Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


Global health is receiving increasing recognition as a field of study in the social sciences. Governments, organisations, and research institutions around the world are working to improve and maintain the health of communities. The processes and concepts that people use in undertaking this work have crystallised over the past few decades into a set of common approaches, best practices, and dominant models for “doing global health”. Gradually, however, people are starting to question these approaches and the merits of the current global health system. In this unit, we will think critically about a range of topics related to global health, challenging our own beliefs and assumptions. We will start with a pause for reflection, thinking about definitions and language, and what is meant by “global health”. We will review the colonial history and legacies of public health, Indigenous views of health, and how globalisation, neoliberalism, and the rise of the development agenda have shaped the current system. We will discuss the state of the world's health today, the global burden of disease, current concerns, and the push for universal health care. Finally, we will explore different aspects of the global health system, exploring issues around global health governance, money and foreign aid in global health, humanitarian health, and the role of the United Nations, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Non-standard teaching periodUWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) describe the organisations, actors, and processes that make up the current global health system; (2) explain how the colonial history of public health is reflected in current approaches to global health; (3) outline the priorities of global health stakeholders and the tensions that exist between them; and (4) apply critical thinking to a range of topics including the governance and funding of global health programs, humanitarian health, health systems strengthening, and private sector involvement in global health.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) in-class critical analysis and (2) written extended viewpoint. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Tim Roberton
Unit rules
Advisable prior study
PUBH5749 Foundations of Public Health (ID 3922)
Contact hours
1 week full-time (37.5 hours), plus 1 month pre-reading (37.5 hours) and 1 month post-contact week assessment (75 hours)
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
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  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.