Professional course Health Economics

Entry year
Course code
Professional/Short Course
School of Health and Social Wellbeing
Distance learning

15 credit Masters level module

Page last updated 4 October 2021


On successful completion of this distance learning module, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the ethical basis of economics, the tools and techniques of economic approaches, and the limitations of economic evidence as a basis for conducting economic evaluations in health and social care.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of, and assess alternative theoretical approaches in, health economic practice.
  • Critically examine the trade-off between efficiency and equity in the organisation of international health systems and its impact upon health and social care delivery.
  • Reflect upon and critically appraise the validity and reliability of economic evidence for health and social care, rehabilitative interventions taking into account physical, social, cultural and institutional contexts.
  • Critically examine approaches to estimating economic efficiency where social capital and community assets are important.
  • Reflect upon the factors that allow inequalities in the distribution of health and health care to persist and critically examine prioritisation and commissioning of healthcare interventions in communities.



The course will cover:

  • The ethical perspective of health economics and its relationship to the allocation and distribution of resources in health and social care.
  • The importance of context in health and social care interventions, whether in hospital or the community, the nature of the relationship between health interventions and outcomes and the factors influencing behaviour change.
  • Examination of the welfarist, extra welfarist and capability models within health economics and understand the alternative approaches to assessing cost effectiveness.
  • Inequalities in the distribution of health and health care - social and physical environments, household factors and individual motivation; the Marmot Review.
  • Trade-off between equity and efficiency in resource allocation for primary prevention, health systems and health policy - legislation, regulation, nudging population intervention and targeted intervention to improve population health.
  • The nature of the evidence base for economic analysis of healthcare and public health programmes.
  • Measures of economic efficiency in the allocation of resources in healthcare: cost-benefit ratios, cost per QALY, ICER, Social Return on Investment.
  • Commissioning health and social care, public health programmes and services. Priority setting, rationing and decision making in health and social care.
  • Spatial planning and health: effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of including health in built environment planning.

Learning and Teaching

This module has 150 allocated hours and a variety of learning approaches will be used to support distance learning. You will be required to engage with online materials and discussion forums and to support this with essential reading. Typically, up to 8 hours of virtual contact will be scheduled for group discussion and tutor support; preparation will be required for virtual scheduled sessions. We expect that 8 hours will be scheduled learning and 142 hours will be independent learning which includes assessment preparation and completion time.

There will be opportunities for interactive learning with the module team and other students through discussion boards and real-time communication via Blackboard Collaborate.

Scheduled learning includes; tutorials, project supervision, scheduled group discussions.
Independent learning includes; hours engaged with online activities, essential reading, case study preparation, assignment preparation and completion etc.

Study time

The module will be delivered as a distance learning module. The majority of the module is based on self-directed independent learning using a range of interactive, online resources, directed reading, independent reading and discussion forums.

Contact hours are typically up to 8 and will be scheduled during the module for online group discussion and tutor support throughout the module.


Component A
You are required to undertake a written project of 3000 words, which involves the critical review of one of five published economic evaluations of interventions in rehabilitation. You are required to critically appraise of one of the five papers selected by the module leader and construct a generic argument to support the problems of allocating resources for health improvement in real life settings.

The project assessment strategy is appropriate to test the formative learning of the module in applying the findings of a critical appraisal of an economic evaluation study in rehabilitation and the context of allocating resources for population impact in the real world.

Project plans are submitted to the module team for formative feedback before you proceed with your project assignment. The final project submission comprises a review of economic evidence utilising a systematic approach from the chosen area of health and social care.


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Prices and dates

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How to apply

How to apply

You are required to apply online for your CPD modules, which you can take as stand-alone courses or as part of an undergraduate or postgraduate (Masters level) programme.               

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