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Monash University

Master of International Health

Course code: 3874 ~ Course abbreviation: MIH ~ Total credit points required: 72 ~ 3 semesters full-time, 6 semesters part-time ~ Managing faculty: Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Study mode and course location

On-campus (Alfred Hospital, Melbourne)

Course description

This course is offered by the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, in collaboration with the Centre for International Health at the Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health. This degree provides you with the skills necessary to design implement and evaluate the relevant programs that address the major public health priorities of communities in developing countries. In addition students have the opportunity to learn about human rights, ethics, law and development. Public health issues are presented in the broader context of economic and social development, stressing cultural, political, gender and environmental influences, and the impact of armed conflict and population migration. Course content is informed by actual field experiences gained by the Burnet Institute in their wide range of health development projects in more than 20 countries in Asia, the Pacific and Africa.

Course objectives

The overall objectives for the course cover 4 main curricular themes:

  • Moral, political, economic and social influences on health and development and implementation of primary health care in less developed countries. By the end of the course students will be able to: describe the history, cornerstones and elements of Primary Health Care and its relationship with politics, economics, development and human rights; describe current global influences on health in less developed countries and current international agreements to address health disparities; analyse the economic, political, cultural, social and gender determinants of health in resource poor settings; and describe the interaction between development, human rights, ethics and health services.
  • Quantitative and qualitative methodology for international health programme planning and evaluation. By the end of the course students will be able to: describe core epidemiological and biostatistical concepts required in public health and the theoretical basis for different types of quantitative and qualitative research performed in relation to human health; be able to critically review the scientific merit (including appropriateness of statistical methodology) of international health research; be able to apply basic quantitative and qualitative tools to primary health care programming in a less developed country setting; and develop appropriate health program management tools, including situational analysis, population surveys, behavioural studies, health information systems, operations research and participatory evaluation.
  • Special issues in international health. By the end of the course students will be able to: comprehend the special health needs of vulnerable and marginalised groups, including women and children, refugees and internally displaced persons; be able to develop in participation with local communities, appropriate and accessible health programs aimed at particular health issues, such as nutritional and chronic diseases, and communicable disease control such as HIV/AIDS; and demonstrate an adequate understanding of the special circumstances and actions required in an acute disaster setting, including a refugee emergency.
  • Practical application of theory and knowledge. By the end of the course students will be able to: design and carry out ethical research to identify health priorities and generate initiatives for policy and action; participate in the development and management of community-based primary health care programs in a less developed country setting, including needs assessments, planning and evaluation, health information collection, and operations research incorporating the essential components of participation and collaboration; and develop community-based health promotion strategies to address community identified health priorities; and demonstrate skills in report writing, oral presentations, verbal and visual communications.

Course structure

The course consists of six core units and six elective units.

Course requirements

Core units

Semester 1
  • ECX9720 Introduction to epidemiology and biostatistics
  • MPH2048 Primary health care in developing countries
  • MPH2055 Health ethics and human rights
Semester 2
  • EPM5023 International research bioethics
  • IDA4120 Community development in a globalising world
Semester 3
  • IDA5220 The art and business of international development, or MPH2049 Field methods for international health planning and evaluation

Plus three electives from the list below.

Elective units

Semester 1
  • ENV432E Environmental health
  • EPM5020 Comparative moral theory and ethics
  • EPM5021 Research with vulnerable populations
  • EPM5024 Research, bioethics and law
  • MPH2053 Public health in refugee settings
Semester 2
  • MPH2050 Health of women and children in developing countries
  • MPH2051 Communicable diseases control in developing countries
  • MPH2054 Nutritional issues in developing countries
  • MPH2057 Aboriginal health
  • MPH2058 Managing community-based HIV programs
  • MPH2082 Health communication and training

Students may also elect to cross-enrol in the following University of Melbourne units:

  • 505 901 International adolescent health
  • 505 902 Disability in developing countries
  • 505 960 Harm reduction: controlling HIV in drug users
  • 505 961 The global health impacts of drug use
  • 505 963 Primary health care (Jamkhed, India) (subject to University of Melbourne accreditation)

or the following La Trobe University units:

  • PHE42HPA Health policy analysis
  • PHE42HPI Health policy issues


Assessment consists of student presentations, written assignments, examinations, practical exercises and class participation.

Contact details

Associate Professor Bebe Loff, course coordinator: telephone +61 3 9903 0587; email or visit

Course coordinator

Associate Professor Bebe Loff