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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 of the following optional modules in Terms 2 and 3. Most modules run over a three-week period and you are required to attend lectures, seminars and group work for approximately 3 to 3.5 days during the first two weeks of a module. The third week of some module is allocated for independent study time. However  this format will vary and certain modules will have lectures during the third week so students will be expected to dedicate full three weeks for lectures and assessments.

We are pleased to be offering three new modules for the 2013-2014 session, focusing on Urban Health, Infectious Diseases Epidemiology, and Global Health Promotion. We will endeavour to satisfy your choice of optional modules, but you should recognise that this will not always be possible due to varying levels of student demand. Please note that not all the modules listed below will necessarily be available in 2013/2014.

The modules below can also be taken as short, taster and TropEd courses. For information on these courses please visit see the Short and Taster module list.


15 credits x 4 modules = 60 credits

A timetable for the 2013-2014 academic year is now available. Updated 8/8/2013

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)

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)

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 disabilty policy and practice.

Mary Wickenden (UCL Institute for Global Health)

Economic Evaluation in Health Care

(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.

More information...

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

Hassan Haghparast-Bidgoli (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)

Health Management: Planning and Programme Design

This module centres on a simulation exercise of a health programme mission in a resource-poor setting. You will work in a team using a logical framework approach to define a target population and formulate programme objectives within the context of a country’s national development goals.


International Child Mental Health

Enables participants to develop their knowledge, skills and confidence to improve the situation of people with mental health problems and their families and communities in resource poor countries. Focuses on major mental illness across the age spectrum, biological, psychological, cultural and social perspectives, vulnerable groups, policy and service delivery, advocacy and human rights, and community-based interventions.

Dr. Rob Senior (UCL Institute of Child Health)

Key Principles of Health Economics

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)

Hassan Haghparast-Bidgoli (UCL Institute for Global Health)

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 David Osrin (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 modelling 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)

Research in Action: Quantitative Approach

This module equips students with the concepts and skills required to design and conduct surveys for diverse population groups and to critically evaluate surveys carried out by others. This course covers key 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)

Sexual Health: Designing Sexual and Reproductive Health Programmes

This module is new for 2012-13 and will be taught in conjunction with UCLH.

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 Shamanesh (Centre for Sexual Health and HIV Research)

Sarah Hawkes (Centre for International Health and Development)

This 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)

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