Intervention science in maternal and child health

Ph.D. -course

Course description

Course content

This course gives a comprehensive introduction to major methodological and conceptual approaches in the field of intervention science in maternal and child health.

Both established and emerging methods will be discussed and explored through lectures, group work and assignments. The course offers a unique opportunity for senior/postgraduate students to be acquainted with a diverse set of approaches to research design, analysis and interpretation with focus on intervention science in maternal and child health.

The course lectures and presentations are given in English by national and international scientists. Course lecturers are selected based on their expertise in their fields.

For 2024:

This course will present the conceptual foundations of epidemiologic research, and the methodologic approaches that stem from these foundations. Its objective is to unify the approach to epidemiologic research around a coherent set of concepts. Topics include a discussion of component and sufficient causes, causal inference, measurement of disease frequency and exposure effects, the principles of epidemiologic study design, cohort studies, case-control studies, epidemiologic data analysis, precision and validity, assessment and control of confounding, stratified analysis, multivariable analysis, the evaluation of effect measure modification, and the evaluation of dose-response trends. It also covers an introduction to some advanced topics in causal inference that will serve as an onramp into further study, including:

¿ Approaches to deal with missing data

¿ Directed Acyclic Graphs (DAGs)

¿ Target Trial Emulation

¿ Handling of Time-Dependent Variables

¿ Instrumental Variables

¿ Quantitative Bias Analyses

Learning outcomes

After the course the the candidate should be able to


Provide an overview of the field of study addressed in the course with particular reference to maternal and child health


  • Explain the central theme and approach as it applies to the field of study addressed in the course and be able to incorporate this into current or future research projects.
  • Understand and be able to apply the various steps necessary to implement the methods and approaches addressed in the course into current or planned research.
  • Recognize the value of the methods and approaches addressed in the course and be able to apply these to research in intervention science in maternal and child health.

General competence:

Apply key concepts and perspectives from the course and its field of study independently, in current or future research projects.

Study period


Credits (ECTS)

5 ECTS credits
Language of instruction
Course registration and deadlines

The applicants will need to share the following while submitting their online applications by the 2nd of April, 2024:

1. ¿Statement of Purpose¿ briefly describing (max 300 words) their expectations from the course.

2. Brief CV with details of educational qualifications, work experience, and up to 5 of the best peer reviewed scientific publications (if any).


Master's degree or equivalent education level is required (for example an M.B.B.S), with the exception of students on the Medical Student Research Programme.

2024: Master students with training in epidemiology or statistics will also be considered as course participants, if recommended by their institutions.

Compulsory Requirements

All course activities are mandatory. Approved compulsory requirements are only valid for the semester they are approved.


Before coming to Bergen, participants need to carefully study the course textbook. Webinars covering different topics from the textbook will be made available to the participants in advance. To get credits or a course diploma, at least 80% attendance during the face-to-face activities 21-27 May in Bergen and passing the course test on the 27th of May are required.


The course will be held over a period of 7 days from the 21st to the 27th May 2024 from 08:15 to 17:00, including a break on Saturday 25th of May. A detailed schedule is available here (

Form of assessment

Students will be given an assignment to be completed by the 10th of June.

This is a prerequisite for obtaining the full 5 ECTS credits for the course.

Grading scale:

Pass / Fail

Who may participate
PhD students, postdoctoral fellows, researchers, scientists, and faculty members with a background in epidemiology and statistics Master students with training in epidemiology or statistics will also be considered as course participants, if recommended by their institutions
Supplementary course information

The course consists of lectures and activities in small groups, as well as individual study time and one-to-one feedback from the instructor.


Pre-lunch lectures by Dr. Huybrechts will be supported by hands-on computer data analysis exercises or other supervised group work after lunch. Co-facilitators of CISMAC¿s new epidemiology capacity strengthening program, EpiCap, will coordinate these exercises.

The hands-on exercises will primarily use Stata® but may also be offered in R, if several participants prefer that software. Participants should ensure that they have personal laptops with Stata® (preferably version 18 or higher) or R (with R Studio) installed.

Academic responsible

Halvor Sommerfelt
Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care

Lecturers 2024

Krista F. Huybrechts

Reading list

The reading list will be adapted and adjusted prior to each semester to reflect expected workload equivalent of 2 ECT.

For 2024:

¿ Course textbook: Epidemiology: An Introduction by Kenneth J. Rothman

¿ Additional reading material, such as scientific articles may be provided ahead of the course.

Students are expected to have studied both the + book and articles prior to attending the course in Bergen.