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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh Futures Institute : Edinburgh Futures Institute

Postgraduate Course: Changing Climate, Changing Health (fusion online) (EFIE11222)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh Futures Institute CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe climate emergency is a health emergency. The changing climate across the globe is impacting health directly through the immediate effects of adverse weather conditions causing illness, injury, and death, through ecosystem mediated effects including vector-borne diseases, water-borne diseases, mental health challenges, and malnutrition, and through socially mediated effects such as increased poverty, migration, and conflict.

Not only will the health gains of the last 50 years be undermined as the severity of adverse climate events increase, but the very nature and types of diseases will change, with new emerging infections, antimicrobial resistance, and heightened likelihood of further pandemics. These risks threaten the economy of every country and global stability. This course will examine how health systems can build resilience to climate change, and how the non-health sectors can protect the health of populations. A central focus will be on strategies to identify and build co-benefits from mitigation and adaptation interventions which simultaneously improve health outcomes and contribute to net zero targets.
Course description This course provides an introduction to the ways in which the climate crisis has become a health emergency. The actions taken to respond to the health emergency could, if comprehensive and innovative, be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century.

Students will:

a) Examine the shifting narrative of the importance of health and climate from global bodies including the United Nations, the World Health Organisation, and national governments.

b) Review the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on health including the immediate effects of adverse weather conditions such as storms, droughts, floods, cyclones, fires, heatwaves causing illness, injury and death; the ecosystem mediated effects of climate events including vector-borne diseases, water-borne diseases, mental health challenges, and malnutrition; and the socially mediated effects of these events such as increased poverty, migration, and conflict.

c) Assess the risk and vulnerability factors which make those already most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change most at risk of health challenges.

d) Understand the implications of the changing health metrics on social and economic stability.

e) Identify current co-benefits and design for new untapped co-benefits of actions which simultaneously improve health outcomes and contribute to net zero targets.

The learning experience will be characterised by co-creation and peer-teaching with students actively engaged in generating materials that inform their fellow-students. A range of learning products and inputs, including from global thought leaders, will be utilised with a supportive environment where there can be provocation, dialogue, and expansive thinking looking at old solutions for these new intersectoral challenges and new solutions delivered in different ways.

The course will make use of a range of digital learning environments, enabling students to build knowledge across discussion forums, livestreamed sessions, and other collaborative networked spaces.

This course will have broad appeal to students with both humanities and science qualifications and those interested/currently employed in careers across business (especially working in ESG) and in public health, animal and environmental health, and global governance.

Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) - Online Fusion Course Delivery Information:

The Edinburgh Futures Institute will teach this course in a way that enables online and on-campus students to study together. This approach (our 'fusion' teaching model) offers students flexible and inclusive ways to study, and the ability to choose whether to be on-campus or online at the level of the individual course. It also opens up ways for diverse groups of students to study together regardless of geographical location. To enable this, the course will use technologies to record and live-stream student and staff participation during their teaching and learning activities. Students should note that their interactions may be recorded and live-streamed. There will, however, be options to control whether or not your video and audio are enabled.

As part of your course, you will need access to a personal computing device. Unless otherwise stated activities will be web browser based and as a minimum we recommend a device with a physical keyboard and screen that can access the internet.
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 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  6
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 14, Online Activities 4, Formative Assessment Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 78 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Summative Assessment:

The course will be assessed by means of the following assessment components:

1) Infographic (50%)

Students will be asked to prepare a 1-page (A4) infographic on a climate and health related topic of their choice. The topic can be as broad or focused but must clearly identify the link between climate change and human health. An initial presentation of this will be made during the first day of the 2-day intensive workshop and formative feedback will be given by both staff and peers. This formative feedback can then be used to finesse the infographic before the final course submission.

