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.

Principles of Public Health MED5434

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Health and Wellbeing
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes
  • Taught Wholly by Distance Learning: Yes

Short Description

This course will outline the meaning of Public Health and the factors that influence health in different settings. It will also introduce students to specific public health practice and related challenges.


This is a 10 week online course comprising 10 weekly lectures, each taking the form of two or three short lectures totalling 90 minutes duration, and nine related practical exercises. Exercises will each require around four notional hours of student effort and each week an academic member of staff will convene an online tutorial discussion of these.

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses

MED5027 Principles of Public Health




An essay addressing a public health issue (80%), 2500 words; Portfolio - a reflective blog based on personal learning arising from weekly practical exercises where current research is analysed, (20%),1000 words.

Course Aims

The course aims to provide a foundation in public health for students. It will introduce students to the fundamental concepts of health and illness and the factors that influence health in different settings.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


Critically discuss the key concepts, ideas and controversies within public health.

Evaluate the importance of a population perspective, and analyse the inter-relationships betwee
n this approach and the more individual-based aspects of health promotion and health care with reference to the literature.

Debate the concepts around the distribution of health and illness which form a focus for public health work, and evaluate the facto
rs which shape this distribution with reference to the literature.

Assess what is being done and what can be done to address health problems at population level with reference to the literature.

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.