POPLHLTH 758 : Theoretical Concepts of Health

Medical and Health Sciences

2021 Semester One (1213) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

A number of theoretical explanations of public health are considered in order to address health issues in diverse communities. An ecological perspective of health will be explored and the specific models of population health will be critiqued.

Course Overview

This is a compulsory course in the Post-graduate Honour's Programme attached to the Bachelor of Health Science. PhD and Masters students are also encouraged to enroll in it. 

The course seeks to engage your interest in critical and creative thinking in areas relevant to your career in areas associated with population health. The emphasis throughout this course will be on your views and your thinking on what underpins our approaches to health. The course will, therefore, be different from other courses you have taken where the content is more defined and specific.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Course Contacts

Course Coordinator
Prof Peter Adams 
Email: p.adams@auckland.ac.nz
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 6538
Course Administrator
Mrs Kashmira Irani 
Group Services Administrator
Email: k.irani@auckland.ac.nz
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 6549

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the alternative ways in which knowledge is generated through familiarity with different underpinning assumptions (Capability 2)
  2. Articulate clearly their own assumptions and positioning regarding knowledge, science and health (Capability 2 and 5)
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of key concepts and terminology for discussing the theoretical underpinnings of health science (Capability 2, 4 and 5)
  4. Take positions and defend them within theoretical debates (Capability 2, 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Essay outline 10% Individual Coursework
Final Essay 30% Individual Coursework
4 Synopses 20% Individual Coursework
Final Exam 40% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Essay outline
Final Essay
4 Synopses
Final Exam

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 24 hours of lectures. The rest of the time should be allocated for reading, thinking about the content and working on assignments and exam preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities. 
Lectures will be available as recordings. 
The course will not include live online events.
Attendance on campus is required for the exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

This course is held at Grafton Campus. The course will consist of 12 two-hour teaching sessions plus self-directed reading and assignments.
Class teaching will involve a mixture of presentations and discussion. The main aim is to provide a general introduction to issues with each dilemma in order to inform subsequent discussion. You are encouraged to participate actively in discussions and to clearly communicate both consenting and dissenting viewpoints.

During the course you will be encouraged to develop your own perspectives and interests within the broad field of population health. Assignment work assumes significant self-directed reading into specialist interest areas. Tutorials will focus on open discussion with an emphasis on posing questions, highlighting dilemmas and encouraging you to think creatively and critically about where you stand on key issues.
A list of recommended readings is given for each session. These are shown on Canvas.
You will be expected to have read listed pieces prior to the sessions, and to be prepared to discuss the issues and questions arising from them. This is intended to help you expand your reading on each topic, and is also designed to assist with assignment work. 
In preparing assignments, you will be expected to have gone well beyond the references listed and to have read more deeply into key works on your preferred topic.

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.

Other Information

This course helps PhD students in clarifying their epistemological assumptions and incorporating these into their research methodology 

Digital 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.

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 against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

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 your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

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 you may be asked to submit your 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. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 26/11/2020 11:39 a.m.