School of Population Health

Global Health and Development (PHCM9605)

image - International Health


This course is designed to provide a sound foundation for study and work practice in global health. The intensive learning experience is based on realistic scenarios of health and development issues and challenges commonly experienced in resource poor countries and in global health settings. Successful completion of this course will require application of pertinent knowledge, practice of skills and reflection on professional practice. It constitutes a core course for students who wish to undertake the Master of Global Health.

This is a PLuS Alliance course offered through UNSW. Students at UNSW, Arizona State University and King's College London who are in a PLuS Alliance program can also enrol into this course.

Credit points

This course is the core course for the Master of Global Health, comprising 6 units of credit, and is also an elective course in the Master of Public Health program. It seeks to draw on the experiences of course participants: its success depends on your active participation. We look forward to meeting you face-to-face and online.

Mode of study

This course is offered in two modes: 1) either face-to-face classes on-campus for Internal students, and 2) fully online for Distance External students.

Course aim

This course aims to provide:

  • An understanding of current major global health and development issues
  • An overview of the contemporary strategies and approaches being used  to address global health challenges
  • A critical overview of current debates in the field of international and global health.
Course Outcomes

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Outline patterns and trends in the global burden of disease and the particular health problems faced in resource constrained settings.
  • Identify and critically analyse key indicators and processes used in assessing health problems and services in resource constrained settings and consider these issues in interpreting and comparing health status in two or more countries.  
  • Critically review health system and policy responses at a national and global level to a range of major health problems confronting resource-constrained settings.
  • Discuss and critically analyse core concepts and debates in international and global health and development.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the social, economic and political determinants of health at a local, regional and global level.
Learning and teaching rationale

The course has been designed so that you can gain a breadth of understanding across the complex and dynamic field of global and international health.  While it is introductory, it covers a number of topics in-depth and there is an expectation that you will engage at postgraduate level to explore areas of interest and relevance to your own settings. You will have the opportunity to hear from a range of academics with particular areas of expertise in the field.  All lectures will be recorded and provided for students online through the Moodle course website.


Assessment Task 1 - Assessing health and development status
Weighting:  30%
Length: 2000 words

Assessment Task 2 - Discussion paper
Weighting: 50%
Length: 2500 words

Assessment Task 3 - The Reading Game
Weighting: 20%

Readings and resources
Learning resources for this course consist of the following:
  1. Materials provided throughout course
  2. Reading material in course notes and reader
  3. Guest lectures posted online in UNSW Moodle
Recommended resources

There is no required textbook. However, Sara Davies’ Global Politics of Health (Polity Press, Cambridge 2010) is highly recommended and will help guide you through many of the issues raised when broader issues of politics and development are discussed.

The textbook Global Health: Diseases, Programs, Systems and Policies 3rd Edition; Merson, Black and Mills (Eds.); Jones and Bartlett 2012, may be of value and is a recommended source.  It is available through the library.