Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)


Department: Health [Queen's Campus, Stockton]


Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap None.
Tied to HEAS


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To extend students’ understanding of the social determinants of health, the social gradient in health and the role of public policy and practice in tackling health inequalities in the UK and beyond.


  • 1. Introduction – inequality and the social gradient in health (includes measuring health inequality)
  • 2. Theoretical approaches to understanding health inequality
  • 3. Social determinants of health and health inequalities (part 1)
  • 4. Social determinants of health and health inequalities (part 2)
  • 5. Evidence base for tackling inequalities in health (lifestyle and social determinants)
  • 6. Public policy and health inequality (history and current approaches)
  • 7. From evidence into practice: implementation issues
  • 8. Partnership working for addressing health inequalities
  • 9. Performance managing health inequalities
  • 10. Case study: Employment, unemployment and health

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • A critical understanding of:
  • The theoretical and conceptual background to health inequalities
  • The influence of social, environmental and economic factors on inequalities in population health
  • The evidence base on tackling health inequalities
  • Relationships between public policies, health and health inequalities
  • Policy implementation and performance managing health inequalities
  • The role of partnerships in improving health and reducing health inequalities
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Literature searching – students should be able to conduct literature searches, evaluate and critically appraise evidence from a range of sources.
  • Team working - they should be able to work in uniprofessional and interprofessional teams
  • Presentation - they should be able to select, synthesise and present complex material
  • Communication – they should be able to effectively communicate complex material
Key Skills:
  • The ability to think critically and creatively and to argue coherently;
  • The capacity for sustained interprofessional learning and work at an advanced level and the ability to learn through reflection on practice and experience
  • The ability to think independently, including problem-solving ability and the ability to discriminate and use judgement;
  • The ability to communicate effectively across specialised subject and professional areas;
  • The ability to work effectively in inter-professional and inter agency contexts and to critically assess the relevance and validity of others’ views, contributions to care planning and service delivery.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lecturing - Describes the social gradient in health - Explains theoretical approaches to health inequalities - Examines the social determinants of health - Summarises the evidence base around interventions to reduce inequalities in health - Outlines public policy responses to health inequalities - Examines practice and implementation issues
  • Tutorials and seminars - Allow students to work through concepts in more detail, providing both teacher and peer led input, promoting discussion and developing communication and group working skills
  • Structured reading - Allows students to pursue topics in greater detail enabling both familiarity with key texts and a deeper understanding of the subject knowledge generally
  • Independent study, research and analysis - Focuses student knowledge more deeply by pursuing aspects of the module that are of special interest to themselves and exploring specific applications in their field of study.
  • Library research - Promotes independent lifelong learning skills as well as promoting learning from a variety of sources
  • Essay assessment will test students’ critical knowledge and understanding of key concepts, their ability to argue coherently and communicate effectively in writing, and to reflectively assess their proficiency in thinking through how social determinants of health, the social gradient in health can be addressed via both public policy professional practice

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lecture 10 weekly 1 hr 10
Tutorial/seminar 10 weekly 1 hr 10
Structured Reading 10 sets weekly 3 hrs 30
Library researching/Independent study Student initiated Student determined 100
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
essay assignment 3000 100% essay

Formative Assessment:

A 1500 word will provide formative assessment and will indicate to students the depth of their understanding and the relative strength/weakness of their analysis.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University