Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Global Health and International Politics
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 11 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 5 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hours)  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay, if essay element failed  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour exam)  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Identify and explain global political challenges associated with safeguarding and promoting human health.
2. Demonstrate empirical knowledge of a range of past, present and potential disease risks.
3. Explain, apply and critique theories of international relations in the context of health.
4. Analyse and critique the assumptions underpinning economic, foreign and security policies related to health.
5. Evaluate and generate ideas for responding ethically to global health challenges.


This module introduces to the teaching program of the Department an overview of the relationship between global health and international politics. This is an area of increasing academic interest within the discipline of International Relations and beyond. Topics of ongoing concern worldwide include, for example, the eradication of polio, the taxing of tobacco products, reform of the World Health Organization, and the threat of bioterrorism. The module draws on cross-disciplinary research undertaken in the Centre for Health and International Relations, and it complements the Department's teaching portfolio in the areas of global governance, global ethics, international political economy, diplomacy and foreign policy, and security studies. Risks to human health, and opportunities for health improvement, need to be considered using a variety of overlapping frames: historical, biomedical, economic, cultural, political and ethical. For this reason, the safeguarding and promotion of global health is a difficult challenge for policymakers and a fascinating subject for academic analysis. For students interested in pursuing postgraduate study, the module provides a foretaste of major themes in the curriculum of the planned MA in Global Health and International Politics.


"The meaning of global health
Disease in world history
Biomedicine and social determinants of health
Health and global economy
Institutions and governance of global health
Health, security and foreign policy
Biological weapons
Global health ethics
Case studies in global health politics"

Brief description

This module provides an overview of ideas and information on the politics of safeguarding and promoting human health worldwide. Drawing on academic literature from within and beyond the discipline of International Relations, it incorporates five overlapping perspectives on global health: medicine, economics, power, security and justice. Although 'global health' is a new and contested concept, the historical record is replete with examples of wide-scale health risks generating political consequences. Today, the public health burden of infectious diseases (caused by bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms) is an ongoing concern worldwide, and the control of non-infectious diseases (cancer, diabetes, tobacco-related illnesses, etc.) is increasingly the subject of international and global cooperation. The module explores a range of topics including: the science of disease-control; emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases; trade and aid policies; the role of the World Health Organization; war and disease; the harmful misuse of biotechnology; health and human security; differing cultural perspectives on illness; and public health ethics. In addition to a series of lectures addressing key themes of global health policy, the module includes in-depth seminars on the politics surrounding six specific causes of disease: plague, smallpox, tobacco, AIDS, bio-attacks and influenza.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to how to present their arguments most effectively. They will learn the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Students will also be required to submit their essays in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the convenor and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and exercising their own initiative, including searching for sources and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their coursework and presentation topics. The need to prepare for assessed seminar participation and to meet coursework deadlines will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources.
Personal Development and Career planning This module is designed to hone and test skills of use to students in their working lives, particularly in speaking to small groups, listening, thinking and responding to the statement of others. Moreover, the written work includes writing clearly and concisely, which is a common task in the workplace. Students will be encouraged throughout to reflect on their performance and to consider lessons for future application.
Problem solving Independent work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of two essays will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research for elements of the assessed work. This will involve utilizing media and web sources, as well as more conventional academic texts. Students will in part be assessed on their ability to gather appropriate and interesting resources materials.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: - Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module - Evaluate competing perspectives - Demonstrate subject specific research techniques Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical and contemporary political problems.
Team work Students will undertake team exercises in the seminars. For many of the topics of this module, seminars will consist of small-group discussions where students will be asked to discuss as a group the core issues related to the seminar topic. These class discussions and debates form a significant part of the module, and will allow students to approach and examine a given topic through team work


This module is at CQFW Level 6