Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Innovations in Western Medicine: Social Origins & Cultural Impacts ESH4029

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

Modern medicine is defined by constant change. The course will examine some of the major changes that have occurred in medicine in the last two hundred years. The innovations studied will be social, institutional and disciplinary, as well as diagnostic and therapeutic, in nature. The option will examine the origins of modern medicine, analyse the process of innovation in medicine, and scrutinise changes in the doctor/patient relationship in the 19th and 20th centuries.


Lecture: one hour per week

Seminar: one hour per week


Please note this course does not run every session. For the current course list please see: 

Requirements of Entry

Enrolment in an MA (SocSci) or MA (Arts) Honours Programme


One essay = 25%

One source report = 15%

One two-hour exam = 60%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable


Course Aims

■ To analyse the process of innovation in medicine

■ To examine the origins of modern medicine

■ To scrutinise changes in the doctor/patient relationship in the 19th and 20th centuries

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

On completion of the module students should be able to:

■ Demonstrate an understanding of how and why the medicine of the
nineteenth century differs
from that of earlier centuries

■ Assess changes in the doctor/patient relationship in the 19th and 20th centuries

■ Assess the impact of technological change of the practice of medicine

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.