UCL Grand Challenge of Global Health



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Optional Modules

Students on the MSc and PGDip programmes will have the opportunity to tailor their course to suit their needs, by selecting four optional modules in Terms 2 and 3. There are 25 optional modules to choose from.

Anthropological Perspectives on Global Health

Medical anthropology exists in a creative tension between the positivism of biomedicine and the more interpretative perspectives of social anthropology. This module will introduce you to medical anthropology through a survey of classical and current issues, concepts and topics, with this tension as a central thread. The general aims of the course are to link illness experience with socio-political factors and to understand cultural influences on health and sickness in a variety of contexts around the world.

Dr Audrey Prost and Dr. Rodney Reynolds
UCL Institute for Global Health

Children in Difficult Circumstances

Children in difficult circumstances include street children, children exploited through labour, children exposed to violence and sexual abuse, disabled children, orphans and children with HIV. This module introduces the problems facing these children both in the UK and around the world. It examines the underlying causes and explores some of the potential solutions.

Professor Therese Hesketh
UCL Institute for Global Health

Child Development: Inclusive Approaches in Global Contexts

The module aims to reflect on the lives of and services for children across cultures and context, with a particular emphasis on disabled children. It takes the principle of inclusion as being key to the consideration of disabled children as children first and their particular needs in relation to their impairment second. We will consider different models of service provision in early child development, health and education to look at ways in which all children living in very diverse contexts, can be given the best life chances. The emphasis will be on lifespan and rights based approaches and on cross cultural and international examples of research and practice in childhood and disability studies.

Mary Wickenden
UCL Institute for Global Health

Climate Change and Health

This module will explain the global causes and health, economic and environmental impacts of climate change. It will examine the anticipated impact on the availability of food, water and shelter and likely results in terms of poverty, health inequality and human migration. You will also debate possible strategies for both mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and the barriers to these.

Professor Anthony Costello
UCL Institute for Global Health

Professor Hugh Montgomery
UCL Medicine

Clinical Aspects of HIV Disease

This module aims to develop clinical skills relevant to the management of patients with HIV infection.

By the end of this module students should:

· Be able to recognise the presenting symptoms and physical signs of HIV related clinical disease including opportunistic infections and tumours.Be able to instigate appropriate investigations for diagnosis of HIV related clinical disease including opportunistic infections and tumours.

· To have an understanding of the management of patients with HIV related clinical disease including opportunistic infections and tumours.

· Be able to monitor HIV disease progression and initiate and manage therapy with antiretroviral drugs

· To have an understanding of the presentation and management of anti-retroviral therapy associated drug toxicity and treatment failure.

· Be able to communicate effectively with patients

Clinical Knowledge and Decision Making

The module addresses how decisions are made in healthcare, why decision-making goes wrong and how technology can help improve the process in various measures. The forms of healthcare knowledge - know-how, skills and data - are defined and types and sources of knowledge explained. 

Clinical knowledge needs are discussed, including the role of knowledge in support decision-making and empirical studies of knowledge needs and knowledge use. The module also explores the different paradigms of computer-based decision support systems, discussing their advantages and pitfalls. 

Dr. Dionisio Acosta

(UCL Centre for Health Informatics and Multiprofessional Education) 

Conflict, Humanitarianism and Health

The conflict, humanitarianism and health module examines the causes of violent conflict and its effects on health. It discusses key policy issues in contemporary humanitarianism and assesses the effectiveness of humanitarian interventions and organisations. Students will also engage with particular topics related to these areas, including the policy responses to migration in conflict situations and the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions and reconciliation initiatives in divided societies.

Dr Maria Kett
(Leonard Cheshire Disability & Inclusive Development Centre,  UCL)

Collecting and Using Data: Essentials of Quantitative Survey Research

This module equips students with the concepts  and skills required to design and conduct surveys for diverse population groups and to critically evaluate surveys carrried out by others. This course covers areas of survey methodology including data collection, sampling, questionnaire design and using computers to analyse data. The course emphasises practical learning and focuses on real life experiences and application.

Dr Zelee Hill
(UCL Institute for Global Health)

Corruption and Global Health

This module will look into the relationship between global health and corruption. Corruption is an issue that is frequently cited as a block to development and a creator of inequality, and is often understood in this way: as an undifferentiated negative influence. However, corruption is an extremely complicated concept, which differs according to context and the characteristics of the protagonists. This module will examine corruption and its relationship to global health using literature from a variety of disciplines, including anthropology, political science, epidemiology and sociology. By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • Understand different meanings of the term ‘corruption’ and its politically loaded nature
  • Analyse different types of corrupt practice, their effects and position with regard to both internally and externally-generated moral discourses
  • Understand and analyse corruption in a variety of different geographical and sectoral contexts
  • Understand and analyse different policies to measure and address corruption, and their real and likely impacts

Dr. Chris Willott

(UCL Institute for Global Health) 

Disability and Development

The aim of this module is to introduce and explore historical and contemporary concepts and models of disability, and to discuss links with major issues in community development (eg health and illness, gender, education, poverty, social exclusion).  It will present international legislation in relation to disability and consider the cultural and sociopolitical contexts in which this has developed, and reflect on ways in which the lives of disabled people and their families might be improved.  Examples will be drawn from a range of types of communities and diverse cultural settings globally, but with an emphasis on low- and middle-income countries.  You are encouraged to draw on your own cultural experiences in considering disability policy and practice.

