HAR6168: Introduction to Health Economics


This module is concerned with understanding the key elements in the theory of health economics. Students are introduced to some of the key principles and tools of microeconomics which are then used to examine the peculiarities of the market for health care. In particular, the module focuses on how the market for health care 'fails' and what the implications are for consumption, production and distribution. Students are encouraged to critically appraise the alternative approaches to overcoming some of these market failures.


This module aims to:

  1. Introduce relevant theory of microeconomics and demonstrate its applicability to health care issues 
  2. Outline key principles of health economics including efficiency and equity
  3. Provides a foundation for and rationale for performing economic evaluation

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, a student will be able to:

  1. Describe and apply core microeconomic concepts to health and health care
  2. Describe the key issues in health economics
  3. Describe the rationale for performing economic evaluation and the economic principles that underpin it

Teaching Methods

Informal lectures will provide the majority of the contact hours with lecturers (10 x 2 hour) covering learning outcomes LO1 to LO3. The lectures will be interspersed with exercises to be conducted in small group and tutorials (5 x 1 hours) which will be led by students. Students will also be expected to undertake 123 hours independent study, including preparation for tutorials, preparation for assignments and further recommended reading. These learning and teaching methods will reinforce learning outcomes. Students will be provided with oral feedback on formative assessment (i.e. structured exercises) before assignments are set and before the examination period; this feedback will not be documented.


For this 15 credit module, international convention indicates a nominal 150 study hours. Therefore, approximately 125 hours are expected for self study which includes carrying out exercises, supplementary reading, preparing the tutorial presentation, completing coursework, revising for and taking the examination. Lectures and tutorial attendance is compulsory.

Merely attending the taught sessions is unlikely to give you sufficient knowledge to pass the module assignment and exam or, more importantly, understand research findings presented to you.


Component Weighting
Firstly, a 2,000 word essay will require students to demonstrate learning outcomes 1 to 3 50%
Secondly, a 2 hour, written, unseen examination will be undertaken 50%