||Core Course for the MSc Global Health
UK - Institute for Global Health and Development, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
|About duration and dates:
||12 weeks full-time study, starting in September and finishing 12 weeks later. Induction week takes place one week before the start of the core course and is not credit-bearing.
|Mode of delivery:
Face to face
Institute for Global Health and Development,
Queen Margaret University,
Edinburgh, EH21 6UU Scotland
Tel. 44 131 474 0000
Fax. 44 131 474 0001
tropEd representative: Georgina Pearson (GPearson@qmu.ac.uk)
|ECTS credit points:
20 ECTS credits
20 ECTS = 600 student investment hours:
● 162 direct contact hours
● 438 hours student self-study
By the end of the core course, students should be able to:
• Identify and analyse interrelated determinants of health and major health problems of populations in a cross-disciplinary perspective in low- and middle income societies.
• Critically collect, analyse and appraise qualitative and quantitative data relevant for the improvement of health and health care in low and middle income societies.
• Plan sustainable improvements of health systems considering the diverse intercultural settings as well as social and ethical responsibilities.
• Clearly communicate and work professionally in a multi-disciplinary team.
On completion of the course participants should be able to:
Identify and analyse interrelated determinants of health and major health problems of populations in a cross-disciplinary perspective in low- and middle income societies.
• Demonstrate a clear understanding of the key factors and forces shaping the health and well-being of disadvantaged populations in low, middle income and transitional countries;
• Demonstrate competence in specialist areas of international health. Take account of both global and local perspectives relevant to the social and organisational context of health service provision
Critically collect, analyse and appraise qualitative and quantitative data relevant for the improvement of health and health care in low and middle income societies
• Identify, analyse and critically appraise research approaches, design and method
• Critically analyse the development, use and application of a range of qualitative and quantitative techniques
• Critically interpret, analyse and utilise statistical and numerical information on health outcomes .
• Demonstrate competence in defining key epidemiological concepts and approaches, including their strengths and weaknesses
Plan sustainable improvements of health systems considering the diverse intercultural settings as well as social and ethical responsibilities.
• Acknowledge and deploy diverse perspectives on health, illness and well-being
• Confidently engage in utilising relevant and appropriate tools and frameworks for planning, developing and managing health systems
• Critically analyse and respond effectively and appropriately to policy and practice issues in international health and social development in diverse settings
• Demonstrate effective planning and management responses to challenges faced by health systems within resource-poor settings
• Contribute effectively to policy making at various levels recognising the variety of processes and inherent power dynamics involved
Clearly communicate and work professionally in a multi-disciplinary team
• Communicate effectively to diverse audiences in health and development utilising a range of media.
• Collaborate professionally in multi-disciplinary teams in health and development fora at local, national and global levelsOn completion of the course participants should be able to:
1) Critically reflect on the collection, analysis and appraisal of qualitative and quantitative data relevant for the improvement of health and health care equity
● Problematise the production and evaluation of research knowledge and evidence in global health and development
● Contextualise methodological debates in relation to epistemology, theory and methods
● Critically reflect on the collection, analysis and appraisal of qualitative and quantitative data relevant for the global health and development.
● Critically interpret, analyse and utilise statistical and numerical information on health outcomes.
● Demonstrate competence in defining key epidemiological concepts and approaches, including their strengths and weaknesses
2) Identify and analyse interrelated determinants of health and major health concerns of populations in a trans-disciplinary perspective in low- and middle-income settings and on global level:
● Demonstrate a clear understanding of the key factors and forces shaping the health and well-being of disadvantaged populations in low, middle income and transitional settings
● Demonstrate competence in specialist areas of global public health such as the health and epidemiological profiles of major NCDs (global mental health, CVD, diabetes etc) and CDs (HIV, TB, malaria etc.), health equity approaches to social determinants of health and the imapct of globalisation on determinants of health
● Critically assess the major factors that have been affecting patterns of disease in recent years including biological, environmental, social, economic and political factors
● Analyse both global and local perspectives relevant to the social and organisational context of health service provision
3) Propose sustainable improvements of health systems addressing inequities and considering diverse intercultural settings as well as social, legal and ethical responsibilities.
