POPLHLTH 718 : Health and Public Policy

Medical and Health Sciences

2024 Semester Two (1245) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

A discussion of policy studies frameworks, and how these can be used to analyse policy issues and processes relevant to health and healthcare.

Course Overview

POPLHLTH 718: Health and Public Policy is a course that introduces students to the study of public policy and health policy issues, with a view to understanding the factors that shape health policy and the politics of health issues.

The things that governments do, and the things that they don’t do, can have a profound effect on the way health care services are delivered, and on broader health outcomes. The study of public policy allows us to gain greater insight into why some actions are taken, why some things don’t happen at all, and what happens after policy decisions are made.

While understanding government – the nature of its role, the scope and limits of its power, the degree to which it acts in a united or divided way – is central to the study of policy, this course also emphasises the importance of other policy actors – occupational groups, researchers, advocacy groups, public officials – in attempts to steer policy.

This course provides students with the tools to understand and analyse policy processes, and emphasises the development of three inter-related skills:

    Policy analysis - identifying, describing and synthesising the most salient features of any policy issue
    Policy advocacy - building and presenting coherent and convincing policy arguments
    Academic policy studies - applying policy studies theoretical frameworks in order to explain policy processes.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Course Contacts

Tim Tenbensel

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism
Graduate Profile: Master of Public Health

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Identify, describe and analyse the key policy positions and stakeholders relevant to a health policy issue (Capability 3, 4 and 6)
  2. Evaluate a range of contrasting approaches to policy and policy making in the health sector (Capability 1, 3, 4 and 5)
  3. Demonstrate advocacy skills relevant to a range of public policy and health policy contexts (Capability 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 8)
  4. Communicate policy problem definitions and solutions in an advocacy role (Capability 2, 5 and 6)
  5. Apply policy studies theoretical frameworks to the analysis of specific health policy issues (Capability 3, 4 and 6)
  6. Explain the outcomes of of health policy processes (Capability 3, 4 and 8)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Reports 35% Individual Coursework
Presentation 25% Individual Coursework
Essay 40% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 30 hours of seminars 60 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 70 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including seminars to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including seminars will not be available as recordings.
The course will include live online events including group discussions.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a block delivery.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Buse, K, N. Mays & G. Walt (2012) Making Health Policy. Maidenhead UK: Open University Press, 2nd edition

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

My priority in 2024 will be to streamline information about each assignment, particularly Assignment 1 which is currently in three parts. Student feedback indicated that CANVAS was chellenging to navigate for this assignment.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.