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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies : Veterinary Sciences

Postgraduate Course: Understanding Planetary Health & Data: An Introduction to the Concepts and Themes (VESC11243)

Course Outline
SchoolRoyal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies 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
SummaryThe concept of 'planetary health', defined as the health of human civilisation and the state of the natural systems on which it depends, is an exciting emerging field of research and study.

This course introduces students to the key concepts and some of the themes of Planetary Health; e.g. systems thinking, planetary boundaries, pandemics, public health, climate change, food and nutrition security, conflict, sustainable futures.

Students will be invited to assess and debate key topics through handling of relevant large data sets from UN, WHO and World Bank repositories. Students will be introduced to tools and methods of data gathering for evidence-based decision-making in this field.

This online course will have broad appeal to both humanities and science graduates interested to pursue careers across public health, human, animal and environmental health, and global governance.
Course description In this online course students will gain knowledge of key planetary health concepts and themes and will gain familiarity with locating and applying large data sets.

Key case studies on climate change, food and nutrition security, and conflict will enable students to apply conceptual thinking and data analysis to contemporary global challenges.

Through weekly seminar teaching students will be invited to research, assess, and debate case-studies and simulate evidence-based decision-making processes. Students will be introduced to the governance and decision-making frameworks relevant to this area.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed:
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:  45
Course Start Block 4 (Sem 2)
Course Start Date 24/02/2025
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 98 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Formative: Essay 1 (LOs 1, 2 & 3)
Summative: Presentation (on campus or online) (30%) and Essay 2 (70%) (LOs 1, 2 & 3)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the key conceptual aspects of planetary health thinking.
  2. Evaluate and assess data-sets relevant to planetary health.
  3. Develop ability to work independently and jointly under fixed deadlines and to develop their ability to present the outcome of independent research in a clear written and oral form.
Reading List
Sarah Whitmee et al. 2015. Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch: report of The Rockefeller Foundation┬┐Lancet Commission on planetary health. Lancet 2015; 386: 1973┬┐2028.

Jennifer Cole. 2019. Planetary Health (textbook), CABI pubs.

Samuel Myers. 2020. Planetary Health: Protecting Nature to Protect Ourselves. Island Press.

Tiffany Bergin. 2018. An Introduction to Data Analysis: Quantitative, Qualitative and Mixed Methods. SAGE pubs.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Graduating students will be able to:

1. work effectively and authoritatively to influence policymaking at a strategic scale.
2. be responsive to quantitative evidence and qualitative thinking; be flexible and proactive to changing circumstance.
3. be confident in recognising and addressing ethical dilemmas especially in planetary health issues.
4. create, identify and evaluate options in order to solve complex problems in multidisciplinary contexts,
5. demonstrate a capability for analytical thinking to synthesise, critically and methodically appraise thoughts, in order to understand critical issues in planetary health.
KeywordsPlanetary health,data,governance,policy,public health,environment,systems thinking
Course organiserMs Cynthia Naydani
Course secretaryMr Gordon Littlejohn
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