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 Population Health Science MED5521

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Health and Wellbeing
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This core course will cover the following topics:


1. Population change - demographic transition model & population ageing

2. Determinants of Health

3. Inequalities in health

4. Principles of prevention

5. Health service improvement

6. Health protection

7. Causal inference in population health

8. Life-course approaches to population health

9. Natural experiments for population health

10. Healthier cities: how a city in terms of population structure and land use diversity can influence health


10 x 2 hour lectures

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





One 3,000 word essay

Reflective learning exercise/blog based on their contributions to weekly discussion boards

Course Aims

This course aims to:


Introduce students to the science of Population Health


Provide students with a comprehensive grounding in the key elements of the determinants of population health


Introduce students to modern concepts in population health and life-course approaches to population health

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


1. Critically evaluate the key concepts in population health and their interrelationships

2. Demonstrate a critical awareness of competing models of determinants of health and health inequalities

3. Understand and critique the role of modern cities in shaping/influencing population health

4. Critically appraise life-course approaches to population health and population change

5. Critique the role of natural experiments and causal inference in informing population level solutions to tackle inequalities in health

6. Demonstrate a critical awareness of the importance and role of health prevention, protection and improvement in population health

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.