Global Health: Science, Politics and Development

  • Summer schools
  • Department of International Development
  • Application code SS-IR218
  • Starting 2020
  • Short course: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

UPDATE: Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic we will no longer be offering this course in summer 2020. Please check our latest news on this situation here.  

You can still register your interest in this course for 2021 using the ‘Sign up’ button to the right.  

The course will provide an up-to-date and comprehensive introduction to global health and politics in low income countries. The course examines the main determinants of health issues as they relate to development and their principal consequences, policies (and their politics) to improve health and development; barriers to implementing those policies; and identifying ways of overcoming those barriers. The course will analyse the politics of the burden of disease including non-communicable and communicable diseases. The impact of conflict, climate change and migration on health will be considered. The course will engage in critical discussion of health-focused targets and international indicators such as the Sustainable Development Goals and universal health coverage.

Drawing on disciplines such as political science, health policy, demography, sociology and economics, this course argues for the need to improve global health equity for development. It will equip students with the skills needed to work in and help to improve mainstream global health organisations such as WHO, WB, Gates Foundation and MSF among others. The course is political in that it adopts a set of normative values such as equality, social justice and human rights which challenge the neoliberal underpinnings of some global health policy and practice.

Session: Three
Dates: 3 August – 21 August 2020
Lecturer: Dr Tiziana Leone and Professor Ken Shadlen


Programme details

Key facts

Level: 200 level. Read more information on levels in our FAQs

Fees: Please see Fees and payments

Lectures: 36 hours

Classes: 18 hours

Assessment*: One 1,500 word essay (worth 25% of the final grade), and one final exam on the last Friday of the third week (worth 75% of the final grade).

 Typical credit**: 3-4 credits (US) 7.5 ECTS points (EU)

*Assessment is optional

**You will need to check with your home institution

More information on exams and credit


At least one introductory course in either social science (e.g. political science, international relations, sociology, economics), history or law.

Programme structure

Specific topics include:

  • Health and development: how they interact
  • The global burden of disease
  • The relevance of measurement in global health
  • Politics of communicable diseases
  • Politics of non-communicable diseases
  • Pharmaceuticals, governance and development
  • International health goals
  • Universal health coverage targets
  • International aid in health
  • Migration, health and poverty
  • Crisis, conflict, environment and health

Course outcomes

This course will equip students with general knowledge and skills to critically reflect on health and healthcare in low income settings and apply this knowledge with supported practical experience within an international capacity. By the end of the course students will have an overall understanding of:

  • The politics of global health
  • The mechanisms of prioritization of diseases in global health
  • The current debates on the major issues surrounding health systems and health politics.


LSE’s Department of International Development promotes interdisciplinary postgraduate teaching and research on processes of social, political and economic development and change. The department is dedicated to understanding problems of poverty and late development within local communities, as well as national and international political and economic systems.   

Research and teaching in the department is concerned with the causes of poverty, social exclusion, economic stagnation, humanitarian crises and human security. Their aim is to provide students with an understanding of why and how some late developing countries have succeeded in overcoming these problems while others have not or have seen their progress derailed by disasters and conflicts. There are also research units that operate through the department. Faculty have considerable experience in living and working in the developing world and most have engaged in policy-relevant research and consultancy work with international development agencies or non-governmental organisations.             

On this three-week intensive programme, you will engage with and learn from full-time lecturers from the LSE’s international development faculty.

Reading materials

Suggested readings:

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How to Apply

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