Module Catalogue 2023/24

POL3131 : The Politics of Health (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Diana Burlacu
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



Health is an important aspect of human life, which is influenced by the politics in a country. This module will explore the role of institutions in providing health care to citizens/residents and their influence on health status. Students will be introduced to political science studies on health policy and politics to explain cross-country variation in health care provision/access and health outcomes. We will be examining current data on health systems and health outcomes from different European countries, including the UK.

The module has thus four main aims:
1.       To introduce students to political science theories of health policy development
2.       To develop students’ awareness of different health care systems in Europe
3.       To develop students’ understanding of the social and political determinants of population health
4.       To introduce students to different indicators and data sources to compare health systems in Europe

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics covered may include but are not limited to the following:
1.       Historical development of health policies in different European countries, including the UK
2.       The typology and functions of health systems in Europe
3.       Political forces in health policy making
4.       Causes and consequences of health privatization
5.       Health Inequalities: institutional, regional and socio-economic determinants
6.       Public Opinion on Health: e.g. do voters support public health provision?

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the module, students will have:

•       A good working knowledge of the main political science theories of health policy and latest developments in the field.

•       A sound understanding of the differences between different health systems in Europe and their implications

•       A good grasp of the indicators and data sources available to evaluate health systems and health outcomes.

Intended Skill Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will have gained experience of, and skills in:

•       Critical thinking and writing: e.g. discriminating reading, essay preparation, dissecting arguments and weighing competing explanations.

•       Comparative analysis: e.g. comparing health regimes in countries

•       Numeracy skills: e.g. reading and presenting graphs and tables

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00Present in person lectures
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Pre-recorded lecture materials
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities51:005:00Guided questions/tasks based on statistics presented in reading and lecture content.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00PIP Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1162:00162:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures and lecture materials introduce students to the key terms, concepts, and texts in the health policy and politics research.

Seminars will give students the opportunity to present and discuss theoretical ideas and empirical evidences based on the weekly assigned readings.

Guided questions/tasks ask students to explain figures and tables presented in reading and lecture content. These tasks will improve students’ passive empirical research skills as well as encourage them to develop critical understanding and evaluation of simple statistics.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Research proposal2M201000 words
Research paper2M802500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The research proposal will provide the opportunity for formative assessment. The research paper will allow students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the key concepts and debates covered throughout the course, as well as their ability to find and present empirical data and statistics. It also offers students the chance to engage in depth with a particular aspect of the politics of health.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2023/24 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2024/25 entry will be published here in early-April 2024. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.