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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies : BSc Hons (Royal (Dick) Sch of Veterinary Studies)

Undergraduate Course: Planetary Health and Food Futures (VETS10025)

Course Outline
SchoolRoyal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryPlanetary health has been defined as "the health of human civilization and the state of the natural systems on which it depends". This course will provide students with an introduction to the concepts and issues surrounding Planetary Health, and the related concept of One Health, what this means for current and future global agriculture, and the specific challenges this presents. This includes alternative approaches to providing the human population with healthy, sustainable diets, which we may think of as 'Food Futures'. The course is suitable for all students and provides a broad foundation for the year 4 Global Agriculture and Food Security's Year 4 programme.
Course description Meaning and history of terms such as one-health and planetary health, and how these relates to the concept of food, people, planet.
Introduction to the interconnectedness outcomes of the food systems, and the need for trans- and inter-disciplinary approaches;
Relationships between human diet and health and the natural and managed environments;
Impacts of global environmental change on food security, resource supply and quality, production, nutrition, disease, biodiversity, resilience;
Analysis of possible food futures from modest adjustments to radical changes;
Understanding wider implications of different food future scenarios including new food and feed sources;
Explore the role of institutions and governances on food system and planetary health;
Understanding the roles of economics and behavioural drivers in food consumption decisions and be able to discuss the potential consequences for planetary health.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  30
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Formative Assessment Hours 20, Summative Assessment Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 126 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 60 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Case study report (40%)
Exam (60%)
Feedback Feedback will be supplied with 15 days of the submission deadline
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)2:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Describe the concepts of Planetary and One Health, their required approaches and relevance for global agriculture, their strengths and weaknesses and opportunities for improvement;
  2. Critically evaluate potential future contributions of alternative mechanisms (science, technology and policy) for addressing future challenges, particularly at the interface between ecosystem health, animal health and wellbeing, and human health and wellbeing;
  3. Evaluate examples of future scenarios for food production in terms of their strengths and weaknesses, and their implications for human and environmental health, from global to local scales;
  4. Analyse complex and inter-disciplinary systems to consider the trade-off and synergies in outcomes.
Reading List
Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch: report of The Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on planetary health (

The Lancet Planetary Health Journal
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Graduate attribute mindsets:
Enquiry and lifelong learning - will be developed through independent learning, supported by tutorials.
Aspiration and personal development - will be developed through involvement in tutorials and case studies.
Outlook and engagement - will be developed through involvement in tutorials, case studies, through interaction with external/guest lecturers and with the Planetary Health Alliance.

Graduate attribute skill groups
Research and enquiry - will be developed through involvement in tutorials and personal study.
Personal and intellectual autonomy - will be developed through involvement in tutorials.
Personal effectiveness - will be developed through managing independent learning and case studies.
Communication - will be developed through involvement in tutorials, interaction with external/guest lecturers and with the Planetary Health Alliance.

Keywordsone-health,planetary health,food systems,dietary transitions,planetary boundaries
Course organiserDr Peter Alexander
Tel: (0131 6)50 9090
Course secretaryMr Gordon Littlejohn
Tel: (0131 6)51 7454
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