Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Biomedical Sciences : Biomedical Sciences

Postgraduate Course: Climate change and infectious disease (BIME11199)

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery of Biomedical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis course will focus on the consequences of climate change on the spread and emergence of infectious diseases. We will use several different climate change scenarios including extreme weather events to consider current and potential changes to epidemiology, public health and the control and risk of infectious disease.

This course will be fully online, course materials including short, recorded visual and audio content, written materials and recommended readings will be released weekly.
Course description This course will explore the nexus of climate change and health with a particular focus on infectious disease. Changes in rainfall and temperature with the resultant pressures on water availability, food security, biodiversity and the increase in incidence of natural disasters have changed the infectious disease landscape significantly over the previous decade, significantly challenging infectious disease control and health care system resilience.

We will initially explore these challenges with examples that are related to the specific ways in which climate change is expanding the ranges of multiple disease vectors and thus increasing the zoonotic risks and re/emergence of infectious disease. Both zoonotic and animal diseases will be utilised as examples, the latter more so to highlight and explore the nexus in respect to the impact of climate change on food production and foodborne infectious disease. The increased risks of water-based pathogens especially in the context of water security and climate change will also be included.

It is essential to consider and recognise the transdisciplinary nature of these issues, so we can then explore the wider relationships of infectious disease, climate related migration and of the emergence of infectious disease.

As well detailing the current and contemporary issues associated with the health and infectious disease sequalae of climate change and extreme weather events, this course will explore the challenges of addressing the impacts climate change has on infectious disease control, as well as explore the actionable areas in which the effect of climate change on health, infectious disease control could be mitigated, and public health resilience strengthened.
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 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Flexible
Course Start Date 05/08/2024
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Online Activities 25, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 53 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework 100%

Coursework assessment will be composed of an assessed discussion board (50% of total grade) where the students will co-create content by responding to a series of discussion topics suggested by the course organiser over 3 weeks. The students will be encouraged to communicate with each other to challenge and share ideas. As this is a part time online course the students have a variety of different academic and professional backgrounds and locations, they will be encouraged to use these differences as an opportunity to discuss the multidisciplinary aspects of this topic. This will allow a space to share ideas and think about the actions required at different levels of their own societies - themselves, employers, governments. This assessment framework will relate to learning objectives 1, 2 and 4.

The second coursework component will be a written assessment (50%) focused on one named infectious disease and location of the student's own choice where they will explore the current and potential impacts of climate change on this pathogen. The focus of the assessment will be on acknowledged or potential multidisciplinary solutions to mitigate these impacts. This assessment framework will relate to learning objectives 2, 3 and 5.
Feedback Extensive written feedback will be provided to all students within 15 working days of submission deadlines for coursework. A dedicated discussion forum will be available for students to ask any questions they may have about what is required for assessments, or to ensure they have interpreted the assignment brief correctly.

Feedback will clearly identify both positives and areas for improvement.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the transdisciplinary issues related to climate change and infectious disease.
  2. Assess knowledge and understanding of climate change and the impact on infectious disease to suggest solutions and strategies to adapt to these challenges.
  3. Apply critical analysis and evaluation to synthesise current developments in knowledge about climate change and how that relates to changes in infectious disease.
  4. Describe and communicate effectively with peers, the specific and potential future impacts of climate change on infectious disease.
  5. Exercise autonomy and initiative to consider solutions and actions for infectious disease in a changing climate.
Reading List
This course will draw on current literature in this topical field, each week a relevant reading list will be provided within the learning materials.

Currently available through the library:
Global Climate Change and Human Health: From Science to Practice, edited by Kim Knowlton, et al., John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2021. ProQuest Ebook Central,

Examples of relevant recent publications are:
Baker, R.E., Mahmud, A.S., Miller, I.F. et al. Infectious disease in an era of global change. Nat Rev Microbiol 20, 193¿205 (2022).
Hess J, Boodram L G, Paz S, Stewart Ibarra A M, Wasserheit J N, Lowe R et al. Strengthening the global response to climate change and infectious disease threats BMJ 2020; 371 :m3081 doi:10.1136/bmj.m3081
Mora, C., McKenzie, T., Gaw, I.M. et al. Over half of known human pathogenic diseases can be aggravated by climate change. Nat. Clim. Chang. 12, 869-875 (2022).

Further relevant and up to date reference and resources will be used in a subject specific manner.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course encourages an appreciation of the need for a multidisciplinary approach to complex global issues.
This course will encourage clear communication skills and both critical and reflective thinking as we consider complex multidisciplinary issues.
Students will exercise substantial autonomy and take responsibility for own work. The development of clear time management skills.
KeywordsClimate,natural disaster,flooding,emerging infectious disease,vector,zoonotic,global warming
Course organiserDr Jenna Fyfe
Tel: 0131 242 9379
Course secretaryMrs Dan Yan
Tel: (131 6)515470
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information