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University of Leeds

Causes of Human Disease: Understanding Causes of Disease

University of Leeds via FutureLearn


Discover epidemiology: the study of diseases.

What causes human disease? Why do some people get a disease but others don’t? Through this course, you’ll learn how epidemiologists are helping to find answers to these complex questions and how the health of a population is measured and analysed. By looking at stimulating case studies, you’ll explore how the social determinants of health contribute to human disease and how health inequalities exist. You will then look at health inequalities across the globe and investigate how and why different socioeconomic factors determine human health.

The course is suitable for anyone with a general interest in the science behind causes of human disease. No previous knowledge or experience is required. If you are working in nursing, healthcare or social care, or just wish to learn more, this course is designed to support you as a professional. By completing all aspects of the course you will have achieved 14 hours of CPD time.


  • Principles of population health
    • Welcome
    • Understanding human populations
    • Measuring health
    • Analysing the risk factors
    • Revision
    • Summary
  • Social determinants of health
    • About Week 2
    • Social determinants of health
    • Life course approach
    • Global health
    • Revision
    • Summary

Taught by

Tracey Farragher


4.9 rating, based on 14 Class Central reviews

4.6 rating at FutureLearn based on 40 ratings

Start your review of Causes of Human Disease: Understanding Causes of Disease

  • An eye-opening class and the experience -- valuable to shape the direction of future learning. A very good introduction to understanding the causes of human diseases through the lens of epidemiology and population-based studies. It is part of the s…
  • It was a great course.
    really enjoyed it..
    Best for undergraduates that would really love to persuit a carreer in medical epidemiology
  • Anonymous
    As a 20 year retired doctor , self isolating, this is the 3rd Future Learn course I have taken during lock down to try and keep my brain cells active! I found the course very interesting and learnt a lot about epidemiology, a subject which did not…
  • Anonymous
    I have found this course very interesting and informative and would recommend it to anyone interested in how diseases are identified, recorded for research by scientist. It provides lots of data and an explanation of how epidemiologist work to find answers on how to deal with diseases. Such as smoking and lung cancer, diabetes and diarrhoea. If you are sitting at home during the current pandemic, spend some time looking at the courses currently being run by Future Learn. I am sure you will find it interesting and help you to understand some of the things being discussed about Coronavirus. The courses that I have done have been free, but if you want a certificate the courses can be paid for with certification at the end.
  • Anonymous
    Found the course very interesting and understandable; it helped me with the family's health issues and how to deal with them and treat them.
  • Anonymous
    I enjoyed this course. Good content, clearly presented with lots of work for students.
    Before I started, I had not appreciated the technical level, and found it too advanced for my (dilettante-ish) interest.
    My fault I know and no criticism of the course.
  • Anonymous
    Really enjoyed this course and found it quite challenging. I thought it was really well put together with just the right balance of videos, articles and exercises to apply your knowledge. Some of the statistics regarding global disease are quite disturbing.
  • Anonymous
    it's really so beautiful course
    you can understand the fact of cause of disease, you can also learn how to write report and doing assingment .
  • Anonymous
    It's a great course, I wish I had found it earlier. Great materials, educators feedback is understandable.
  • Anonymous
    A very well put-together course. As a retired lecturer in health-related subjects, I found it a very good way to keep up-to-date. It had an interesting mix of articles, videos, exercises, research and so on to keep attention and challenge views. Having comments from a variety of people sharing their experiences from all over the world was useful and informative.
    Along with other FL courses I have studied (including COVID-19, microbiology, zoonoses, science of medicines), I think I have used my time during lockdown to full advantage and will probably continue to learn in this way.
    The University of Leeds are to be congratulated for developing and presenting a very good course.
  • Anonymous
    Excellent course, very interesting but requires a lot of input and self directed learning . I am still trying to catch up as I had unexpected surgery on my knee last week. The elective surgery had been cancelled due to Covid 19 therefore, I was surprised to find out that it had been rescheduled so quickly.
    The mini tests and assignments are good for checking what you have learned and understood although for some people especially those whose first language is a not English, this might be a bit of a struggle.
    Overall, great learning experience!
  • Anonymous
    Thoroughly enjoyable course from which I gained a significant amount of knowledge and information over a short period of time and can highly recommend it to anyone contemplating on enrolling.
  • Anonymous
    A really relaxed and interesting course. I really enjoyed the chance to do my own research, learning about a variety of currently important diseases such as cancer. Highly recommend.
  • Anonymous
    Causes of human disese it have provided me with more information about disese in detail and with the help of videos and pdf it was good experience to learn.

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