MSc Occupational Hygiene

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Climate Change and Health

Course unit fact file
Unit code POPH65042
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


The course is aimed at students who have an interest in, or work in, public health and/or primary care or similar settings. As public health professionals, it is important to have an understanding of the implications of climate change on health. The impacts of climate change are already being felt worldwide and they are forecast to escalate over the coming years. It will be imperative for public health personnel to understand the challenges that climate change is bringing and to be able to plan and implement preventative measures and services. Adaptation of health services and responses to new and potentially novel threats to health that an area, region or country may not have faced before, will be vital.

This is an interactive online course. Students must work through the online course material. Students are encouraged to use the Blackboard discussion boards to ask questions and check their understanding of the course material.


This unit is mandatory for the Environment and Public Health stream.


This unit aims to:

  • Synthesise the evidence base for climate change and the impacts on, and implications for, health
  • Provide an introduction to climate science and the climate change policies and actions taken around the world on prevention, mitigation and adaptation
  • Develop understanding of the specific health impacts, adaptations, interventions for mitigation, and adequate responses which will allow public health professionals to create policies and practices and, design and deliver appropriate services for the setting in which they work 

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Understand, explain and critically discuss the basic climate system, the process of climate change and the impact of human activities on climate.
  • Understand and articulate the impacts of climate change on health, globally and locally and policies and measures aimed at reducing, or adapting to, climate change and health impacts.
  • Apply understanding of climate change and health impacts to the development of real-world solutions.
  • Understand the ethical issues, both inter and intra generational and the opportunities and restraints under which organisations operate.


  • Introduction to climate change
  • Scenarios and international agreements
  • Extreme climate events and effects on health
  • Species distribution, allergies and infectious diseases
  • Agriculture, food and nutrition
  • Indirect effects on health
  • Migration and displacement
  • Global responses to climate change
  • Co-benefits, mitigation and adaptation
  • Developing setting specific responses

Teaching and learning methods

This online course unit includes text provided by the tutors and required and additional reading of articles, policies and media publications. It includes reflective study tasks, and topic-based discussions hosted on Blackboard. There is a final graded, written assignment.

Material provided will be diverse in nature, reflecting the wealth of information, and misinformation available. Peer-reviewed publications will be highlighted, and key publications from international research and conferences (such as Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) in the context of both science and international politics. Media articles and videos will also be included to demonstrate the misrepresentation of science in the context of climate change. Students will be encouraged to research and explore independently.

Climate change specialists will be invited to provide webinars (live and recorded) allowing students to question the experts in the field.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students will critically analyse approaches to climate change mitigation and adaption and apply their knowledge to the development of place specific and appropriate policies and interventions.
Students will be encouraged to acknowledge their responsibility in advocating preventative responses to protecting the health of their specific communities against the anticipated impacts of anthropogenic climate change.
Project management
Students will need to demonstrate understanding of project management skills in their choice of approach to the assignments and use planning techniques to ensure their completion.
Oral communication
Students will be equipped to communicate the basic science of climate change and its impacts on health. Students will be able to argue the evidentiary case for anthropogenic climate change and prospective scenarios.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 100%

Feedback methods

Students will be provided with personalised feedback for their final summative assignment (2,500-3,000 words or equivalent) within 20 working days.

Further opportunities for formative feedback (on non-assessed work) will also be provided during a course unit.

Recommended reading

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – website, annual report

Watts N, Adger N, Ayeb-Karlsson S, Bai Y, Byass P, Campbell-Lendrum D, et al. The Lancet Countdown: tracking progress on health and climate change. [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2018 Jan 11];389. Available from:  

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Christine Greenhalgh Unit coordinator

Additional notes

For further information please watch this video from our Course Unit Leader.

If you have any questions about the content of this unit, please contact the course unit leader, Christine Greenhalgh, via email on If you have any other queries, please contact the PGT programme administrators via email on

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