This course is designed to provide a sound foundation for study and work practice in global health. The intensive learning experience is based on realistic scenarios of health and development issues and challenges commonly experienced in resource-poor countries and in global health settings. Successful completion of this course will require application of pertinent knowledge, practice of skills and reflection on professional practice. It constitutes a core course for students who wish to undertake the Master of Global Health.

This is a PLuS Alliance course offered through UNSW. Students at UNSW, Arizona State University and King's College London who are in a PLuS Alliance program can also enrol into this course.

This course is the core course for the Master of Global Health Program, comprising 6 units of credit, and is also an elective course in the Master of Public Health, Master of Health Leadership and Management, and Master of Infectious Diseases Intelligence programs. It is open to students doing other postgraduate programs at UNSW or studying at other institutions by arrangement.

Mode of study

Face-to-face classes on-campus for Internal students & fully online for Distance External students

Who should do this course?

We welcome students from any discipline and level of experience to contribute perspectives and understandings. In addition, we encourage you to engage with the material, ask questions, discuss relevant issues with teachers and colleagues, and regard the available literature with a critical eye.

Course outcomes

This course aims to provide students with an insight into the realities and challenges of current major global health and development issues, including an overview of the contemporary approaches and strategies being used to address these issues. The course aims to equip students with the ability to analyse and critically appraise global health and development literature in order to determine the effectiveness of approaches and strategies to address current issues at community, national and global levels using real case scenarios and examples.

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • outline patterns and trends in the global burden of disease and the particular health problems faced in resource constrained settings
  • identify and critically analyse key indicators and processes used in assessing health problems and services in resource-constrained settings, and consider these issues in interpreting and comparing health status in two or more countries
  • critically review health system and policy responses at a national and global level to a range of major health problems confronting resource-constrained settings
  • discuss and critically analyse core concepts and debates in international and global health and development
  • demonstrate understanding of the social, economic and political determinants of health at local, regional and global levels.

Learning & teaching

The course has been designed so that you can gain a breadth of understanding across the complex and dynamic field of global health and development. While it is introductory, it covers several topics in-depth and there is an expectation that you will engage at postgraduate level to explore areas of interest and relevance to your own settings. You will have the opportunity to hear from a range of academics with particular areas of expertise in the field.  


Assessment Task 1 – Online quiz
Weighting:  20%
Length: 20 questions

Assessment Task 2 – Data-oriented essay
Weighting: 30%
Length: 2000 words

Assessment Task 3 – Critical appraisal essay
Weighting: 50%
Length: 2500 words

Readings & resources 

Learning resources for this course consist of the following:

  • materials provided throughout the course
  • reading material in course notes and reader
  • guest lectures posted online in UNSW Moodle.