Skip to Content


Last modified: 31 Jul 2023 11:19

Course Overview

This course introduces students to the basic principles of medicine. It will outline the physiological principles that underpin normal structure and function of the human body, the pathological principles that underpin disease and the factors that influence the health of individuals, families and communities. It will also describe systems of healthcare delivery in the UK and around the world. This course is only available to students in year 1 of the MBChB programme or year 1 of the B Clin Med Sci programme

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 1
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 40 credits (20 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Professor Stephen N. Davies

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Degrees of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)

What courses cannot be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course is taught in the first term of the year 1 MBCHB programme. It is designed to introduce medical students to the basic principles of normal function of the human body, the basic principles underlying disease and the factors that influence an individual’s likelihood of becoming ill. It will begin by describing normal physiology and biochemistry principles and how these apply to maintaining normal function of the human body. At appropriate points the impact of disease will be introduced – for example, how does the immune system respond to a microbiological infection? How does diabetes disrupt our normal biochemistry and what are the consequences? What stops cells becoming cancerous and why does this sometimes fail? However health is determined by more than what is happening inside our bodies. Our homes, communities, lifestyles and employment all impact our health both directly and indirectly and this course will also introduce the sociological and psychological factors that determine health while also considering the systems of healthcare in the UK and around the globe.

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

100 SBA Exam (100%)


Resit (for students taking the course in Academic Year 2020/2021):

December exam is an exempting exam. Students who do not pass in December sit the Degree Exam in May. A resit opportunity is available in August.


Resit (for students who took the course in Academic Year 2019/2020 and C8 students):

Students who failed in Academic Year 2019/20 allowed one repeat year.

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ConceptualApplyExplain how normal human structure and function, and general physiological processes, apply to maintaining health.
ConceptualApplyExplain how the relevant scientific processes underlying common and important disease processes apply to disease development.
FactualUnderstandDescribe the principles of drug therapy in managing disease.
ConceptualApplyDescribe how psychological and social science principles influence the health of individuals, families and communities
FactualRememberDescribe the delivery of healthcare across the UK and abroad
ConceptualApplyDemonstrate awareness of the ethical and professional responsibilities of doctors

Compatibility Mode

We have detected that you are have compatibility mode enabled or are using an old version of Internet Explorer. You either need to switch off compatibility mode for this site or upgrade your browser.