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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Biomedical Sciences : Medical Sciences (Biomedical Sciences)

Undergraduate Course: Health, Illness and Society 3 (MSBM09003)

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery of Biomedical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
Summary**This course is only open to students on the BSc Medical Sciences programme**

This course aims to integrate medical sociology with medical ethics and public health to analyse the contributions of ethical, social, psychological and public health factors to health and illness.
Course description Health, Illness and Society is an interdisciplinary course, drawing on perspectives from the social sciences, biomedical ethics and public health. It aims to introduce students to:

How social processes shape patterns of health and illness in the population, the health experiences of individuals, and the provision of healthcare.

Forms of moral argument, principles of biomedical ethics and how to bring these to bear in considering medical practice.

Interventions to improve health and how to critically analyse these.

In the initial weeks of the course students will be introduced to key concepts involved in the study of health, illness and society including the social and historical influences on how health is defined and illness treated, and frameworks for understanding inequalities in health across the UK and worldwide. The course goes on to explore critically efforts to improve the health of populations and individuals, and how illness is experienced and care provided by doctors and others. The course is delivered through a combination of lectures and small group tutorials. Together these introduce students to different forms of evidence (including epidemiological and sociological research findings) and how to use them in discussion and debate; and investigate public health approaches and their application in practice.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students must be enrolled on the BSc Medical Sciences degree programme.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 15, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 15, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 3, Other Study Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 159 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) interview with member of public
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 33 %, Coursework 67 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) In course assessments [2/3 of overall mark].

Degree examination
Two hour examination in December with a mixture of essay and analytical questions [1/3 of overall mark].
Feedback Support is given to students in tutorials before the submission of in course essays and extensive feedback is given on each essay following submission
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Resit Exam Diet (August)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the social construction of medical and lay knowledge about health, illness and disease within particular social and cultural contexts
  2. Definitions of health and how health is measured and understand patterns of inequality in health, and explanations for the relationships between health and class, gender, ethnicity and disability
  3. Understand the distribution of health and disease across the globe and competing explanations for this
  4. Understand social influences on how illness is experienced and care provided; sociological concepts which illuminate these influences and how health promotion, including health education, prevention, healthy public policy, and the relationship between these complementary approaches
  5. Understand the basic principles of medical ethics and methods of moral enquiry
Reading List
Bartley M. (2012) Life Gets Under Your Skin ICLS Available at:

Scambler G. (ed) (2008) Sociology as Applied to Medicine (8th Edition). Edinburgh: Elsevier

Hope T et al (2008) Medical Ethics and Law: The Core Curriculum (2nd Edition) Edinburgh, Churchill Livingstone

Further readings are given week by week on Learn.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Hannah McNeilly
Course secretaryMiss Mary Cummings
Tel: (0131 6)51 3094
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