● Acknowledge and deploy diverse perspectives on health, illness and well-being
● Confidently engage in utilising relevant and appropriate tools and frameworks for planning, developing and managing health systems
● Demonstrate effective planning and management responses to challenges faced by health systems within resource-poor settings
● Contribute effectively to policy making at various levels recognising the variety of processes and inherent power dynamics involved
4) Describe the role, decision-making process and impact of global health policy actors:
• Critically analyse the history of global health policy development and the evolving role of global health policy actors
• Critically analyse and respond effectively to policy and practice issues in global health and social devleopment in diverse settings
5) Collaborate and clearly communicate in a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural setting
● Communicate effectively to diverse audiences in health and development utilising a range of media.
● Collaborate professionally in multi-disciplinary teams in health and development fora at local, national and global levels
Focus or specific features:
The IGHD core course has a strong emphasis on the analysis of social and structural determinants of health and health systems development. We also analyse health policies throughout the course and relate these to global public health issues across the core course.
Assessment types differ across the different modules in order to evaluate different content and transferable skills. There are two formative assessments (non-graded), which include in-class exercises and take-home short assignments – these help to monitor students’ understanding and engagement with the teaching material and content.
Summative (graded) assessments are based on presentations in-class, written essays and exams. A selection of assignments (one-third) are second marked to ensure consistent marking; all failures (two opportunities to resubmit for a pass grade only) and resubmissions are also second marked. Resits are still automatically capped at 50% and must be undertaken by end of May of every academic year.
Where a module has more than 1 summative assignment, students must pass both elements in order to pass the module. Feedback is given in electronic form and returned to students via the virtual learning platform within 4 weeks of submission.
Assessments for different modules are listed below.
Academic Learning Skills
Assessed through a formative assignment. The formative assignment consists of an essay of 1500 words on a contemporary global health issue that relates to the candidates’ area of interest. The assignment is marked within three weeks with the aim of informing students of any areas of their writing which needs to improve before submitting the first module assignment. Students get written and oral feedback from their personal academic tutor. Those who fail the formative assignment or achieve a low grade are referred to the Effective Learning Service at QMU who provide additional support.
In addition, students do an online ‘Research Readiness’ test which assesses their ability to use and critically assess online sources, amongst other topics. Students repeat the test at the end of the module; they tend to appreciate seeing that their score has improved.
Global Public Health & Social Policy
1) Assessed group work: Students will prepare (in small groups) a topic on Global Health and its impact on health, well-being and Environment/Climate change. They will present this in class and engage in a debate with their fellow students 30% of the total mark
2) 3000 word written assignment demonstrating the student’s ability to analyse and synthesise at least three elements covered during the module. 70% of the total mark
Global Health Research Module
1) Assignment based on developing a ‘real world’ research design for a selected health/development issue - 2,500 words 60% of the total mark
2) Qualitative practical research assignment – conduct, transcribe and reflect on a semi-structured interview (usually conducted with a peer student) – 1,500 words 20% of the total mark
3) Quantitative practical research assignment – online test of basic statistical and epidemiological concepts 20% of the total mark
Health Systems, Services and Communities Module
1) Group-based presentation on health service delivery models for ‘priority’ interventions (20% of total mark)
2) Individual write-up of equity analysis of qual/quant data on access to health services (20% of total mark)
3) 800-word editorial on citizen engagement towards universal health coverage (UHC) (60% of total mark)
The content of the core course is organised into 3 distinct modules preceded by an Induction week:
1) Induction, orientation and Academic Learning Skills (non-credit bearing/33 SITs)
● Induction to course regulations,
● introductions to cohort,
● IT and library
● Academic Learning Skills: database searching, academic writing, critical analysis, critical reflection, referencing and plagiarism, working in groups, presentation skills
1) Global Public Health and Social Policy (7 ECTS/210 SITs)
This module engages students in examining current global public health issues and challenges as well as the impact of globalisation on health and well-being and the influence of global and national actors on health and social policy. It examines the changing contexts of global health and the impact of globalisation. It examines trends in global public health, major diseases patterns and how these relate to the current sustainable development goals. The module also analyses elements of the policy process (including agenda setting and policy transfer) and the role of social policy in addressing contemporary challenges in global health.Key issues addressed include:
● Global public health approaches and health risks in a globalised world
● Health transitions and the Global Burden of Disease
● Landscapes of global health (urbanisation, migration, conflict, natural disasters and complex emergencies, climate change).
