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Unit of study_

PUBH5018: Introductory Biostatistics

Semester 1, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit introduces students to statistical methods relevant in medicine and health. Students will learn how to appropriately summarise and visualise data, carry out a statistical analysis, interpret p-values and confidence intervals, and present statistical findings in a scientific publication. Students will also learn how to determine the appropriate sample size when planning a research study. Students will learn how to conduct analyses using calculators and statistical software. Specific analysis methods of this unit include: hypothesis tests for one-sample, two paired samples and two independent samples for continuous and binary data; distribution-free methods for two paired samples, two independent samples; correlation and simple linear regression; power and sample size estimation for simple studies; and introduction to multivariable regression models;. Students who wish to continue with their statistical learning after this unit are encouraged to take PUBH5217 Biostatistics: Statistical Modelling.

Unit details and rules

Unit code PUBH5018
Academic unit Public Health
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Tim Schlub,
Lecturer(s) Erin Cvejic,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam Exam
Online Exam (open-book)
50% Formal exam period 1.5 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO12 LO11 LO10 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Mid-term assessment
Written assessment
20% Week 06 Three weeks
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10 LO11
Online task Online test
Online test - administered through CANVAS.
20% Week 10 1 hour
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO11 LO10 LO9 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO3
Online task Weekly quizzes
Online quizzes
10% Weekly Each quiz is open for two weeks
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO12 LO10 LO9 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2

Assessment summary

  • Weekly quizes: There will be 12 weekly online quizzes using a range of question formats. Each quiz is worth 1% and your 10 (of the 12) best quiz marks will contribute to your mark (i.e maximum mark of 10%). You have unlimited attempts for each quiz with your mark based on your most recent quiz attempt. Quiz content is accumulative, for example, Week 10 quiz can contain questions regarding Week 1 content. Conversely, a Week 9 quiz won’t necessarily mean that it will test Week 9 content (it may be tested later in another quiz).
  • Assignment: In this assignment students will carry out and interpret a statistical analysis for a dataset. Students will submit a written report that includes statistical software output.
  • Online test: This test is administered through CANVAS. This will be an invigilated test (i.e. supervised by an online invigilator), and will consist of short answer questions (10%) which will involve interpreting statistical software output and ten multiple choice questions (10%). More details about registration for this test will be released via CANVAS during the semester. Please note that this exam will be held on a Saturday.
  • Final Exam: Students have a choice to take this exam as a formal examination held at the University of Sydney Camperdown campus, or as an online invigilated exam through Canvas (like the Online test). The exam is open-book.


Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an exceptional standard.


75 - 84

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a very high standard.


65 - 74

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a good standard.


50 - 64

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an acceptable standard.


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Multiple weeks Jamovi Practicals - week 1 and week 2 Computer laboratory (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
See the lecture and tutorial schedule of the study guide for weekly topics. Weekly from week 3 onward. Tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10 LO11 LO12
Question and Answer session. See the study guide for the weeks this is held in. Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10 LO11 LO12
Weekly See the lecture and tutorial schedule of the study guide for weekly topics Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10 LO11 LO12

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. choose appropriate measures to summarise data using tables and graphs
  • LO2. create simple tables and graphs according to guidelines for clear presentation
  • LO3. know what summary statistics should be used to summarise different types of distributions
  • LO4. understand and explain the concepts of sampling and sampling distributions
  • LO5. choose the appropriate hypothesis test to apply based on the type of data collected and the design of the study
  • LO6. calculate and interpret confidence intervals for various measures of effects (e.g. single mean, difference in means, difference in proportions)
  • LO7. carry out and interpret simple hypothesis tests (e.g. one sample t-test, two-sample t-test, Chi-squared test)
  • LO8. understand and explain the difference between statistical and practical significance
  • LO9. carry out simple statistical methods using a calculator and statistical software
  • LO10. interpret the output produced by statistical software
  • LO11. write concise descriptions that summarise the results from a statistical analysis
  • LO12. determine the sample size required for simple studies.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

A number of changes to PUBH5018 are planned for 2020. The largest of these is the change of statistical software from SPSS to Jamovi. There are a number of benefits to this change including: saving students money (Jamovi is free); Jamovi is easier to use; and Jamovi has the capacity to introduce students to the software used in other Public Health statistics courses (R). In addition to Jamovi, we are also planning the following changes: Assignment 1 will be due in week 6 instead of week 5. This will allow a hypothesis test to be included in the assignment. The final exam will be offered either as a face to face sit down exam held at the Camperdown campus of the University of Sydney, or as an online invigilated exam through canvas. This should simplify the exam experience for distance and online students. Students will no longer have to receive full marks for a quiz to receive the 1% for that quiz, rather students grade will be the mark for the most recent quiz completed. This should save time for students who previously continually repeated the quiz many many times. The lectures have been standardised to be the same duration, location, day and time for each week of the semester. This will reduce confusion for students and simplify their timetable and planning.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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