Institute for Global Health


Concepts and controversies in global health

This module will set out some of the central concepts and debates in global health in this era of rapid globalisation. You will be introduced to concepts of global health and sources of information, as well as develop a conceptual framework to illustrate the multiple determinants of health which result in inequalities in health within and between countries. A special emphasis will be placed on the broad, wider upstream determinants of health like gender, culture, health systems, the environment, socioeconomic position and employment.

Module Code: CIHDG033

UCL Credits: 15

Module Organisers: Professor Therese Hesketh Please direct queries to the course administration team in the first instance igh.adminpg@ucl.ac.uk

Who can study this course?

MSc/PG Dip Global Health and Development students and MSc Paediatric and Child Health (Global Child Health) students.  Other UCL MSc/PG Dip students, Taster course students and Short course students subject to availability.

Admission Requirements

MSc and PG Dip students: Open to all UCL MSc/PG Dip Global Health and Development, and to any UCL MSc/PG Dip students.

Taster students: UK Bachelor’s degree in a relevant/allied subject awarded with a 1st or upper 2nd class Honours or an equivalent qualification.  Two academic or professional reference letters.

Short course students: Professional work experience in a relevant area and/or UK Bachelor’s degree in a relevant/allied subject awarded with a 1st or 2 class Honours or an equivalent qualification.

In addition to the above, all students must demonstrate a GOOD standard of English Proficiency with 6.5 in each of the subtests.

Course length 5 weeks 
Course dates 2October to 31 October 2017
Days and times Mondays all day 09.30 to 12.30 (lectures) and 14.00 to 17.00 (tutorials) and Tuesday mornings from 09.30 to 12.30. Summative assessment to be submitted at 09:00am on 14 November 2017.



  • Introduction to public health/global public health/international public health
  • Accessing and using health information in the global health context
  • Social determinants of health
  • The socio-economic gradient in health and health inequalities
  • The epidemiological transition and  global burden of disease
  • Gender and health
  • Introduction to health economics and economic evaluation

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, seminars, assignments, self-study. Moodle will be used as an information portal for participants and source for reading materials.


Summative assessment: Written report worth 100% of the overall module mark. 

Formative essay (1000 words). Compulsory but does not count towards module mark. 

Assessment Date

Summative assessment to be submitted by 09:00am on 13 November 2017

Formative essay: 09:00am 23 October 2017.

Selected Reading List

Gaithersburg, MA., Lee K, Yach D, Scott A. (2012) Globalisation and health. In Merson M, Black R, Mills A (eds). International Public Health: Diseases, Programs, Systems, and Policies Aspen Publishers Inc.

Murray CJ and Lopez A. (2013) Measuring the Global Burden of Disease. NEJM 369:448-457

*Koplan JP et al. (2009) Towards a common definition of global health. Lancet 373:9769

Beaglehole R, Bonita R. (2010) What is Global health? Global Health Action 3:5142

Ruger JP. Health and social justice (2004) Lancet 364:1075-80

Yach D, Hawkes C, Gould CL, Hofman KJ. (2004) The global burden of chronic diseases. Overcoming impediments to prevention and control. JAMA 291: 2616-22.

Cohen J. (2006) The new world of global health Science 311(5758):162-7