Introduction to Health Policy (HPOL5000)


This unit aims to develop a critical and comparative understanding of the history, theory and practice of health policy. It gives an overview of the political choices and frameworks - national and global - that shape policymaking.
Learning objectives: By the end of this unit students will be able to: (i) Define the boundaries and key features of health policy; (ii) Understand the basic history and features of the Australian health system; (iii) Identify policy instruments and how they function; (iv) Understand the main frameworks used for analysing policy; (v) Understand the factors influencing how policy issues are prioritized in health; (vi) Demonstrate the capacity to apply these understandings in particular settings through case studies.
Content: This unit explores the main structures and institutions that make health policy. The unit examines debates over policy frameworks, and the evidence and advocacy in setting priorities. Conflicts over health policy will be placed in broader contexts - comparing different health systems and assessing global influences. Case studies will be used to examine the relationships between policy and practice.

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Further unit of study information


Block mode with compulsory Intensive workshops on Campus. 2 x 2-day workshops, online lectures and discussions


1 x 1500wd written assignment (30%); 1 x 3000wd written assignment (50%); Online learning quiz (5%); online problem based learning exercise (15%)


Buse K, Mays N, Walt G (2012). Making health policy. Second edition. Open University Press: London. Other recommended reading materials will be available on the unit's eLearning site

Faculty/department permission required?


Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.