Postgraduate taught 

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

Public Health Approaches to the End of Life DUMF5130

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: No
  • Taught Wholly by Distance Learning: Yes

Short Description

This course examines the rapidly growing interest in the creation of public health approaches to end of life issues that seek to make care of the dying and bereaved 'everyone's business'. It explores the rise of an approach in many countries around the world that seeks to complement the role of professional services, by mobilising community assets to support people in the face of death. At the same time it scrutinises the evidence for the effectiveness of this type of community intervention and the extent to which it is sustainable. Case examples, such as the neighbourhood networks in Palliative Care (Kerala, India) and Compassionate Inverclyde (Scotland, UK) will be examined in detail. The course also examines related forms of community intervention - such as the interest in death cafes and death doulas - that are emerging in many contexts around the world.


Online delivery - asynchronous course materials

Online delivery - synchronous delivery: 1x 90 minute seminar per week

Excluded Courses





1. Essay of 3,000 (70%)

2. Poster (30%)

Course Aims

1. To enable students to develop an understanding of the history and development of public health palliative care, including its underlying principles and modes of operation.


2. To introduce students to the descriptive and empirical literature on public health palliative care and foster critical skills in assessing the available research evidence that has been generated on public health palliative care's principles, practices and impact upon policy.


3. To develop a critical perspective on the concepts and practices of public health palliative care (e.g. community, compassion, empowerment), and on the claim that these can be generated for measurable benefit to communities in diverse cultures and resource settings.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


1. Synthesise and assess the claims relating to public health palliative care approaches to end of life care (including health-promoting palliative care), taking account of differing cultural and resource contexts.


2. Analyse the underlying principles of health-promoting palliative care, taking account of contrasting theoretical perspectives on the nature of community, community development and mobilisation.


3. Create a model for the health-promoting palliative care approach that could be implemented and evaluated in a community of the student's choice.

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.