Today marks the end of a very intense week for everyone in my master’s program, just in time to celebrate Walpurgis Eve and the 1st of May. Within the last week, we had deadlines for both group and individual assignments, each with a paper and presentation component, as well as an exam. Huge sigh of relief that it’s behind us now! However, I want to document the course we finished a few weeks ago, Advanced Statistics in Epidemiology.
As I wrote in my review of the first statistics course, statistical methods are the main tool epidemiologists use to conduct research. In this course, we covered a number of important topics that we will use in our master’s theses and future career, including linear regression, logistic regression, generalized linear models, count data regression, life tables, and survival analysis. I want to note that though we learned a lot, I think that a better name for this course would be “Intermediate Statistics,” and I believe that our course director, who is a rigorous biostatistician, would agree with me on that.
I enjoyed this course because it taught us to think critically and equipped us to perform analyses on our own research questions. One thing that is important to keep in mind as a future epidemiologist is that we will work closely together with biostatisticians. The more knowledge we have about this topic, the better, but it is nice to know that we will collaborate with people who have a solid understanding of the mathematical theory.
As for the course schedule, it followed a pattern that we are very familiar with by now: we attended lectures in the morning and put the theory into practice during afternoon exercises in the computer lab. Course projects included two take-home practical assignments conducted in pairs, a mid-term examination consisting of reviewing a paper and presenting a critique of it, and a final examination with both theoretical and practical components (read, conducting analyses and interpreting them on the computer). Both of these pre-exam assignments really helped to solidify the material. Lastly, I want to mention how nice all three of the instructors were: they often provided fruit baskets to enjoy during the course as well as sandwiches for the breaks in both examinations. Another great course behind us!