Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

We understand that prospective students and offer-holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The University is following the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Read our latest coronavirus information

MRes Primary Care (Web-based Learning) / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Global Health into the 21st Century

Unit code POPH62311
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Division of Population Health, Health Services Research and Primary Care
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course will be of interest to everyone wanting to explore what is meant by the relatively new, but increasingly fashionable concept of global health. It will be relevant to health or development policymakers, managers and practitioners from both developed and developing countries. The course will examine how the global health concept has evolved in the context of globalisation. It will then delve into the underpinnings of health and disease in diverse contexts and dissect the workings of the global health system: what are its key assumptions and principal frameworks that guide international health co-operation. How effective is this in creating a healthier world? Are global health inequalities improving or worsening, and does that matter? How does global health relate to sustainable development? As you go through the course unit, we will also highlight the topics’ relevance to current events globally.

This is an interactive on-line course. Students must work through the online course material. Students are encouraged to use the Blackboard discussion boards to ask questions and check their understanding of the course material.


This unit is one of three which may be taken as the additional mandatory unit for the Global Health pathway, alongside the mandatory core unit of POPH60041 for all pathways.

The other options are:

  • POPH62411 – Women’s Global Public Health
  • POPH62212 – Health Systems Challenges in Low and Middle Income Countries


This unit aims to examine how the global health concept has evolved in the context of globalisation. It will look into the key political, social, economic, legal, and institutional underpinnings of health and disease in diverse contexts.


The course will work its way through all the major themes necessary to understand global health:

  • Recognise the essential underpinnings of global health
  • Understand the present global health architecture and governance arrangements
  • Understand how global health is positioned in Agenda 2030: Sustainable Development Goals
  • Appraise the long journey from primary health care for all towards today’s notions on Universal Health Coverage
  • Analyse the global distribution and determinants of health and disease
  • Familiarise themselves with global health law and global health security
  • Discuss how global health is used as an instrument for waging war and peace
  • Analyse concerns around healthcare in danger, and health as a bridge for peace
  • Understand the role business plays in health, negatively and positively
  • Look at future trends in the 21 century: from global health to planetary health

Teaching and learning methods

This is a fully distance learning unit which will be accessible through the University VLE. There will be written materials by the tutors guiding students through the course, illustrated with photographs and figures to illustrate the rich topic areas. Much of the content will be presented through peer reviewed journals (accessible through the University library), media (newspaper and TV channels available online) and short videos (i.e. course tutors). Students will be directed to a variety of relevant literature each week, but also encouraged to research and explore and find their own sources.

While there are overarching learning aims and objectives for the unit, each week will also contain its own learning objectives.

There will be regular interaction with the tutors. Students will be encouraged to use self-reflection to think about the ideas discussed, and take part in discussion board activities. Students should work through the unit in a logical sequence. The calendar in Blackboard will guide what should be done and when. Participation in the discussion boards is greatly encouraged, and generally those students who do participate do better in their written assignments.

Knowledge and understanding

  1. Understand key values, concepts and frameworks that underpin global health
  2. Explore the health impact of globalisation and the shifting burden of disease
  3. Appreciate the link between socio-economic development and health outcomes
  4. Familiarise with the Sustainable Development Goals and their evolution from the Millennium Development Goals
  5. Explore the social determinants of health
  6. Understand the key features of the global policy debates and their evolution into the Universal Health Coverage concept
  7. Critically analyse key international laws that impact on global health policy and practice

Intellectual skills

  1. Analyse political, social, economic, legal, and institutional factors that affect health and disease from a global perspective, and how the local and global inter-connect against the backdrop of the major drivers of globalisation
  2. Recognise moral values and personal beliefs that animate the global health movement

Practical skills

  1. Practice critical interdisciplinary skills to explore global health issues and controversies, and tackle complex problems in resource poor or culturally sensitive/ politically difficult settings
  2. Consider how global health progress may be tracked and measured
  3. Demonstrate the ability to apply critical thinking when applying global health issues to a specific context

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  1. Appreciate the strengths and failings of the key actors in the global health system as a practical foundation for working effectively with or alongside them
  2. Consider ethical issues in designing global health policies and practice
  3. Understand the wider humanitarian context for the health work crises
  4. Work collaboratively on a range of activities - teamwork
  5. Apply principles of evidence based practice

Employability skills

Group/team working
The student is expected to play an active role collaborating with experienced trainers and other students to work in an inter-disciplinary manner.
We envisage that students who have taken this unit will become ambassadors for a better global outlook for understanding a fast changing world and how that impacts on their own work.
Problem solving
In this course unit, individual students will bring a professional or relevant health or development issue to the course. The course is designed to provide an academic basis for understanding and applying global thinking and approaches to policies and practices in Public Health.

Assessment methods

Assessment task


Weighting within unit (if relevant)

Midterm Assignment:

This assessment will focus on the first 5 weeks of the course unit and students will have to demonstrate their understanding, analysis and application of knowledge into practice.

1,500 words


Final Assignment:

The final assignment will be a task designed to utilise the full range of the course unit materials to demonstrate the evaluation and application of all the key concepts into practice.

2,500 words



Feedback methods

Students will be provided with personalised feedback for their mid-term and final summative assignments within 15 working days for mid-term assignments and 20 working days for final submission.

Further opportunities for formative feedback (on non-assessed work) will be provided during the course through tutor-student interactions, including discussion board tasks.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Gregory Williams Unit coordinator
Mukesh Kapila Unit coordinator

Additional notes

For further information please watch this video from our Course Unit Leader:

If you have any questions about the content of this unit, please contact the course unit leader, Greg Williams, via email on If you have any other queries, please contact the PGT programme administrators via email on

Return to course details