Institute for Global Health


Key principles of health economics

This course 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. Students also learn how to critically use economic evaluation evidence (cost effectiveness, cost utility and cost benefit analyses), however students will not be fully equipped to conduct their own Economic Evaluation.  Students needing to conduct economic evaluation analyses in their work or study, or are planning to seek work using health economics tools in the future, are advised to take both this course and the Economic Evaluation in Health Care course.

Module Code: CIHDG007

UCL Credits: 15

Module Organisers: Dr Jolene Skordis-Worrall & Hassan Haghparast-Bidgoli

Please direct queries to the course administration team in the first instance igh.adminpg@ucl.ac.uk

Who can study this course?

UCL IGH MSc/PG Dip students and MSc Philosophy, Politics and Economics of Health students. Other UCL MSc/PG Dip students, TropEd students, Taster course students, 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.

tropEd students: evidence that you are registered as a tropEd student, successful completion of core course.

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 2nd 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 3 weeks 
Course dates 19 February to 9 March 2018
Days and times Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 09.30 to 12.30 and 14.00 to 16.30 for the first two weeks. Assessment to be completed and submitted by 9 am on 12 March 2018.



  • Introductory health economics
  • Demand and supply analysis within health care sector
  • Market failures in health care
  • Introduction to economic evaluation in health care
  • Economic approach to inequalities in health and health care (definitions, principles and measurement)
  • Health care financing, provider payments and cost sharing mechanisms

Teaching and learning methods

The course will be delivered through a combination of didactic teaching, interactive tutorials, computer workshops/practical exercises and independent reading. Students will be expected to engage fully in all tutorials/practical assignments, which will be compiled, together with individual reflection, to form a portfolio for course assessment.


Portfolio 100%

Assessment Date

12 March 2018 9 am

Selected Reading List

McPake, B. and Normand, C. (2008) (2nd Edition). Health Economics: An International Perspective. Routledge, New York pp. 1-8.

Guinness, L., Wiseman, V. (2011). Introduction to Heath Economics. Second Edition. Open University Press