Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2011-2012 (archived)


Department: Health [Queen's Campus, Stockton]


Type Open Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2011/12 Module Cap None.


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To enable students to understand the role of economics in healthcare provision and decision-making, providing skills to interpret and undertake economic evaluations relevant to their field of work.


  • Defining health, healthcare and their distribution
  • Comparative healthcare systems
  • The economics of healthcare provision
  • Clinical and health-related measures: preference and utility
  • Theory and practice of economic analysis
  • Decision analysis: decision trees
  • Decision Analysis: Markov models
  • Discrete choice methods
  • Policy applications

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of module students will:
  • Have a working knowledge of the conceptual foundations of economics
  • Understand the strengths and weaknesses of economic methods when applied to the health sector generally
  • Understand how economic forces can affect resource allocation and, with that, service provision in their various fields of work.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Interpreting and conduct basic economic analyses of healthcare interventions
  • Interpreting comparative analysis and sources of variation
  • Undertaking decision analysis.
Key Skills:
  • 1. The ability to think critically and creatively and to argue coherently;
  • The ability to think independently, including problem-solving ability and the ability to discriminate and use judgement;
  • The ability to organise data, abstract meaning from information and share knowledge at an advanced level;
  • The ability to select and use appropriate advanced numerical techniques in economics.

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

  • Lecturing - Introduces key principles of economics - Outlines and explains the various economic assessment/evaluation techniques- Explains the basic components of each technique
  • Self-paced Learning - Workbooks, including reading and practical exercises will help students to work through concepts in more detail, encouraging group working, peer support and developing inter-professional working skills. Tutorial support will be provided as required. - Computer/practical exercises will allow students to develop skills using common statistical packages
  • 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.
  • The essay will provides the oportunity to assess students' conceptual understanding, critical ability ability to communicate effectively in a writtien mode. The analytic problem tests their ability to analyse health problems from an economic perspective, to chose and use appropriate economic techniques and, in doing so, organise data, abstract meaning from information and share knowledge at an advanced level.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 weekly 1 hr 10
Tutorial/Seminars 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 2000 50% assignment
decision analytic problem as appropriate 50% alternative problem

Formative Assessment:

Formative assesment will consist of written feedback as students progress through practical exercises and their self-paced learning workbooks.

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