Study abroad this summer in Scotland with IFSA and UCSD

Genetics, Pandemics, and Society in Edinburgh

Program Overview

From coping with ancient plagues to pioneering advances in genetic cloning, Edinburgh has long stood out as a center for scientific innovation. This—plus an abundance of cultural riches and natural beauty—make it a perfect destination to ignite your interest in sociology, history, premed, genetics, and global or public health.

This global seminar program is offered in partnership with the University of California San Diego. Enrollment is limited to 28 students.

Details in a Glance

Application deadline

February 1, 2023

Minimum GPA

2.00

Credit load

8 UCSD Quarter Credits

Housing

Apartment/Flat

Instruction language

English

Prerequisites

None

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Academics

The curriculum includes the following two classes:

History of Public Health

Ever since classical antiquity, people have sought to understand why epidemics happen. How does disease travel? What might explain why one person or group of people become sick and others do not? Does the state have a duty to protect the health of the public, even if that interferes with the rights of individuals? This history is vast, and students tend to learn about the triumphs and turning points that characterize the experience of Western societies, to the exclusion of other parts of the world. Rather than attempt to cover every possible topic, this class instead pursues a global history of epidemics in order to introduce students to the major shifts, themes and tensions that have animated historical scholarship about public health on a global scale. In particular, it will center the histories of Scotland, Britain and its empire, taking advantage of the rich history of scientific discovery in Edinburgh.

Genetics and Society

For well over a century now, genetics has powerfully shaped how we think about human difference. This class will explore the many ways in which studying our genomes and inheritance patterns has informed public understanding and policy on topics like race and ethnicity, disability, reproduction, rare disease, intelligence, sociality, delinquency, and personal identity in the United States. We will also see how social forces shape genetics research itself and discuss controversies surrounding gene patenting, forensic science, newborn screening, cloning, and genetic testing for disease, risk and ancestry. Throughout, we will adopt a comparative perspective by examining the way ideas about genetics and heritability have moved back and forth between the UK and U.S.

Instructors

Daniel Navon, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the UC San Diego Sociology Department. He teaches classes in the sociology of science and medicine, historical sociology, and qualitative methods. His 2019 book, Mobilizing Mutations: Human Genetics in the Age of Patient Advocacy, explores how genetics is reshaping medical classification, patient care, and personal identity. Before going to Columbia University to pursue a doctorate in sociology, he was a philosophy major at the University of Edinburgh.

Claire Edington, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the UC San Diego History Department where she teaches classes on the history of public health, the history of modern Southeast Asia, and the colonial and postcolonial studies of science and medicine. Her research examines the way medical experts, state institutions, and popular beliefs shaped the lives of marginalized people in Vietnam throughout the 20th century. She earned her doctorate from the Departments of Sociomedical Sciences and History from Columbia University in 2013.

You will earn 8 UC San Diego quarter credits for this program. This translates into ? U.S. semester credit hours.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Visit the UC San Diego website for the Genetics, Pandemics, and Society in Edinburgh program.

Contact Tonia Pizer, UC San Diego Global Seminars Coordinator, by email or phone at 858.534.1123 with any questions regarding the program, its content, or requirements.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

Eligibility

  • You must be at least 18 years of age. Students under 18 may be accepted on a case-by-case basis.
  • You must be currently attending or recently graduated from a U.S. or Canadian community college, technical college, two-year college, four-year college, or four-year university.
  • You must have completed at least one (1) year of study at your home institution before the beginning of the term.

Recommendation Letter

Not required.

Visa Requirement

Not required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. A visa may be required if you are a citizen of another country.

TRANSCRIPT

Upon completion of your program, you may order a transcript online directly from the University of California San Diego.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Contact Tonia Pizer, UCSD Global Seminars Coordinator, by email or phone at 858.534.1123 with any questions regarding the program, its content, or requirements.

Excursions

Program Activities:

Activities are an important piece of your experience, designed to pull you into the fabric of the communities you visit and encourage cultural connections of every kind. That said, at times, circumstances beyond our control—including local government regulations and health protocols—could impact our ability to hold these events as planned.

Know that we’ll make every effort to run the activities, trips, and excursions slated for your program. You’ll see detailed examples of previous outings offered during this program below. Keep in mind that the options could look different for your program, and that we cannot guarantee these activities, trips, and excursions.

Activities are optional, but they are included in your total program fee. They vary each term based on availability, but activities may include:

  • The University of Edinburgh’s Anatomical Museum: View the collection of the Edinburgh Phrenological Society, arguably the world’s leading center for phrenological research—an important intellectual precursor to modern hereditarian and genetic thinking, as well as a cautionary tale about its pitfalls.
  • The Rosalin Institute: The pioneering site for bioscience and animal genetics research that cloned a sheep to create Dolly.
  • The University of Edinburgh’s MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine. The leading genomics center in Scotland, and the point of origin for the XYY story explored in detail in class.
  • Edinburgh University Library Special Collections-Records of the Royal Public Dispensary of Edinburgh. The first public dispensary in Scotland dating from 1776, the dispensary reflects the convergence of medical care and charity relief that characterized the rise of state medicine in Britain in the 19th century.

Program Excursions:

Excursions are included in your total program fee and though these are optional, most students choose to participate. They vary each term based on availability, but previous excursions have included:

  • Walking Tour: This walking tour will provide an orientation to the University of Edinburgh and the city’s historical Old Town including Darwin’s Edinburgh residence and the nearby site of the old Plinian Society
  • The National Museum of Scotland. Visit Dolly the (cloned) sheep, as well as several other relevant exhibits.
  • Edinburgh Plague Sites: Explore the mass burial sites or “plague pits” dating from 1645 in the Burgh Muir and on Leith Links.
  • Royal Botanic Gardens. Founded as a physic garden to grow medicinal plants in 1670, the Royal Botanic Gardens—much like Kew Gardens outside London—played an important role in the growth of knowledge about tropical nature, botanic conservancy and tropical medicine.
  • HIV Scotland Headquarters: In the mid-1980s, Edinburgh became known as the AIDS capital of Europe. HIV Scotland played a crucial role in organizing the response to the injection-drug driven epidemic, and students will learn about the organization’s history as well as their activist work today.

Housing and Meals

Housing

Apartment/Flat

Meals

Self-Catering

Details

You will be housed in Brae House. These furnished student apartments are within walking distance to the University of Edinburgh campus. Apartments have single bedrooms with a shared bathroom, and include a common dining area and kitchen with a microwave, refrigerator, oven, and stovetop. Internet access is included. There is no meal plan. You will purchase your meals or cook for yourself. However, a welcome lunch, orientation lunch, and farewell dinner are provided.

Dates and Fees

Term

Term begins

Term ends

Program costs

Application deadline

Summer 2023

July 2, 2023

August 5, 2023

$9,211.75

February 1, 2023

Term

Summer 2023

Term begins

July 2, 2023

Term ends

August 5, 2023

Program costs

$9,211.75

Application deadline

February 1, 2023

Program Counselors

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