Postgraduate taught 

End of Life Studies MSc/PgDip/PgCert: Online distance learning

Global Challenges and Dilemmas in End of Life Care DUMF5126

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Taught Wholly by Distance Learning: Yes

Short Description

This course sets out the demographic, epidemiological and policy dimensions of delivering end of life care in the global context, taking account of differing settings, such as home, hospital, care home, and hospice. It will explore the rise of the modern field of hospice and palliative care, examining core elements, debates and models of service organisation and practice. The course will interrogate the current evidence on the global development of palliative care, the relevant indicators, the methodological challenges and the applications of evidence to global policy making processes. It will consider the roles of key agencies and non-state actors in advocating for palliative care as a human right and an aspect of Universal Health Coverage. It will normally examine selected case studies of end of life care delivery in Japan, India, and Scotland and consider the efficacy of specific interventions such as the Liverpool Care Pathway, Hospice Medicare and the World Health Organization (WHO) pain ladder.


Online delivery - None

Online delivery - 1x 90 minute seminar per week

Excluded Courses





1. Essay of 2,500-3,000 words (75%) [ILOs 1, 2 and 3]

2. Powerpoint presentation with recorded audio commentary lasting 10 minutes (25%) [ILOs 1, 2 and 3]

Course Aims

1. To develop students' understanding of the history, development and current challenges for end of life care delivery in the face of global demographic and epidemiological changes.

2. To introduce students to the diverse literature on global end of life care development, and foster critical skills in assessing the chosen frames, methodologies and values that underpin them.

3 To enable students to develop skills in assessing the value claims and competencies that are made for palliative care as well as its underlying principles and 'culture' - and to understand the consequences of these for the global field.  

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


1. Evaluate the developing need for end of life care globally, and the extent to which this is being met by available provision of relevant services, along with associated threats and opportunities.

2. Critique key methodological and theoretical debates in the literature on the global provision of end of life care.

3. Analyse competing perspectives in policy and organisational strategies for end of life care, the roles of key national and international factors within these, and also the specific cultural values that attach to palliative care.

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.