The course will enable students to examine contemporary social and cultural perspectives on health, healthcare and on people’s everyday lived experience of health and illness, and explore the role of health promotion in addressing a range of contemporary public health problems. Current global health issues and their relevance to health promotion and the field of public health are examined through analysis and application of best practice principles including assessment for effectiveness. The course moves students beyond the traditional silo approaches to health promotion that address risk factors and disease models. It focuses on social determinants and a multi-sectoral approach to promoting health through research, practice, policy and advocacy.

Mode of study

External (Distance) and Internal (Face-to-Face) classes on campus

Key contacts

A/Prof Niamh Stephenson
Course Convenor
+61 (2) 9385 1281

Dr Husna Razee
Course Convenor
+61 (2) 9385 8317

Who should do this course?

This course is a core course of the Master of Public Health (MPH) and Master of Global Health (MGH) programs, comprising 6 units of credit towards the total required for completion of the study program.

Course outcomes

The aims of this course are to enable students to gain an understanding of different social and cultural perspectives on the meaning of health, develop core knowledge of health promotion including its foundation theories, principles and concepts, and critically evaluate a range of health promotion strategies seeking to address a number of contemporary public health problems.

On successful completion of this course you will be able to:

  • examine contemporary social perspectives on health and their implicit or explicit use in public health and health promotion
  • distinguish between and critically evaluate individualistic and social assumptions employed in public health research and practice
  • critically appraise the scope for health promotion action in regards to the determinants of health
  • appreciate the Ottawa Charter as an organising framework for health promotion action
  • examine current global issues and their relevance across the span of the health promotion profession
  • identify and critically review the conceptual underpinnings and main characteristics of some common health promotion strategies, and determine the advantages and disadvantages of each
  • analyse the main issues involved in planning, implementation and evaluation of health promotion and determine best practice.

Learning & teaching

Health promotion is a vast and diverse field of practice. The same is true of social research into health. Both involve analysis and assessment of individual and group behaviour as well as social and cultural practices. Health promotion practice may range from teaching and program design to research, policy and application of theory in practice. The scale can be individual, local, regional or span national divides. The course notes and included readings are extensive, as we aim to provide you with a variety of experiences from which to learn. The richness of these fields is largely inspired by those within them and your coursework will be equally enriched through active participation.


Assessment Task 1 – Readings quiz
Length: 20 Questions
Weighting: 20%

Assessment Task 2 – Critical analysis of one health promotion initiative
Length: 1500 words
Weighting: 40%

Assessment Task 3 – Critical summary
Length: 1200 words
Weighting: 40%

Readings & resources 

Learning resources for this course consist of the following, available in Moodle:

  • course notes and readings
  • lecture slides and recordings
  • supplementary resources such as videos and podcasts.