MSc Global Health

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Risk, Vulnerability and Resilience

Course unit fact file
Unit code HCRI77000
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Humanitarian Conflict Response Institute
Available as a free choice unit? No


This module will explore the evidence-based assessment of health risks.  Common health determinants will be discussed along with the methods underlying their assessment in order to support mitigation actions.  Basic epidemiology methods of risk factor identification including ecological, cross-sectional case control and cohort studies will provide specific examples of health-based risk assessments for water-borne and cardiovascular disease.  

Alternative social science data gathering methods will then be discussed to provide an alternative to typical epidemiological studies.  These methods may be necessary due to time, expertise or financial constraints on local health practitioners.  These alternative data gathering methods include interviews, focus groups, surveys/questionnaires and case studies.  Subjective assessments and estimation will also be discussed as methods used to predict health risks and risk factors.  Basic techniques to limit error in subjective assessments will also be taught in order to improve the validity of data gathered through interviews and focus groups.  The connection between health risk identification and intervention will then be explored using case study examples of water sanitation in post-earthquake Haiti and non-communicable disease in sub-Saharan Africa.


  • This unit aims to develop an understanding of epidemiological risk and the associated factors that affect health in the developing world. 
  • Health assessment tools will also be taught to provide practical guidance concerning the way to incorporate basic health-risk data.

Knowledge and understanding

  • Describe basic epidemiology practice
  • Compare and use of relative risk and attributable risk
  • Define risk factors and their effect on different health risks
  • Identify psychological limitations to assessing risk 

Intellectual skills

  • Undertake Health risk assessments
  • Perform Risk mitigation analysis

Practical skills

  • Assess risk factors for different locations
  • Develop mitigation plans according to identified risk factors

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Use persuasive writing
  • Apply risk communication for health threats

Employability skills

¿ Use persuasive writing ¿ Apply risk communication for health threats

Assessment methods

Essay - 70%

Reflective Piece - 20%

Contribution to Course Discussion Board - 10%


Feedback methods


Feedback method

Formative or Summative

Comments on contributions to discussion boards from peers and staff. Also feedback and answering questions via email.



  • Written feedback on the essay assignment




Recommended reading

BONITA, R., BEAGLEHOLE, R. & KJELLSTRÖM, T. 2006. Basic epidemiology [Online]. World Health Organization. Available:;jsessionid=8900B4C800826140078D858B72C6FC52?sequence=1 [Accessed 11/9/ 2018].

LOPEZ, A. D., MATHERS, C. D., EZZATI, M., JAMISON, D. T. & MURRAY, C. J. 2006. Global burden of disease and risk factors [Online]. The World Bank. Available: [Accessed 11/9/ 2018].

TROCHIM, W. nd. Research Methods Knowledge Database [Online]. Available: [Accessed 11/9/ 2018].


Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Ayham Fattoum Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Please note that these units are intensive 8-week short courses, predominately independent-study, with no face-to-face learning

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