Literature and Medicine ENGLIT4096

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

On this course we take a thematic approach to the literary representation of medical professionalism, disease and illness (physical and mental), across a range of literary texts dating from the eighteenth century through to the present, including poetry, prose fiction and memoir. No prior medical knowledge is required, but you will be encouraged to give attention to specific cultural contexts and historically shifting medical paradigms.


6 x 1hr lectures over 10 weeks, 1 x 1hr seminar per week over 10 weeks and 1 x 2hr workshop, as scheduled on MyCampus.

1 x 2hr external visit TBA.


This is one of the Honours options in English Literature and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Successful completion of Junior Honours English Literature, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses

ENGLIT4059  Literature and Medicine


Close reading exercise (1500 words): 25%

Essay (3000 words): 50%

Seminar contribution: 10%

Seminar presentation of 7 minutes: 15%

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

This course will provide the opportunity to:

■ develop knowledge and understanding of particular medico-literary themes, genres, and perspectives

■ develop an understanding of the theoretical approaches and methodologies employed in the field of literature and medicine

■ critically engage with a range of selected texts and authors, with an awareness of significant shifts in medical paradigms

■ construct and develop individually selected areas of specialised enquiry.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

■ identify medico-literary themes and perspectives in a range of texts and genres and apply theoretical frames and methodologies appropriate to the study of 'literature and medicine'

■ write with perception and sensitivity about a range of selected authors and texts, with attention to major shifts in medical paradigms and cultural contexts

■ utilise organisational and analytical skills so as to be able to present and argue a case cogently and effectively

■ utilise contemporary methods of information retrieval

■ communicate responses to the material studied on the course both orally and in written form through coherent and sustained argument.

■ demonstrate resilience and time management through effectively planning, undertaking and submitting coursework.

■ deal with change and new challenges by applying their disciplinary skills and knowledge to previously unfamiliar research areas and questions.

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.