Mary Wickenden
UCL Institute for Global Health 

Economic Evaluation in Healthcare

(Students must take Key principles of health economics as a pre-requisite).

This course covers cost-effectiveness, cost-benefit and cost-utility analyses. Students will be guided through theoretical and practical considerations on the measurement of costs and benefits in health care, and conducting simple analyses by the end of the course. Students will also engage with the policy implications of using economic evaluation for decision making in healthcare. The course is delivered through lectures, tutorials, computer-based exercises and independent reading.

Dr Jolene Skordis-Worrall
UCL Institute for Global Health 

Ethnicity, Migration and Health

This module will provide you with an introduction to the different concepts of ethnicity and the association between ethnicity and physical and mental health outcomes. In the process, you will be exposed to debates on race, mechanisms that can explain ethnic differences in health, as well as the role health services play, the health experiences of migrants, and cultural aspects of the migrant and ethnic minority experience.

Dr. Laura Marlow

(UCL Epidemiology & Public Health)

Evaluating Interventions

This module will cover the main theories and methods of evaluating health and development interventions.  The simple question of whether an intervention ‘works’ or not will be expanded to: for whom does it work? when and where? how? and why?The complexity of real world intervention implementation will be explored.  Building on core concepts of scientific research, study design and critical appraisal taught in the core modules, students will learn how to choose appropriate methods of monitoring and evaluation.  Students will gain an understanding of cutting-edge methods in evaluation science including: individual and community-based trials; process evaluations including assessment of implementation strength and context-specific mechanisms; systematic reviews and meta-analysis; and realist evaluation and realist synthesis.

Dr. Tim Colbourn

(UCL Institute for Global Health) 

Global Health Promotion

This module introduces the rationale for health promotion in global health and the main methods and models for studying health behaviour change.  It focuses on what affects health behaviours and the possibilities and limitations for health interventions to promote behaviour change.

Dr. Rodney Reynolds and Dr Anni-Maria Pulkki-Brannstrom

(UCL Institute for Global Health) 

Global Justice and Health

This module explores contemporary debates in global justice, especially as applied to issues of international health inequalities. Topics include: international distributive justice; health equity; bioethics and public heath ethics; and the human right to health.

Professor Jonathan Wolff
(UCL Philosophy)

Globalisation and Security

This module draws on theory in critical geopolitics and related fields to examine evolving relations between globalisation and security. In particular it considers the nature, transformation and consequences of domopolitics (the governance of states in the name of ‘homeland security’) in an era of increasing global inequality and integration. It explores these issues through a variety of thematic and empirical case studies and considers methods through which geopolitical issues can be researched. Finally, the module assesses the claim that the European Union represents a new form of polity uniquely suited to the challenges of globalisation.

Dr Alan Ingram
(UCL Geography)

Health Inequalities over the Life Course

This module examines how exposures to health promoting or health damaging factors are unequally distributed from birth onwards and transmitted intergenerationally. Theoretical models of life course epidemiology will be discussed and epidemiological evidence for different models debated. These models will be used to elaborate explanations and policy strategies for inequalities in health.

Dr. Anne Peasey
(UCL Epidemiology & Public Health)

Healthcare Quality and Evidence Based Practice

Online learning with tutorials

Clinicians and managers around the globe are struggling with the problem of how to deliver and manage increasingly complex healthcare systems. This module examines perspectives on and frameworks of healthcare quality and considers the interplay between governance, regulatory processes and healthcare quality.  It explores the role evidence plays in supporting clinicians, managers and policy makers and highlights the different evidential perspectives adopted by clinicians, managers and policy makers. It also tackles the thorny question of why it is often difficult to use evidence to transform clinical practice and service delivery.

Ms Jeannette Murphy
(UCL Centre for Health Informatics and Multiprofessional Education)

Health Management: Planning and Programme Design

Expertise in management of health programmes is increasingly important, particularly in district or regional settings.  This module introduces key programme design concepts and combines theory and practice, allowing participants to develop insights and knowledge that can be applied in the field.  Participants examine a range of health management issues, including project financing, human resource planning and the use of data for decision-making. Students will also be taught the logical framework approach to project planning. 

David Beran
(University of Geneva)

Infectious Diseases Epidemiology and Global Health Policy

This module will introduce students to key scientific concepts within the field of infectious disease epidemiology, with a practical focus on how these concepts inform evidence-based policy at a global health level. The course will cover core concepts, including factors influencing transmission dynamics, vaccine epidemiology, basic molecular epidemiology and the impact of underlying structural and political factors. Students will be asked to critically appraise examples of policy and the underlying scientific evidence. At the end of the course, students will have a good working knowledge of applied epidemiology for global infectious disease control. 

