Population Health Data Analysis PHDA FAQ

All PHDA courses are offered in an asynchronous online environment. Course schedules and online learning formats are designed to meet the time constraints and flexibility needs of busy working professionals. All courses include a balance of theory and practical work. In particular, the hands on lab exercises and/or final project components address the practical analysis of administrative and survey data. They are key elements of student learning, comprehension and knowledge application.  

Following an academic calendar year, each course is 13 weeks long, and runs in either a fall, spring or summer academic time period. Week one is devoted to course orientation followed by 12 one-week modules. Students can expect to spend a minimum of 8-12 hours per week on course activities.

No: since this is a non-credit program, you do NOT need to apply to the University of Victoria for credit study. For more information on credit vs. non-credit study, please see the Credit vs. Non-Credit page. 

Good question and we are glad you are thinking proactively :)  Please consult the program assistant or coordinator. They will be happy to discuss matters pertaining to the course curriculum and your statistics background in further detail with you to ensure you are adequately prepared to begin each PHDA course.

Course registration can be done online or by phone. Program staff will notify students by email when registration opens.

The following courses are available to students residing outside of Canada:

PHDA 03: Population Health and GIS
PHDA 04: Spatial Epidemiology and Outbreak Detection
PHDA 05: Longitudinal Analysis and Multi-level Modelling of Population Health Data
PHDA 06: Health Services Program Monitoring and Evaluation

Please contact us if you are interested in taking one of more of these courses.

PHDA 01: Working with Administrative Data and PHDA 02: Epidemiological Statistics are not yet available to students outside Canada. If you would like to be notified when they become available internationally, please email us at phda@uvic.ca and ask to be placed on the international interest list.

The language of instruction in PHDA courses is English; therefore, English-language proficiency is required for all students wishing to take these courses.

Your course will use the web program Moodle In order to access course materials, participate in online discussions and complete your course assignments, you will need to sign on to the course Moodle site. You will require a NetLink ID. Program staff will provide access instructions prior to the course start date.

You will also have a separate student account with our program partnering organization, Population Data BC. They will provide you with a student account for remotely accessing the Secure Research Training Lab (SRTL) where you will complete the practical, data analysis component of your studies.

A NetLink ID account provides you with a secure username and passphrase to consistently and seamlessly access the UVic systems and services for which you are authorized. You will need to set up a NetLink ID in order to access the online instructional site (Moodle).

To create your NetLink ID, you will need your UVic student number (V00 number) and date of birth. If you already have a UVic NetLink ID, you may want to use the Status link on the NetLink website to confirm you remember your NetLink name and password.

A PopData account provides you with a secure username and passphrase to remotely and securely access the PHDA courses Secure Research Training Lab (SRTL). Once your account is established you will also be able access related free online resources available through PopData’s Education and Training Unit.

Yes, you have the same access to the library as all students at UVic. Library services are accessed electronically by NetLink ID. The library has both online and on-site tutorials to help you familiarize yourself with the system. Check the library website for a description of the full range of services available.

Online course work is designed to provide flexibility for scheduling your study hours. Although each individual’s study requirements vary, you can expect to spend a minimum of 8-10 hours per week on course activities that include reviewing videos, completing readings and written assignments as well as participating in online discussions and lab based activities.  Students often spend more than 10 hours per week to do lab exercises or final project work most of which is completed within a remotely accessed Secure Research Training Lab (SRTL).  The goal of final projects in each course is to provide students with the opportunity to apply their newly developed skills and knowledge to a topic of individual work or research interest.

While all student circumstances are different, we find that the average student can complete the program comfortably within 18 months to two years. This is possible if a student takes approx. one course per semester (generally two course are offered per term). As most of our students are working full time, we do not advise taking two courses at once unless you have adequate time and academic strengths to do so.

PHDA students have four years in which to complete the program. After the four-year mark, a student may request a program extension from the PHDA program coordinator. The program extension fee is $50.

Currently the Canadian Health Information Management Association (CHIMA) and the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors (CIPHI) recognize our PHDA courses for 10 CPE credits per course.

If you think our courses are a good fit for your organization's professional development needs, please let us know and we'd be happy to follow up!

Yes. The PHDA courses address many key core competencies as identified by the Public Health Agency of Canada. For a general overview please read this document.

If you require more details related to the inclusion of PHAC competencies within each PHDA course, please consult with the program admissions staff.

Here are some possible funding sources for PHDA students:

Each term, the Division of Continuing Studies offers small bursaries to assist learners in furthering their education. Bursaries are awarded on the basis of financial need and a demonstrated interest in lifelong learning, and may be used towards the program fees for the Professional Specialization Certificate in Population Health Data Analysis. For more information on bursaries, including how to apply, see the Info for Students page. 

Note: The CIHR Institute of Population and Public Health (IPPH) is in transition, and is therefore not participating in the upcoming Institute Community Support (ICS) travel and professional advancement competitions.

Please check the IPPH website for future updates.


The below information references the details associated with past CIHR-IPPH Skills Update Awards.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Population and Public Health (CIHR-IPPH) provides up to $5,000 for postdoctoral fellows and researchers to enable them to acquire specialized skills or research/knowledge translation experience. The Professional Specialization Certificate in Population Health Data Analysis is considered eligible for this support if the applicant explains how they will be applying skills obtained towards activities related to strategic priorities of the Institute. At the time of applying to the Certificate program, applicants must also submit a separate application to CIHR-IPPH. For more information, please visit the CIHR-IPPH website

Please note: receipt of CIHR funds is the sole responsibility of the student/researcher. Individuals who are successfully awarded CIHR funds will still be required to pay their tuition fees directly to Continuing Studies at time of course registration.

Yes. The program offers special rates to groups of three or more people from one organization and to actively enrolled graduate students. These special rates are contingent on limited seating availability within each course as our certificate students are given priority registration status. If you are interested in such opportunities, please consult with the program coordinator.

There are two convocation ceremonies which take place at the University of Victoria each year:

  • fall convocation (held in November)
  • spring convocation (held in June)

If you have completed all course requirements—three core courses and one elective course—prior to the application deadline, you will be eligible for convocation.

The application deadline for fall convocation is August 15th, and the application deadline for spring convocation is February 28th. You will need to fill out and submit the application for graduation form, and pay the $40 convocation fee, prior to these dates in order to convocate.

Please note that the PHDA program office will send an email reminder to PHDA students prior to each application to graduate deadline.

Any further questions regarding convocation, please contact phda@uvic.ca.

If you require an official copy of your transcript, login to My Account at the top right-hand corner of this page.

Once logged in, click on My Reports and you will have the option of purchasing an official transcript or viewing a PDF of your unofficial transcript. This document can be printed and utilized for record keeping purposes.

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