2) Infographic Support Text (50%)

Alongside the final submission of the infographic, students will be asked to provide a 750-word (maximum) text description including an explanation and academic justification for:

a) Why the topic was chosen.

b) Who the target audience for their infographic is (e.g., policy makers, health care worker, school children, university students, general public, etc.)

c) The desired mode of distribution to that audience (e.g., poster, document, website, etc.). As well as a few sentences to explain how they amended their infographic or what they learned from their peer's input during the intensive component.
Feedback Formative Assessment:

Formative feedback given during individual presentation and group preparation of infographic during the 2-day intensive element of the course. This formative feedback will be given by the academic staff, but also via peer review and discussion.

Students will be encouraged to ask questions during the two-day intensive in Week 2 and the online discussion sessions in Week 3 and 4. Students will also be invited to make use of the asynchronous online discussion board which will be open for the duration of the course and monitored by academic staff.

Summative Assessment:

Students will receive detailed written feedback on the summative assessments detailed above. The summative feedback will clearly explain how the student did or did not meet the assessment criteria and how they could improve in the future.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the literature on the intersection between the climate and health agendas.
  2. Describe and convey through different mediums the challenges of the intersecting climate and health crises.
  3. Critique data to develop plans and processes for engaging with health and climate communities.
  4. Apply policy analysis at the science policy interface.
  5. Work in peer relationships and effectively take on peer review feedback.
Reading List
Essential Reading:

Romanello et al. (2021) The 2021 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: code red for a healthy future. The Lancet Review. 398 (1011). Pages 1619-1662. DOI:

Executive Summary of Cissé, G., R. McLeman, H. Adams, P. Aldunce, K. Bowen, D. Campbell-Lendrum, S. Clayton, K.L. Ebi, J. Hess, C. Huang, Q. Liu, G. McGregor, J. Semenza, and M.C. Tirado, 2022: Health, Wellbeing, and the Changing Structure of Communities. In: Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [H.-O. Pörtner, D.C. Roberts, M. Tignor, E.S. Poloczanska, K. Mintenbeck, A. Alegría, M. Craig, S. Langsdorf, S. Löschke, V. Möller, A. Okem, B. Rama (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA, pp. 1041-1170, doi:10.1017/9781009325844.009. Available:

Recommended Reading:

Cleaver, G. and Bagenal, J. (2021). The Lancet Voice. 2021. COP26: inequality in climate research. Available:

Cleaver, G. and Bagenal, J. (2021). Health and Climate Change: what happened at COP26. Available:

Further Reading: TBC
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course will provide students with a curiosity for learning that will enable them to make a positive difference in the world. They will be encouraged to have the passion to engage locally and globally to tackle issues related to human health and the climate crisis.

Students will gain:

Knowledge and Understanding
- A critical understanding of the theories, concepts, and principles of the climate health intersection.
- A critical awareness of current challenges and debates in an emerging research area involving multiple specialisms.

Applied Knowledge, Skills and Understanding
- Ability to apply critical knowledge to the design and completion of a project.
- Ability to identify potential challenges and opportunities in situations of crisis.
- Ability to demonstrate originality and/or creativity, including in practice.

Generic Cognitive Skills
- Develop original and creative responses to problems and issues recognising they are on uncharted territory.
- Ability to critically review, consolidate and extend knowledge, skills, practices and thinking across disciplines, subjects, and sectors engaged with the climate crisis and see their connection to and for health outcomes.
- Ability to deal with complex issues, make informed judgements and predictions in situations in the absence of complete or consistent data/information.

Communication, ICT, and Numeracy Skills
- Communication, using appropriate methods, to a range of audiences with different levels of knowledge/expertise on health and climate issues.
- Ability to articulate clear and well-justified advisory recommendations.

Autonomy, Accountability, and Working with Others
- Skills to manage their own individual contribution to a group presentation or report.
- The ability to engage constructively and productively in critical debate on climate and health.
KeywordsClimate Crisis,Climate Change,Climate Impacts,Human Health,Health Policy,Sustainable Development
Course organiserDr Erika Thompson
Course secretaryMiss Yasmine Lewis
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