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.

BSc (Med Sci) & BSc (Dent Sci) Clinical Medicine Specialist Course 4: Global health in primary care MED4041

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Medicine Dentistry and Nursing
  • Credits: 30
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

A global health perspective synthesises population and individual health disciplines and is concerned with improving health and achieving health equity for all.


On average approximately 6 x 1.5 hour sessions per week in Semester One, and 2 x 1.5 hour session per week in Semester 2.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Actively enrolled in an MBChB or BDS and normally have successfully completed at least the first 3 years. Exceptionally, some external students from specific partner institutions may join the course after completion of two years of MBChB or BDS (or equivalent); however award of the intercalated degree will be withheld until they have subsequently completed the required number of additional credits (or equivalent) at their home institution.

Recommended Entry Requirements

Will normally be placed within the top 50% of the year and have demonstrated good academic progress.


BSc (Med Sci), BSc (Dent Sci) Clinical Medicine Core Course

BSc (Med Sci), BSc (Dent Sci) Clinical Medicine Research Project

BSc (Med Sci), BSc (Dent Sci) Clinical Medicine Statistics



65% final examination in April/May

35% review essay completed during 2nd semester.

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

To provide students with the opportunity to gain knowledge, and develop critical and analytical skills, in the field of global health with a primary health care focus.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

These learning outcomes are adapted from the "UK consensus statement on core global health competencies for medical students" (in press) from the working group led by Medsin.


There are 6 topics under which 20 intended learning outcomes are grouped:


A) Global Burden of Disease 

B) Socio-Economic and Environmental Determinants of Health

C) Health Systems and policy

D) Global Health Governance 

E) Human Rights & Ethics 

F) Cultural Diversity & Health 



A. Global Burden of Disease 

1. Examine and critically appraise the epidemiology and impact of important communicable and non-communicable diseases at the global level.

1. Discuss the impact of international travel and migration on health and the environment.

1. Explore the causes and control of global epidemics.


B. Socio-Economic and Environmental Determinants of Health

2. Describe and critique the non-clinical determinants of health, including social, political, economic, environment and gender.

3. Examine how health can be distributed unequally within and between populations in relation to socially-defined measures.

4. Describe how the environment and health interact at the global level and critically appraisal the impact of climate change.

5. Explore the relationship of nutrition and food security, with cultural diffusion, patterns of land use, international trade agreements and global trade.


C. Health Systems and Policy

6. Explore and analyse the possible components of a health system.

7. Describe and critically appraise the range of health systems across the globe including the UK NHS paying particular attention to primary care systems.

8. Recognise that health systems have international workforces and explain the impact of this within the UK and in other country settings.


D. Global Health Governance

9. Demonstrate awareness of the complexity of global health governance, including the roles of international organisations, the commercial sector and civil society.

10. Describe and critically appraise the role of the WHO as the international representative body of national governments for health.

11. Describe how health-related research is conducted and governed globally and its impact on health world-wide.


E. Human Rights and Ethics

12. Explore the principle of respecting the rights and equal value of all people without discrimination and provide compassionate care for all.

13. Examine how international legal frameworks impact on health care delivery in the UK and international settings

14. Discuss and critique the concept of a right to health.

15. Describe the particular health needs of vulnerable groups and migrants.

16. Discuss the role of doctors as advocates for their patients, including the importance of prioritising health needs over other concerns and adhering to codes of professional conduct.

17. Explore the ethical implications of UK doctors working in low-income health care systems


F. Cultural Diversity and Health

18. Demonstrate understanding and critically analyse the role that culture has in health, how it may influence behaviour and professionals' response.

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.

Attendance of at least 80% of lectures and tutorials is mandatory along with active participation in the seminar and other teaching opportunities.