Disease Ecology 4C option BIOL4216

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Biodiversity One Health Vet Med
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The course explores the ecological processes that influence disease patterns in natural populations. The course will cover topics relating to the dynamics of infectious diseases and population interactions in natural ecosystems, examined in the context of emerging health risks for human, wildlife and domestic animal populations from a diversity of ecological, socio-economic and political perspectives.


This option is assigned to block S2-C. There is normally one 3-hour session on Thursdays. 

Requirements of Entry

Normally, only available to final-year students in a Life Sciences programme. Visiting students may be allowed to enrol, at the discretion of the Life Sciences Chief Adviser and the Course Coordinator.

Excluded Courses



The course will be assessed by means of a 2-hour examination (70%) and in-course assessment consisting of a written assignment based around a real-life disease investigation/management scenario (30%). 

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aim of the course is to provide students with an introduction to the principles and practice of disease ecology, focusing particularly on disease processes in natural systems. 

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ Discuss population and immunological processes that affect spatial and temporal patterns of diseases in natural populations; 

■ Critically discuss the basic principles of epidemiological modelling; 

■ Critically evaluate different approaches used to investigate, prevent and control diseases in natural ecosystems; 

■ Evaluate the broader environmental, social, economic and political implications of infectious diseases affecting natural populations; 

■ Evaluate and critically appraise different approaches to the management or investigation of diseases in different real-world scenarios. 

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.