● Demographic, epidemiological and environmental transitions in the context of globalisation
● Major global trends in health and illness patterns and analysis of biological, social and structural risk factors influencing these
● History of global health policy making and of global health actors
● Political economy of health and development
● Global health governance
● Health equity and social determinants of health
● Selected issues and challenges in prevention & control of infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases, and other global public health risks (e.g. malaria, TB, HIV, COVID-19, injuries, violence, CVD, diabetes, mental health)
● Social policy processes and power
● Agenda setting and policy transfer
● Social policy addressing changing contexts (ageing populations, integration of health and social care, etc.) and the role of the state in shaping social policies.
2) Health Systems, Services and Communities (6.5 ECTS/195 SITs)
The module will approach the study of health systems by introducing core building blocks of health care systems, their functions, and modes of operation as well as considering debates around the challenges facing health systems today. The implications of different types of systems for access, quality and equity in health services will be examined. Health systems will also be examined as core social institutions in terms of terms of their organizational culture, pathways to care, and interface with communities
Key issues addressed include:
● The boundaries and the goals of the health system
● Key components make up a health system
● How health systems evolve in the context of epidemiological transitions, and trends in financing and service delivery
● How we determine whether health systems work to achieve their goals
● Systems requirements for delivering services in the most efficient and equitable way
● Communities participation in health systems to promote equity, responsiveness, and accountability
3) Global Health Research (6.5 ECTS/195 SITs)
The module consists of the following units:
a) Concepts & principles underlying research
● Introduction: epistemology, theories & methodology
● Role of theory in research
● Ethical issues in research
b) Research methodologies
● Research design: QUAL, QUANT & Mixed Methods
● Sampling approaches: QUAL and QUANT (tutorial)
● Epidemiology: Concepts & approaches
● Designing an epidemiological study: different types of epidemiological designs & strengths and weaknesses
c) Methods & skills development
● FGD and interviews
● Developing interview protocol (tutorial)
● Participant observation/PRA
● Survey design I
● Survey Design II
● Basic biostatistics and epidemiology I (tutorial)
● Basic biostatistics and epidemiology II (tutorial)
d) Critical reflection on trustworthiness of evidence
● Trustworthiness in research design: critical evaluation of research studies
● Evaluating evidence and policy development
Methods include a variety of student-centred teaching/learning approaches:
● interactive presentations led by lecturer/students;
● Group work on problem-solving;
● case studies,
● film discussions,
● simulations and role plays;
● online discussion forums
● tutorials among others.
The core course consists of three modules run intensively over a period of 4 weeks each. The basic design for each module is three 3 hour teaching sessions a week with some additional tutorials, group work and additional discussion sessions each week. Each module differs in how the 3 hour session is designed but most will include teaching inputs (lectures) of between 1-1.5 hours, followed by group exercises and activities based around readings, case studies, group work, problem solving etc. Research seminars and visits to practice-based environments are also offered which vary each year.
Students are expected to carry out directed reading for every session to prepare for the student-led work which they do in their self directed study time. In some cases, students are required to carry out group work to prepare presentations for class, or other similar exercises.
The Hub, the Blackboard virtual learning platform used by the university, is used extensively to provide teaching and learning materials to students (readings, lectures, and supplementary materials such as short videos), to communicate with students, and to enable discussions on literature and other topics. All assessed work is submitted through the Hub which also has plagiarism software (TurnItIn) that encourages students to check their work for plagiarism before submission. The QMU campus is well equipped with computer terminals available for students use, linked to a centralised platform which is available remotely through internet access (i.e. from home or outside the UK).
Tutorials are also held alongside the classes to assist preparation of assessed work.
Each student is assigned a personal tutor for the duration of the course, who advises and guides the student in academic and pastoral matters. Students have study skills support and, if required, assistance with academic English skills from the Effective Learning Service; they can also assist with assignment planning. A special needs coordinator liaises with the disabilities support unit at the university to support students with any disabilities or learning support needs such as dyslexia.
The course is open to health and social science professionals and students with a relevant undergraduate degree. Proven proficiency in spoken and written English to IELTS level of an overall score of 6.0 with no component less than 5.5; or for the TOEFL iBT an overall score of 80 with no component less than 17.
Relevant work experience is desirable, preferably within a low, middle income or transitional setting.
Please note that UK visa regulations are changing and students may need to apply for a student visa when entering the UK.
