module specification

SH7029 - Public Health and Health Promotion (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Public Health and Health Promotion
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 200
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
164 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Other 30%   Oral Presentation
Coursework 70%   4000 word written Portfolio
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Tuesday Evening

Module summary

This is a core module for the MSc Public Health programme. The module explores theory, policy and practical aspects of public health and health promotion within a World Health Organisation context and a Faculty of Public Health approach. Students contextualise current public health practice drawing on comparative approaches. The main focus will be key theories, policies and practices influencing developments in public health and health promotion at international, national and local levels. Relevant initiatives and research in strategies and priorities for public health and health promotion such as health inequalities, participation and involvement, partnership working, social determinants of health, life styles and behaviour and population groups will be analysed. The Module also provides an opportunity to examine multiple global perspectives in relation to key contemporary public health challenges.

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

This module aims to:
• Develop broader advanced understanding, knowledge base and skills for engaging with historical and contemporary public health discourses, problems, theories, research methodologies, policy and practice issues.
• Provide a social science based contextual and critical understanding of the impact of social determinants of health on population health outcomes.
• Evaluate a range of projects and research studies; identify the impact on public health issues.
• Understand and evaluate the key principles and concepts underpinning developments in public health at various geographical levels.
• Critically analyse the influence of various international and national policies on health promotion practice.


This module will examine the main issues of public health in the context of the World Health Organisation initiatives and regional and national policies. The main focus will be key policies influencing developments in public health and health promotion at international and national levels. The module will cover areas that include: historical, contemporary and future developments in public health and health promotion; theoretical and methodological frameworks; local, national, and international (global) public health policy contexts; World Health Organisation public health frameworks; public health diagnosis of population's health and well-being needs, the impact of inequalities in health – measurement, strategies and health programmes to tackle inequalities; public health and social determinants of health; food and public health; lifestyles and behaviours; promoting and protecting the population's health and well-being; health care services; collaborative and partnership working for health and communities; evidence-based public health practice; strategic leadership for public health; population groups; public health ethics and the influence of globalisation on public health. Relevant current initiatives and research in any of these areas will be analysed. Throughout the module, examples of public health strategies and interventions will be encouraged from areas of long-term conditions; alcohol, diet and nutrition; physical activity and lifestyle; sexual health; and mental health and well-being.

Learning and teaching

A range of teaching methods will be used throughout this module: lectures and presentations to provide background coverage on topics under discussion will be followed by interactive seminars and/or workshops or discussion groups. Students will be required to read set texts and articles and to discuss these in class. Additional resources will be available online via WebLearn. Participants have to make sure they are registered for this module in order to access material on WebLearn. Module staff will be available to provide face-to-face, telephone and email support to students during and outside timetabled sessions.

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Critically understand and evaluate the various factors that influence population health outcomes and explain their significance in relation to health protection, health promotion and health improvement.
2. Critically examine national and international policies for health improvement or promotion and explain how these relate to World Health Organisation policy initiatives / proposals.
3. Critically analyse measures to address inequalities in health at different geographical levels and between various population groups.
4. Evaluate performance of healthcare systems and services, and methods used to monitor effectiveness of various health promotion, health protection and health improvement interventions.
5. Demonstrate an understanding of the values, ethical principles and norms that influence public health policy development and conduct of public health practitioners.
6. Demonstrate originality of thought in essays, discussions and presentations about measures to address specific public health issues.

Assessment strategy

The assessment is designed to test the student's ability to engage and evaluate a range of issues influencing theory, policy and practice developments in public health and health promotion. In order to assess this and achievement against the module aims and learning outcomes, there will be a two-part assessment. The Module is passed on aggregation of the two assessment components.

Assessment Part One: Oral Presentation of a Public Health Problem
This will be assessed by an oral presentation of not more than 20 minutes on a chosen public health problem for a particular population target group within a national context. Students should be able to use epidemiologic and other evidence to:
a) Show, analyse and discuss the public health problem
b) Identify and discuss the determinants of the public health problem
c) Explain and discuss the implications of the public health problem
The Presentation should address learning outcomes (LOs): LO1 and LO6. This Assessment carries 30% of the Module overall mark and is usually in Week 9 of the semester.

Assessment Part Two: A Health Promotion / Health Improvement Intervention Portfolio
Part Two will be assessed by a written Health Promotion / Health Improvement Intervention Portfolio of 4000 words on the public health problem for a particular population target group chosen for Assessment Part One. The written Portfolio should include:
a) Context and content of the intervention
b) Implementation, stakeholders and related public health ethics of the intervention
c) Evaluation of the intervention

The Portfolio should address learning outcomes (LOs): 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. This Assessment carries 70% of the Module overall mark and is due in Week 14 of the semester.


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Baggott R (2000) Public Health Policy and Politics. London: Macmillan Press.
Black D (1982) Report of a Research Working Group Inequalities in Health. London: Department of Health and Social Services.
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World Heath Organisation (1986) The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. Geneva: WHO.

European Journal of Public Health
Global Public Health
Globalization and Health  
Journal of Public Health Policy
Useful Websites
Association of Public Health Observatories: 
Department of Health Annual Health Surveys:   
EU Public Health: 
Health Protection Agency:
World Health Organisation: