School of Population Health

Program Design & Evaluation (PHCM9108)

PHCM9108 Program Design & Evaluation


This course covers techniques and tools used in the design and evaluation of health programs and projects. Program planning, needs assessment, program logic and logic models and intervention design will be covered in project/program design with an emphasis on public health interventions. Approaches to program evaluation will be used to teach techniques for program monitoring and evaluation. This includes use of Log Frames for process and impact evaluation. Case studies from both developed and developing countries will be used as teaching material.

Credit points

This course is an elective course in the postgraduate programs in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, comprising six units of credit towards the total required for completion of the study program.

Pre-requisites: There are no pre-requisites for this course. However, it is expected that you have completed studies in foundations in public health, epidemiology & statistics and health promotion/health behaviour, or are concurrently doing those subjects. Therefore, typically, this course will be most beneficial for those who have already undertaken the core courses in the Master of Public Health.

Mode of study

External (Distance) and Internal (Face-to-Face) classes on campus.

Course aim

The overall aim of this course is to provide the concepts and critical skills to design and implement a health program or project and develop an evaluation plan.

Course Outcomes
The outcomes for this course are to enable you to:
  • Define and describe the steps in planning and implementing a health program/project
  • Discuss the use of program logic in designing health interventions and evaluations
  • Explain the use of and demonstrate appropriate tools and techniques for planning public health programs
  • Select and use appropriate tools and techniques for project implementation
  • Describe and discuss the role and purposes of evaluation for health programs/projects
  • Determine appropriate evaluation questions and designs for conducting program evaluation
  • Critically appraise evaluations of public programs
Learning and teaching rationale

Most students accepted for Masters level courses in this school have prior learning (at undergraduate and other levels) as well as exposure to work in organizational settings, preferably in the health sector.  There is some assumption of this prior knowledge; however the course will provide direction for further learning and readings, in areas that you have limited exposure. Some of you will have actual experience in program planning, implementation and evaluation. This course has been designed to take into account the wealth of experience that you bring with you and will enable you to place your prior learning in perspective of the broader disciplines of program planning and program evaluation by exposing you to the wider literature in the field.  

Our approach to learning and teaching is based on adult learning principles. When you are introduced to new material it is expected that as postgraduate students you will be able to integrate prior knowledge, draw on your own experience and formulate new understandings at a theoretical and practical level. It is expected that you will engage actively with the course material and draw on the available resources, and your own experiences in health to contribute to discussions and scholarly debate. You are encouraged to develop and demonstrate your critical analytical skills to reflect on what you are reading and discussing across the breadth of topics.

Teaching Strategies

As all students are studying remotely this term, you are advised to read the course notes and readings each week. As there is no compulsory text, the notes and readings provide you the content and concepts covered in the course. Each week there will be a set of tutorial activities.


Assessment Task 1 - Individual report - Program design developing a Logic Model and Program Plan
Weighting: 50%
Length: 2200-2500 words

Assessment Task 2 - Individual report - Program Evaluation. A written response to allocated questions and contribution to forum discussions
Weighting: 35%
Length: 1200-1400 words

Assessment Task 3 - Class participation
Weighting: 15%

Readings and resources

Learning resources for this course consist of the following:

  • Course notes and readings (available in Moodle)
  • Lecture recordings (available in Moodle)
  • Supplementary resources such as videos, podcasts (available in Moodle)
  • Each week’s learning material includes selected reading material.  This includes chapters from the prescribed and recommended texts. 
Recommended resources

Dwyer, J, Liang, Z., Thiessen, V and Martini, A (2019) Project Management in Health and Community Services, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 3rd  Edition.

Nutbeam, D and Bauman, A (2014) Evaluation in a nutshell: A practical guide to the evaluation of health promotion programs, McGraw Hill, Sydney. [A very concise pocket book]

Funnell, S.C. and Rogers, P.J. (2011) Purposeful Program Theory: Education and Promotion: effective use of theories of change and logic models. First edition, San Francisco, Jossey-Bass.

Owen, J .M (2006) Evaluation forms and approaches in Program evaluation: forms and approaches, 3rd edition, Allen and Unwin, Sydney. [A must read book for program evaluation specialists]