Sociology of Health and Illness SOCIO4069

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will explore health and its determinants from a broad range of sociological approaches. It will examine the relationship between health and the social, political and economic organisation of society.


2 hrs weekly for 9 weeks; 3 hours week 10.

Requirements of Entry

In order to take this course you need to have met the requirements for entry into our Honours Programme. Basically, this means achieving a grade of 'D' or better in Sociology 1A and 1B and a 'C' or better in Sociology 2A and 2B. You also have to comply with the College of Social Science regulations for progression to Honours.

Excluded Courses





Written assignment: Students will be required to write one essay of 3,500 words on a topic of their choice from a range provided (70%)


Oral assignment: Students will be required to give a group presentation from which the following marks constitute the 30% overall

Peer assessment of the group presentation: 5%

Lecturer assessment of group presentation: 5%

Group members' rating of each other's contribution: 5%

500-1000 word reflection on the presentation: 15%

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable


Course Aims

The general aims of the course follow from our subject area's aim of developing a sound knowledge and critical understanding of the academic discipline of Sociology. In particular, this course aims to examine the theoretical and empirical basis of the social context of health and health care. It will:

■ expose students to the key debates and theories in the sociology of health and illness

■ provide students with an understanding how these debates impact on our understanding of health and illness

■ examine the possibilities and limits of the sociology of health and illness in relation to health in general

■ Enable students to enhance their transferable and inter-personal skills, particularly in communication, time management, individual and group research work, and critical appraisal of health-related issues in wider society.

■ Enable students to develop a wide range of skills that will meet the demands of the modern labour market.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

■ Describe, discuss and show an understanding of how sociological insight and perspectives have influenced developments and understandings of wider debates on health and illness.

■ Display a critical understanding of competing principles in the sociology of health and illness.

■ Show an understanding of key concepts including the nature of medical power/knowledge, professional dominance, social diversity, health inequalities, concepts and experiences of health and illnesses and public health.

■ Consider how economic, cultural and social change impact on health, illness and health care.

■ Show how sociological aspects of health and health care may be related to public health, and the experience of health and illness, professional healthcare work, practice and policy through application in particular case studies and through engagement with research.

■ Work in a group to present a sociological approach to an understanding of health and illness

■ Critically assess the group work in relation to sociological understanding of health and illness

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.