118.706 Analysis of spatial and temporal epidemiologic data (15 credits)

Course coordinator: Chris Compton BVSc, MVS (Epidemiology), PhD

This single-semester course provides students with the basic skills necessary to undertake the analysis of epidemiologic data that is clustered in space and time. Throughout the course students will work with data collected via epidemiologic studies or as part of surveillance and will learn how to visualise spatial and temporal patterns, describe and quantify those spatial and temporal patterns and explain the observed patterns.

Please note: Courses are revised following each offering. Details of content and assessment are subject to change between offerings.

What will you learn?

Students who successfully complete this course should be able to:

  • Generate maps depicting spatial patterns in health data and conduct appropriate statistical analysis to explore or describe the spatial clustering.

  • Generate graphs to describe temporal patterns and conduct appropriate statistical analysis to explore or describe the temporal clustering.

  • Generate hypotheses regarding disease risk given the observed spatial and/or temporal patterns.

  • Effectively communicate their findings to researchers, veterinarians and policy makers.

How the course works

This is a new course that aims to provide practical skills that can be applied by professionals that work with data that has a spatial or temporal component. Course materials include a printed guide to your reading and assessment which integrates online learning activities such as discussions, quizzes, lessons, library searches, critical evaluation and exercises for self-assessment with reading materials and personal study tasks. 

Your Coordinator

Chris Compton is a veterinary epidemiologist with a broad background in clinical practice and research. He invested his early career into clinical practice in New Zealand, mainly with production animals and increasingly with dairy cattle. He worked as a research project manager with “Cognosco” in veterinary practice in the Waikato, and graduated with a Masters of Veterinary Studies (Epidemiology) in 2006 having gained additional skills needed for that role. He joined the EpiCentre in 2017 and graduated with a PhD on “The epidemiology of culling and mortality of New Zealand dairy cows” in 2018.

Chris’s research interests are primarily those from his work and academic career: mastitis, reproduction, nutrition and metabolic disorders in dairy cattle. The main themes of his research experience have involved studies in commercial herds on mastitis in dairy heifers, anovulatory anoestrous and oestrous synchronisation programmes, hyperketonaemia or subclinical ketosis, and most recently, the extent and causes of culling and mortality. In these studies he used a range of analytic methods, including those suitable for hierarchical, survival and spatial data types. Chris is focused on providing strategies for farmers that will enhance the health, productivity and welfare of their animals.

Course features

In-depth part-time study spread over a double-semester - allow 10-15 hours per week

Learning materials and facilities

  • Study guide
  • 10-day face to face block course
  • Electronic library access

Learning community

  • Online discussion facilitated
  • Social forum


  • Assessment will be measured with two written assignments that each contribute 50% to the final mark for each student*.
  • Assessment weightings are subject to change until the beginning of the semester in which the course is delivered.
  • Specific dates for assessments will be finalised in information provided on Stream at the start of the Course.


  • Internet access
  • Textbook: there is no textbook required for this course
  • Prior completion of 118.716, Analysis of epidemiologic data 1, is a prerequisite for enrolment in this course


See Massey’s fee calculator for this information.

contact WORKSHOP (contact course)

A compulsory contact course will be held at the Manawatu Campus between Monday 24 June, 2019 and Friday 5 July, 2019. The main aim of the contact course is to provide the core knowledge and skills that you will require for this course through small group teaching, practical sessions and discussions of experiences in your own practice. The contact workshop is an opportunity for face-to-face time with your class and lecturers and to build relationships for your future professional life.

dates and timings*

Enrolments open 1 Jan, 2019
Course start 24 Jun, 2019
Course end 13 Nov, 2019

*Please note:  You can still apply for enrolment after the due dates above. Places cannot be assured after these due dates; but late applications will be considered as long as remaining places are available.

Massey Contact Centre Mon - Fri 8:30am to 4:30pm 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 contact@massey.ac.nz Web chat Staff Alumni News Māori @ Massey