Biostatistics is an introductory course to statistical methods used in the healthcare field. This course introduces students to the quantitative methods that are the cornerstone of public health research and evidence-based public health policy and practice. Students will learn about the principles of statistical reasoning, underlying assumptions, and methods to analyze and interpret data.

This is a core course in the Bachelor of International Public Health (3880) comprising 6 units of credit towards the total required for completion of the study program.

Mode of study

Fully online

Key contact

Katrina Blazek
Course Convenor
+61 (2) 9348 0682

Who should do this course?

Students of the Bachelor of International Public Health (BIPH) should do this course.

Course outcomes

The course aims to introduce students to key biostatical concepts, and to develop biostatistical skills to a level that allows independent analysis of data and the production of meaningful information.

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify and apply appropriate statistical tests to analyse data and produce information.
  • Compare, critically judge and justify why one statistical method should be used over another.
  • Interpret and explain the results of statistical analysis.
  • Relate the practice of biostatistics to real world situations.

Learning & teaching

This course has been designed to support you gain the fundamental knowledge and skills for applying biostatistics. This course uses a constructivist approach to teaching and learning. That is, lessons, activities, and assessment tasks are designed to align with the course’s learning outcomes. The material you will cover will first introduce a concept or technique before demonstrating it. You will then be required to apply these concepts yourself and relate them to real-world situations. It is anticipated that you will not only develop technical skills in biostatistics but also understand how these skills are used to address public health problems.

Students are expected to spend 10-12 hours per week preparing for, actively participating in this course, and completing assignment tasks. Please note that biostatistics is a challenging course and you are advised to ensure you make adequate time available for your study of it. 


Assessment Task 1 - Activity contributions
Length: Moodle forum discussions and activities x 5
Weighting: 10%

Assessment Task 2 - Quizzes 1-2
Length: Multiple choice, numeric and short answer
Weighting: 15%

Assessment Task 3 - Assignment
Length: Statistical analysis using SPSS
Weighting: 35%

Assessment Task 4 - Exam
Length: 2 hour exam with practical problems
Weighting: 40%

Readings & resources 

The required textbook for this course is: Sullivan L.M. (2014) Essentials of biostatistics in public health (3rd edition) Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Limited print and e-copies of the textbook are available from the UNSW Library.

You may purchase an electronic or hardcopy of the textbook from the UNSW Bookshop
(Print: Digital: or from commercial book retailers, including Booktopia (

Note: You will need to refer to the textbook throughout the course and during open book exams. As such, you are strongly encouraged to purchase a hardcopy version of the textbook.