Centre for Philosophy, Justice and Health

MA course: Philosophy, Politics and Economics of Health


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For enquiries about the MA contact James Wilson, Course Director.

Hardly a week goes by in the UK without some new controversy regarding the distribution of health resources. Phrases like ‘postcode lottery’, and the notion of a QALY, or quality adjusted life year, are part of everyday discussion of health resource allocation. Questions about the pros and cons of privatising elements of service provision are hugely controversial and raise strong passions. There are all questions and issues in the Philosophy, Politics and Economics of Health.

The programme aims to equip students to play an informed role in debates concerning distributive justice and health. It will explore the central ethical, economic and political problems facing health policy in the UK and abroad, especially in relation to social justice. Hence the course will cover relevant areas of moral and political theory, economics, and political and historical analysis, to allow students to come to a wide understanding of background issues, history and constraints, in order to be able to make a positive contribution to current debates.

The course will be of interest to those wishing to specialise in this area, with a background in medicine, in social science or philosophy. It will also be of interest to those already working in the health service, whether in a managerial, policy or medical role. The course is available in full-time, part-time and flexible study.

For comments from students on the course click here.

Programme Structure

The programme is composed of courses to a value of 180 units. All students must take:

  • Dissertation (60 credits)
  • Core Module: Philosophy Politics and Economics of Health (15 credits)
  • Health Policy and Reform (15 credits)
  • Cost-benefit Analysis and Health (15 credits)

Plus courses to a further value of 75 credits, from a range of approved options in Philosophy, Political Science, Economics, Epidemiology, Science and Technology Studies and Medicine. Examples of approved courses include: 

  • PHILGA27    Applied Ethics (15 Credits)
  • HMEDG015  Brains, Nerves and Human Nature in the Modern Era (15 credits)
  • PUBLGL14   Comparative Human Rights Law (15 Credits)
  • PUBLGL08   Contemporary Political Philosophy 1 and 2 (15 credits each)
  • HMEDG010  Early Modern English Medicine (15 Credits)
  • CIHDG039   Global Health and Development (15 Credits)
  • PHILGA04    Global Justice and Health (15 credits)
  • HMEDG002  Historiography of Medicine (15 credits)
  • HPSCGA13  Ideas of Health and Sickness in Industrial Society (30 credits)
  • HPSCGA17  Introduction to Philosophy of Science (30 credits)
  • HMEDG009  Madness and Society (available as 15 or 30 credits)
  • HMEDG011  Medicine and Society  (30 credits)
  • HMEDG008  Medicine in Literature (15 credits)
  • PUBLG037   Public Ethics (15 credits)
  • HPSCGA19  Science, Governance and the Public (30 credits)
  • HMEDCG14 Translational Clinical Science (15 credits)

Teaching staff on the core and optional modules include:

For further details, please contact Dr James Wilson.