Dr. Rob Aldridge and Dr. Nigel Field 

(UCL Division of Infection and Immunity)

Key Principles of Health Economics

(This module is a pre-requisite for students taking "Economic evaluation in healthcare").

The module introduces key concepts in health economics using the foundations of economic theory, and then applies that theory to health and health markets. It enables participants to understand how demand and supply interact, how markets work and why they fail, and to identify the main methods of health financing.

Dr Jolene Skordis-Worrall
(UCL Institute for Global Health)

Law and Governance of Global Health

Law and governance applying to global health is a field rarely studied in any holistic way. This course aims to enable health practitioners and lawyers to understand, critically analyse and work with the law and governance framework applying to global health. It will include detailed discussion of the institutional arrangements for the protection of global health, including not only those institutions directly working in global health, but also those whose interventions are crucial but easily overlooked, including the WTO. The law relating to various bioethical issues, such as consent, will be considered in its global health context. The course will also include an examination of the responsibilities of transnational corporations in respect of global health.

Jonathan Montgomery
(UCL Laws)

Nutrition and Public Health

This module provides you with an understanding of the public health importance of nutrition, the main determinants of malnutrition, methods of nutritional assessment, and approaches to nutritional intervention in both developmental and emergency contexts.

Dr Andy Seal
UCL Institute for Global Health 

Perinatal Epidemiology and Newborn Care

This module addresses current important issues in perinatal and newborn care. Issues covered include links between newborn and child survival, perinatal asphyxia, low birth weight and parent to child transmission of HIV.

Dr. Tim Colbourn
(UCL Institute for Global Health)

Regression Modelling

This module is a Level 2 course in biomedical statistics and statistical computing which will provide you with an advanced level of knowledge in key concepts (such as statistical methods for continuous and categorical variables) and introduce regression (linear regression, logistic regression). Statistical modeling will be undertaken using Stata software. Contact hours are divided between theory, non-computer and computer-practical sessions so that you can consolidate the concepts you have learned by applying them in a variety of contexts relevant to clinical and social epidemiology.

Dr Hynek Pikhart
(UCL Epidemiology & Public Health)

Research in Action: Qualitative Approach

This module will enable you to enhance the quality and credibility of qualitative studies. It provides the opportunity to gain skills and experience in valuing and using qualitative methods for investigating community health problems and undertaking actions to address the problems. It examines qualitative research concepts and tools, including interviews, observations and focus groups.

Mary Wickenden
(UCL Institute for Global Health)

Social Determinants of Health

The module examines evidence from a range of sources and country case studies to understand the social determinants of global health, and analyses how research on social determinants of health can inform action to tackle health inequalities, globally and within countries.  At the same time we highlight areas where more evidence is needed in this rapidly growing area of research.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot and Dr. Ruth Bell
(UCL Epidemiology & Public Health)

Sexual Health: Designing Sexual and Reproductive Health Programmes in Low and Middle Income Countries

This is a new module offered in the 2012-2013 Academic Year.

The aim of the module is to introduce the students to the key principles involved in designing, planning and implementing programs to improve sexual and reproductive health, particularly in low and middle income settings.

By the end of this module students will be able to:

  • Gather and critically appraise the literature around intervention effectiveness
  • Adopt a problem solving approach to intervention design and implementation
  • Navigate and synthesize evidence from multiple sometimes conflicting disciplines, including biological sciences, social science, anthropology, law, politics, and gender studies.
  • Write a project proposal
  • Communicate effectively and concisely orally and with the use of visual aids
  • Communicate effectively in class
  • Collaborate in a team and across disciplines
  • Reflect on new ideas and approaches
  • Effectively use internet search strategies


Maryam Shahmanesh
UCL Infection and Population Health

Using Information in Health Care Management

Online Course

This module deals with the evaluation, analysis and presentation of healthcare data to inform decisions in the management of healthcare organisations. Students are introduced to some of the current ideas in management theory to provide a context for later material. The key data sets used to log activity and assess quality in healthcare are described. Students will apply statistical and other mathematical techniques to solve key problems in healthcare such as: predicting demand, understanding variance and detecting outliers. Case studies are mainly be taken from the NHS but designed to be relevant to an international audience.

Dr. Paul Taylor

(UCL Centre for Health Informatics and Multiprofessional Education) 

Urban Health

In an urbanizing world, the health of people in cities and towns is becoming a global concern. Urban health is a developing discipline and its boundaries and key interests are under constant negotiation.

Research on urban themes is a particular strength of departments across UCL, and led to collaboration on the Lancet-UCL Commission on Healthy Cities. The module aims to give students a sense of engagement in a developing field that is intrinsically multidisciplinary, and to contribute to discussions about its boundaries. Students will work toward key learning outcomes, but will also participate in the dialogue on what we should think of as urban health and to what degree it should harness the contributions of specific disciplines (including population health sciences, engineering, urban planning and architecture). The module will act as a point of cross-disciplinary contact within UCL and will emphasize collaborative teaching and the generation of new ideas for multidisciplinary research.

Dr. David Osrin

(UCL Institute for Global Health) 

Page last modified on 30 jun 14 13:13