HP401      Half Unit
Foundations of Health Policy

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Mrigesh Bhatia and Dr Justin Parkhurst

Dr Bhatia is on Sabbatical for the 2017-18 academic year.


This course is available on the MSc Health Policy, Planning and Financing, MSc in Global Health, MSc in Global Population Health, MSc in International Health Policy, MSc in International Health Policy (Health Economics), 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 the goals of health policymaking, present and future policy problems, public health approaches, the political nature of health policy issues, and core concepts from policy studies that can be used to analyse health policy examples.

The course will introduce concept of risk and risk reducing strategies, theories of planning, and priority setting techniques in health care. In addition, the course will examine the processes shaping the development and implementation of health policy, utilising concepts and theories from policy studies that help to understand health decision making, and processes of policy change. The course will examine the role of the state and other policy stakeholders (e.g. NGOs, international organisations, etc.) in improving health status and influencing the policy agenda or outcomes.


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

Students will participate in presenting at least one seminar presentation.

Formative coursework

Students will have the option to produce an outline of their term essay for feedback before submission.

Students will sit a mock written exam in the last week of term.

Indicative reading

Green, A., An Introduction to Health Planning for Developing Health Systems, new edn, OUP, 2007.

Walt, Gill. 1994. Health policy: an introduction to process and power. London: Zed Books.

Hill, M. The Policy Process, a reader, second ed. Harlow: Prentice Hall 1997

Buse, Kent, Nick Mays, and Gill Walt. 2012. Making Health Policy. Maidenhead, Berkshire: Open University Press.

D Leon & G Walt (eds), Poverty, Inequality and Health: An international perspective, OUP (2001); B Amick et al., Society and Health, OUP (1995);

Parkhurst, J. The politics of evidence: from evidence based policy to the good governance of evidence. London Routledge 2016.


Exam (60%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (40%, 2500 words) in the MT.

Key facts

Department: Health Policy

Total students 2016/17: Unavailable

Average class size 2016/17: Unavailable

Controlled access 2016/17: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 100%



Reading list (Q2.1)


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Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


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