Health impact assessment is a structured process by which the impacts of policies, programs or projects on health can be assessed. This course will cover the process of health impact assessment, its theoretical background, history and applications. Students will have an opportunity to gain practical experience by undertaking steps of health impact assessment. 

This course is an elective course of the Master of Public Health and Master of Health Leadership and Management programs, comprising 6 units of credit towards the total required for completion of the study program. There are no pre-requisites for this course.

Mode of study

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

Key contact

Who should do this course?

This course is suitable for students who wish to gain a basic grounding in health impact assessment, with opportunities for more detailed investigation of specific concepts.

Course outcomes

Using HIA terms and concepts, you should be able to:

  • explain HIA’s process and possible applications
  • describe HIA’s roles in improving health and health equity in populations
  • critically evaluate completed HIAs and HIA concepts and principles
  • reflect on how HIA relates to your knowledge and experience of public health practice
  • apply knowledge gained in the course to undertake the screening and scoping steps of an HIA
  • distinguish situations where HIA could/should be used and where it should not.

Learning & teaching

This course has been designed with HIA practice in mind.  As such the learning activities that have been developed link to, and reflect on, HIA practice. The structure of the course reflects this involving using a case study as the basis for students to experience and explore the HIA process. The assignments also allow for students to use the knowledge gained in the course and apply that to an area of professional or personal interest.

The course comprises of a mix of lectures, readings and online discussions. You will be expected to participate in online discussions. There are two assessments where you are expected to reflect on what you have learnt and apply that to key aspects of HIA practice and theory.


Assessment Task 1 – Online forum
Weighting: 40%

Assessment Task 2 – Critical appraisal of a Health Impact Assessment
Weighting: 50%
Length: 3000 words

Assessment Task 3 – Participation in workshop activities (internal mode) or online activities (external mode)
Weighting: 10%

Readings & resources 

Learning resources for this course consist of:

  • lectures posted in Moodle
  • course notes with readings included in each section
  • links to HIA online resources via UNSW Moodle.