Students will be introduced to the common and overlapping skills and features of effective health leadership within public health agency settings requiring coordinated system-wide action through to health care management in more clinically focused patient delivery settings. Topics include management and leadership theories and models; systems perspectives and strategic thinking; influence, power and leading change; managing interprofessional teams and motivating staff; conflict management and improving health worker performance.

This is a core course in the Bachelor of International Public Health (3880) comprising 6 units of credit towards the total required for completion of the study program.

Mode of study

Fully online

Key contact

A/Prof Chinthaka Balasooriya
Course Convenor
+61 (2) 9385 1943

Who should do this course?

Students of the Bachelor of International Public Health (3880) should take this course.

Course outcomes

On successfully completing this course you will be able to:

  • Outline a range of key issues in public health that are shaping approaches to leadership at local and international levels.  
  • Identify and justify the application of particular health leadership approaches for effectively managing others at the individual, team and organisational level in public health settings.   
  • Demonstrate understanding of leading change to support improving population health outcomes that can range from organisational improvement to large scale advocacy.
  • Analyse and propose solutions to public health issues and challenges drawing on systems thinking, teamwork and leadership capabilities.
  • Reflect on your own health leadership capabilities, assumptions, standpoints and preferences for effective performance in becoming a public health leader.

Learning & teaching

The course has been designed to support you in gaining understanding of key concepts and attributes related to health leadership from a global public health perspective and their application through a set of diverse, rich case study examples. It is expected that each week you will participate online by engaging with the week’s lecture resources, readings and multimedia as well as actively contributing to your own reflective blog and the online discussions.

We've designed the course to move from focusing on key capabilities needed for leading self, to leading others to leading organisations and systems within public health settings. Being able to lead effectively is challenging and complex and rarely is there any one right way whether working on local or international public health contexts. The approach here is that public health leaders need to be flexible, understand the critical capabilities, theories and approaches that can be applied given the specific issues and context they are working within. There are no set formulas, absolute answers or perfect solutions with public health leadership but rather the application of theory, leadership capabilities and judgement. This Year 2 course in the Bachelor of International Public Health expects high levels critical thinking and application of concepts in its learning approach.

The course is delivered over a ten-week term, and each week is composed of one module of learning. You are expected to spend approximately 12 hours a week actively participating in this course by engaging with the online lessons, resources and preparing for and completing assessments through UNSW Moodle.


Assessment Task 1 - Online Activities
Length: Four online activities across the term
Weighting: 20%

Assessment Task 2 - Reflective Blog
Length: 350 – 400 words x 5 postings
Weighting: 20%

Assessment Task 3 - Discussion Forum Participation
Length: Approximately 250 words each forum x 4 discussion forums across the term
Weighting: 20%

Assessment Task 4 - Health Leadership Report
Length: 1500 words
Weighting: 40%

Readings & resources 

Learning resources for this course consist of the following:

  • Lesson recordings and transcripts.
  • Weekly lists of readings and viewings. These include “Required readings and viewings” which you will need to engage with to complete course activities and achieve course outcomes, and supplementary resources that are provided to enable you to learn more about the content covered each week.