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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Social Determinants of Health and Public Policy (IPHP11002)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryInequalities in health are observable among groups of the population whether categorised by class, occupation, income, gender or ethnicity and reflect persistent social and economic deprivation. Theories of social stratification provide explanations of patterned and persistent inequalities. This course will provide an introduction to concepts and theories of social stratification and to the evaluation from a public health perspective of public policies that address social inequalities.
Course description This course aims to examine the social determinants of health and health inequalities and to evaluate public policy responses.

Inequalities in health persist both within and between countries. These inequalities can be seen across various axes including gender, ethnicity/race, area and socioeconomic position. This course aims to demonstrate the extent of inequalities in health and to explore the underlying determinants of health and health inequalities. It expands on theories explaining how inequalities arise, including behavioural/cultural, psychosocial, material and lifecourse approaches. The course also investigates the role of government and the impact of economic, social and health policy in creating or reducing inequalities. Different explanatory paradigms and their implications for policy intervention will be discussed in relation to the health status of various population subgroups.

Outline content

The course is organised around 10 sessions covering three broad areas: i) key concepts and theories relevant to the social determinants of health and health inequalities; ii) specific axes of inequality and determinants of health (including ethnicity, gender, place and violence/conflict); and iii) policy approaches to improving health and reducing health inequalities.

The course will be taught by a combination of weekly lectures and seminars. In general, each topic will be introduced via a 50 minute lecture and explored in greater depth a week later during small-group seminars. Students will be expected to complete essential readings before attending seminars, and will have the opportunity to participate in a small-group presentation to the rest of the seminar class
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  50
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Component 1 - A 2,500-3,000 word written essay (70% of the total mark), based on a selection of essay questions which change annually.

Component 2 - Produce an accessible policy briefing of up to 1,000 words (30% of total mark) which effectively and accurately summarises current research evidence relating to a specific aspect of the social determinants of health (a selection of specific topics will be provided).
Feedback Essay questions will be released a month before the due date, with students choosing one a range of options. The aim of the essay is to demonstrate your understanding of key concepts and debates introduced during the course, drawing on relevant theory, evidence and argument to develop an analytical response to a specific question.

Formative assessment: The seminars involve group presentations and group work to develop analytical and conceptual understanding of key concepts relating to the essay questions and and policy briefs, and formative feedback is provided on these, in advance of the written assessment
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the range of factors that influence health at a population level including community, social, economic and political factors
  2. Be aware of contemporary debates regarding the causes of health inequalities between population groups categorised by socioeconomic position/social class, ethnicity, gender and place
  3. Critically understand different approaches to improving health and reducing health inequalities, including the theoretical underpinnings of these different approaches and the extent to which they are supported by evidence
  4. Have a critical awareness of the health impacts of different approaches to social and economic policy and the extent to which these approaches reflect different political and ideological traditions
  5. Have a critical awareness of the influence of different groups of actors on health inequalities and policy responses at a national and global level
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Sarah Hill
Course secretaryMiss Kate Ferguson
Tel: (0131 6)51 5122
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