The History of Medicine - from Cowpox to Cholorform

Ref: C2341702

The course will explore key individuals whose advances and commitment revolutionised our understanding of disease and surgery. Edward Jenner’s battle against smallpox and development of the first vaccine. Pasteur and Koch’s work on the germ theory of disease. John Snow’s successful campaign to stop the spread of cholera and the wider battle to improve Public Health. The immense contribution of Simpson, Lister and Landsteiner in overcoming the problems of pain, infection and blood loss during surgery. The course will also consider the inspirational story of Elizabeth Garrett in becoming the first female doctor and conclude with an evaluation of the contribution of Florence Nightingale.

Course aim

To study key turning points in the History of Medicine from the first vaccine to major advances in surgery. From cowpox to chloroform.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • The course is suitable for anyone with an interest in the History of Medicine.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Explore key individuals who contributed to significant progress in medicine.
  • Identify key factors that have caused major changes in medicine.
  • Discuss ideas with other students and challenge assumptions about progress.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full course information sheet

The History of Medicine - from Cowpox to Cholorform


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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