Postgraduate taught 

Primary Health Care MSc/PgDip/PgCert: Online distance learning

Cultural, Social and Biological Determinants of Mental Health MED5445

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: Health and Wellbeing
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Summer
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No
  • Taught Wholly by Distance Learning: Yes

Short Description

This course will explore how the manifestation of mental health difficulties can vary across time and cultures. The course will also critically discuss attempts to identify biological mechanisms underlying mental health difficulties and the interplay that these mechanisms might have with social factors.


This course will take place over 10 teaching weeks in semester 3.

Excluded Courses





Two components of written assessment:


■ Critical Review 50% (1500 words approx)

■ Essay 50% (1500 words approx)

Course Aims

This course aims, through distance learning, to explore how the manifestation of mental health and mental ill health can change across time and cultures. This course aims to develop an understanding of the importance of resilience and aims to discuss the links between culture, social and economic factors and mental health. Finally this course aims to enable students to develop an understanding of the biological mechanisms implicated in mental illness.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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


■ Critically evaluate the various models of care and treatment for mental health difficulties such as the biopsychosocial model.


■ Critically discuss the underlying determinants of health including: culture, poverty and substance misuse.


■ Critically discuss the concept of resilience, consider its cultural aspects and the implications it has for mental health promotion and prevention.


■ Critically discuss the impact of poverty, violence (including gender-based violence), war, migration and disaster on mental health.


■ Critically discuss current diagnostic challenges within mental health and evaluate the potential role of biomarkers in diagnosing mental health difficulties in a global context.

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.