School of Population Health

Inequalities and Health (PHCM9626)

PHCM9626 course


There has been increasing evidence to support the argument that differences in health and opportunities for good health are strongly determined by the inequities in social and structural factors in society. The overall aim of this course is to introduce you to major conceptual and practical issues in understanding and addressing health inequalities in western industrialised countries. Specific topics explored will include the patterns of health inequity, the political and structural causes of inequities, and actions to address health inequities presented through case studies of effective interventions.

Credit points

This course is an elective course of the Master of Public Health Program, comprising six units of credit towards the total required for completion of the study program.


Whilst there are no prerequisites for this course, prior completion of core courses including epidemiology and health promotion is recommended.

Mode of study

This course is offered Externally (fully online).

Course aim

The aims of this course are to describe inequalities in health, identify determinants of inequalities and inequities in health, and explore actions to reduce or eliminate inequities in health.

Course Outcomes
By the end of the course you should be able to:
  • Define and discuss key concepts of equity, inequality and related terms, common patterns of health inequality and ways that inequalities are measured.
  • Identify and describe common theoretical frameworks to explain health inequalities and apply these to explain an identified pattern of health inequality.
  • Describe common approaches to addressing health inequality.
  • Distinguish between actions that have been taken to reduce inequality, actions that have been taken to reduce health harms associated with inequality, actions that have been taken to prevent health inequality from arising in the future.
  • Understand patterns of health inequality and their causes and apply these understandings to planning and implementing an action to reduce inequality or to influence its determinants..
Learning and teaching rationale

Learning activities, which include the use of case studies and online student discussions, have been designed to engage students in the learning process, encourage active and self-directed learning and provides opportunities for students to debate key issues in immunisation. Postgraduate teaching aims to support students in developing their capacity for inquiry and critical thinking. In this course, an active learning approach is encouraged through strategies which include interactive instruction, self-directed learning, experience-based learning and peer-learning.


Assessment Task 1
Weighting: 50%
Length: 2500 words

Assessment Task 2
Weighting: 50%
Length: 3000 words

Readings and resources

Learning resources for this course all available in Moodle consist of the following:

  • Lectures posted in Moodle
  • An electronic copy of the course notes with links to Readings will also be available on Moodle
  • A number of resources and references relevant to this course can be found at the Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity website