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.

Health and Culture SPS5017

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course focuses on the place of culture in understanding illness and responses to illness around the world. It draws on medical anthropology and other disciplinary approaches to explore constructions of health, health seeking  and health care in cross-cultural perspective.


2hrs per week, weekly for 10 weeks

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





Assessment will be through coursework which could include essay, class presentation and group work - total 4,000 words. The assessment makes up the elements of the independent study of the course, as well as class preparation time.

Course Aims

The course forms part of the MSc programme in Global Health and its aims embody the intentions of this programme. The principle aim is provide students with the knowledge and skills to describe and critique health and health care practices and policy. More specifically, the module aims to examine the theoretical and empirical basis of medical anthropology and other relevant disciplines as applied to health and health care.

■ To provide the students with a sound broad understanding of key issues in contemporary medical anthropology and other disciplinary perspectives;

■ To enable the students to reflect critically on health disparity both globally and nationally;

■ To explore the political implications of contrasting models of health and wellness;

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


■ Demonstrate an awareness of global diversity in health systems and practice;

■ Articulate a critical understanding of global and regional health inequalities;

■ Discuss and critically compare anthropological and other analyses of disease and health management;

■ Effectively analyse ways in which health, illness and disease are constructed cross-culturally;

■ Demonstrate an awareness of the ethical, methodological and policy issues raised by social scientific research into health and illness;

■ Critically evaluate and compare different systems of thought and behaviour;

■ Structure ideas effectively both orally and in written forms, work effectively independently and in groups, and develop effective time management skills.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Generic regulations apply