SA447      Half Unit
Foundations of Health Policy

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Mrigesh Bhatia


This course is available on the MSc Health Policy, Planning and Financing, MSc in Health, Population and Society, MSc in International Health Policy, MSc in International Health Policy (Health Economics), MSc in Public Management and Governance, MSc in Social Policy (Research), MSc in Social Policy and Development and MSc in Social Policy and Development: Non-Governmental Organisations. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

A comparative approach to the development of health and healthcare policies in high and low income countries, emphasising present and future policy options and problems.

The course will examine the development and implementation of health policy. Theories of planning for setting priorities in health care are discussed and the politics and economics of health policy implementation are addressed. The course will also examine the changing role of the state and the role of international organisations in improving health status and influencing the policy agenda. The course concludes by examining some of the reforms currently taking place in the health sector.


15 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the MT.

Students will participate in presenting at least one seminar paper.

Formative coursework

Students will sit a mock written exam in the last seminar.

Indicative reading

L Berkman & I Kawachi (eds), Social Epidemiology, Oxford, OUP (2000); M Marmot & R Wilkinson (eds), Social Determinants of Health, New York, OUP (1999); D Leon & G Walt (eds), Poverty, Inequality and Health: An international perspective, OUP (2001); B Amick et al., Society and Health, OUP (1995); J Le Grand Motivation, Agency and Social Policy: Of Knights and Knaves, Pawns and Queens, OUP, (2006): K Sen (ed) Restructuring Health Services, Zed Books (2003); S Bennett, B McPake and A Mills (eds) Private Health Providers in Developing Countries: Serving the Public Interest, Zed Books (1997).


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 2.9
Merit 79.1
Pass 17.3
Fail 0.7

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2015/16: 30

Average class size 2015/16: 14

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Specialist skills