HP420      Half Unit
Health Economics

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Andrew Street COW 1.02


This course is available on the MSc in Health Data Science, MSc in Health Policy, Planning and Financing, MSc in International Health Policy and MSc in International Health Policy (Health Economics). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

In allocating places in this course, students enrolled in the MSc in International Health Policy and MSc in International Health Policy (Health Economics) have priority. 

Course content

This course develops basic economic concepts as they are applied to the health sector. We shall discuss economics issues at system-level, including options for financing health care, predicting future expenditure, and assessing the degree of health equity and equality. We shall consider demand for health care and for health insurance, discussing matters such as moral hazard, adverse selection and risky health behaviours. Then we shall turn to the supply-side of health care provision, considering the agency relationship between patients and physicians, the competitiveness of health care markets, the geographical configuration of health care services, and methods for paying health care providers. The course is designed to provide an intuitive understanding of a wide range of economic concepts, illustrated by practical examples.


This course will be delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars totalling a minimum 33 hours during Michaelmas Term. Workshops will be held throughout the term to enable students to work through key problem sets. Students will also take part in small group seminars.

There will be a departmental reading week in week 6 of term.

Formative coursework

Mock exam in the MT.

Indicative reading

The course draws from a variety of textbooks and articles, with a thorough reading list provided prior to the lectures. The course makes repeated use of the following textbook:

  • J Bhattacharya, T Hyde & P Tu, Health Economics, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.


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

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 39.8
Merit 52.5
Pass 6.6
Fail 1.2

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Health Policy

Total students 2020/21: 128

Average class size 2020/21: 10

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills