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SHS8124 : Introduction to the History of Medicine

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Clare Hickman
  • Lecturer: Dr Lutz Sauerteig, Dr Vicky Long, Dr Jen Kain
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


The aims of this module are:

•To provide students with an overview, at a more advanced level, of some key historical developments in the history of medicine as well as a range of methodological approaches.

•To provide students with awareness, at a more advanced level, of the historical, social and cultural embeddedness of medicine through time.

•To introduce students thematically, and at a more advanced level, to the main methodological aspects and problems of the academic study of medical history.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module is taught by way of case-studies illustrating the embeddedness of medicine in historical, social, cultural, ethical, and philosophical contexts.

The chosen case-studies will stem from a range of different geographical locations and span a broad time period and may include areas such as these:

- Medicine and Epidemics

- Medicine and the Environment

- Medicine and Education

- Medicine and the History of the Body

- Working with Digital Primary Sources

- Medicine and the Sea

- Medicine and Border Control

- Medicine and the Senses

- Medicine and the Emotions

There will also be a bespoke visit to the University Special Collections to look at primary archival material related to the module case studies.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion801:0080:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture11:001:00Introduction to module
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading581:0058:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching102:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00Tutorial/surgery
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study401:0040:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The course will be taught in the form of ten 2-hour sessions during semester 1. It will provide students with an introduction to the history of medicine which is thematic and which will focus on the historical, social and cultural embeddedness of medicine through time. It will do this by concentrating on the relationship between medicine and other major aspects of human culture and society. It will also cover key methodoloical approaches and skills such as locating and critically analysing primary sources.

In teaching sessions, each topic will be illustrated by historical case studies chosen from different historical periods. Students will be set preparatory reading which they will be expected to discuss in the group seminars. This will be supported by an essay surgery with the module leader and further tutorials in office hours with members of the teaching team where necessary.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A1003,000 word essay (including footnotes, excluding bibliography)
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1M1,000 word outline of essay for feedback ahead of final assessment
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students will be expected to submit a formative outline of their essay of 1,000 words and a summative essay of 3,000 words. This piece will test their ability to analyse historical documents and to grasp the methodological issues involved in the academic study of the history of medicine.

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, and develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

Reading Lists