak investigations

·        Teams in outbreak investigations

·        Case definitions and case finding

·        Hypothesis generation

·        Study designs used in outbreaks

·        Data collection and analysis for outbreaks

·        Bias, confounding and effect modification in outbreaks

·        Environmental investigation

·        Control measures and managing outbreaks

·        Risk assessment framework and risk communication

Indicative Assessment

  1. Online quiz (30) [LO 1,2]
  2. Outbreak investigation proposal (25) [LO 1,2,5]
  3. Outbreak investigation report (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  4. Critical discussion paper (15) [LO 1,2,6]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


The course is a mixture of pre-recorded and live lectures, tutorials and guided case study work.

The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:

  • Face-to face component which may consist of 1 x 2 hour tutorials per week.
  • Approximately 106 hours of self directed study including recorded lectures and preparation for assignments.

Students are expected to actively participate and contribute towards discussions based on the lectures via the online discussion forum and in the tutorials.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed at least one of POPH8100 Fundamentals of Epidemiology and POPH8101 Biostatistics in Population Health.

Prescribed Texts


  •  Michael Gregg (Ed). Field Epidemiology (3rd Edition) Oxford University Press, New York 2008. ISBN: 978-0-19-531380-2 This is a practical book that focuses predominantly on outbreak investigations and infectious diseases but covers a number of other topics also relevant to applied epidemiology.

Students may also find the following texts useful:

  • Porta M. A Dictionary of Epidemiology (6th Ed). New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. The updated edition of this classic text, sponsored by the International Epidemiological Association (IEA) and previously edited by John Last, remains the definitive dictionary in epidemiology worldwide.
  • Bonita R, Beaglehole R and Kjellstrom T Basic Epidemiology 2nd Ed World Health Organization 2008 This freely available online book provides a good grounding in epidemiological concepts and will be particularly useful for anyone needing to revise their basic epidemiology skills. Giesecke J. Modern Infectious Diseases Epidemiology 2nd Edition 2002 This book provides clear explanations of many aspects of infectious diseases epidemiology
  • David L Heymann (Ed) Control of Communicable Diseases Manual 20th Edition American Public Health Association, Washington DC 2014 This practical handbook, which summarises the relevant information about important pathogens, can be found in most public health units in the world.




Assumed Knowledge

Students enrolled in this course are required to have completed an undergraduate degree and Masters level courses on Epidemiology and/or Biostatistics from a recognised School of Public Health (either in Australia or internationally) or POPH8100 Fundamentals of Epidemiology and POPH8101 Biostatistics in Population Health.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $4440
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6360
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8593 21 Jul 2025 28 Jul 2025 31 Aug 2025 24 Oct 2025 In Person N/A

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