Up to 30 students; there is no nominal limit to the number of tropEd students.
Application deadlines: General guidelines for applying - early May for non-EU applicants and early August for EU/UK applicants
Selection carried out by IGHD admissions committee in line with QMU postgraduate admissions requirements. If all requirements are fulfilled selection is made on a first come first served basis.
● Relevant undergraduate degree in a related subject area or professional qualification in a related areas (recognised for professional body membership and equivalent in academic terms to an honours degree) or a qualification in a related area from a professional institution
● IELTS overall 6.0 with no component less than 5.5; TOEFL iBT an overall score of 80 with no component less than 17.
● Personal statement that clearly explains motivation to study global health and development, ideally based in previous or current experience
● Clearly stated intention or commitment to work in global health.
Relevant work experience is desirable, preferably within a low, middle income or transitional setting
Scot/UK/ROI: £960 x 3
International: £2,150 x 3
Currently no scholarships available
Major changes since initial accreditation:
Our University is undergoing academic restructuring of modules, increasing the size of our modules from a standard 5 ECTS to a 6.5/7 ECTS size. In order to comply with this move, we have restructured the core course content which had been organised into 4 x 5 ECTS modules into 3 x 6.5/7 ECTS. The content has remained the same but the content of one of the modules, Global Public Health, has been split into different units which have now been absorbed into Global Health Research, Global Health & Social Policy and Health Systems, Services & Communities.
The way in which we deliver the modules will now change: previously we ran 2 modules alongside one another but now we will run each of the three modules as 4 week blocks each. We believe that this will allow students to focus more intensely on each block and immerse themselves in the topic.
The programme leader, Suzanne Fustukian, has retired and Carola Eyber has now taken over this function.
The university has changed its assessment regulations from allowing only 1 resit to allowing 2 resits across all undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Resits are still automatically capped at 50% and must be undertaken by end of May of every academic year.
Student feedback has been consistently positive for the four modules that make up the core course in relation to content, teaching methods, support from academic staff, organisation of and structure of modules, facilities and assessments. Below are two examples from the evaluation forms which illustrate some of the different aspects of this:
“To me health systems were a big in transparent black box. Thanks to the module I got an understanding of the vast complexity and dynamic interrelations between actors and institutions on which I can build my further research” (Academic year 2017/18)
“I feel that the classes systematically built upon learnings made in previous classes, and were very well thought out and suited to the needs of the students” (Academic year 2016/17).
The two areas where students felt improvements needed to be made were in relation to group work and the teaching in quantitative skills:
“The group presentation provided us with a way to share our different experiences and compile our knowledge in line with the course. But it was also challenging due to the unavailability and non participation of some members of the groups. These elements impacted a lot on the quality of the work” (Academic year 2016/17)
“Spending more time on the quantitative research methods would be useful - I don't quite feel a have a full grasp on sampling strategies etc.” (Academic year 2017/18)
Both of these points are being taken seriously by the teaching team. In regard to group work we have reduced the mark allocated to group activities so that students do not feel that their marks are dragged down by group members who are not performing. Module coordinators are also monitoring group work much more closely.
In regard to increasing the quantitative skills, we have increased our tutorials on biostats and added an assessment in order to motivate student to engage more intensely with this aspect of the core course. This will now be happening as part of the Global Health Research module instead of previously the Global Public Health module.
Striking the right balance between students who have a lot of quantitative and epidemiological skills and those who have none continues to be difficult. We are working on ways to resolve this through developing different learning pathways through our online platform, offering for example some students an opportunity of a background/catch-up session before they join the mainstream teaching.
Students continue to stress the importance of transferrable, ‘soft’ skills as they prepare themselves for the professional global health environment. This seems to be becoming even more relevant and the content needs to reflect this appropriately, for example through the group poster assignment that is being done for Health Systems, Services and Communities.
Accredited in 1998 in Berlin, re-accredited May 2006, re-accredited in January 2010, April 2015 and June 2020 (online GA/Hamburg). This accreditation is valid until June 2025.
|Date Of Record Creation:
||2012-01-19 22:12:12 (W3C-DTF)
|Date Of Record Release:
||2012-01-20 04:30:16 (W3C-DTF)
|Date Record Checked:
|Date Last Modified:
||2022-09-27 13:11:25 (W3C-DTF)