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Unit information: Public Health Economics in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Public Health Economics
Unit code SPOLM0060
Credit points 15
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Russ Jago
Open unit status Not open
Units you must take before you take this one (pre-requisite units)


Units you must take alongside this one (co-requisite units)


Units you may not take alongside this one
School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Unit Information

The unit content includes:

  • The process of economic evaluation for public health programme evaluation.
  • Critique techniques of economic evaluation as part of the evidence base for public health.
  • Costs and outcomes in economic evaluation.
  • Critique of economic evaluation studies.

Whilst studying Public Health Economics masters level module, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the principles of health economics as a basis for gathering and interpreting evidence.
  • Demonstrate a systematic understanding and critical awareness of the nature of economic evidence currently used as a basis for public health policy and practice.
  • Reflect upon and demonstrate a critical understanding of utilitarianism as the ethical basis of economics as a discipline.

Your learning on this unit

Learning outcomes:

At the end of this module students should be able to:-

  1. Understand the ethical basis of the way of thinking and the tools and techniques of economic approaches and the limitations of economic evidence, as a basis for formulating policy and public health guidance.
  2. Understand and assess alternative theoretical approaches in health economic practice.
  3. Critically examine the trade-off between efficiency and equity in the organisation of international health systems and the provision of public health programmes.
  4. Reflect upon and critically appraise the validity and reliability of economic evidence for primary prevention interventions in the built environment where environmental factors are important to behaviour change.
  5. Critically examine approaches to estimating economic efficiency where social capital and community assets are important.
  6. Reflect upon the factors that allow inequalities in the distribution of health and health care to persist and critically examine prioritisation and commissioning of public health interventions in communities.
  7. Importantly, understand the relevance of social value when assessing cost-effectiveness.

How you will learn

Organisation of Experience. Students will participate in interactive lectures and workshops together providing a cohort with different experiences to draw on, so a key learning strategy will be to enable students to learn from each other about key aspects of public health economics.

Students’ can keep a reflective diary of observations for each session connected with scheduled and independent learning through the VLE. It is expected that for each hour spent in workshops students will spend two hours in independent learning for their project assignment. All sessions will be recorded using Panopto technology to enable students accessibility to module at all times through the duration of the module.

Scheduled learning variety of interactive lectures and workshops.
Independent learning includes reflective diary of sessions, formative independent blended learning using reading, support materials, discussion boards and tasks in a VLE.

How you will be assessed

Write a critical appraisal of the economic evaluation of the complex public health intervention you have chosen using a critical appraisal checklist for economic evaluation. (100% of marks). The word limit is 3,000. ILOs 1-7.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. SPOLM0060).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.