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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Postgraduate - Course

This course entry should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Managing facultyMedicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Abbreviated titleMIH
CRICOS code054588J
Total credit points required72
Standard duration of study (years)1.5 years FT, 3 years PT
Study mode and locationOn-campus (Alfred Hospital)
Contact details

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

Course coordinator

Associate Professor Bebe Loff


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 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.


The overall objectives for the course cover four 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • develop community-based health promotion strategies to address community identified health priorities
  • demonstrate skills in report writing, oral presentations, verbal and visual communications.


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


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


Core units

Year one

Semester one
  • ECX9720 Introduction to epidemiology and biostatistics
  • IDA4120 Community development in a globalising world
  • MPH2048 Primary health care in developing countries, or 505 963 Primary health care (run by the University of Melbourne, Jamkhed, India)
  • MPH2055 Health ethics and human rights
Semester two
  • EPM5023 International research bioethics
  • two electives chosen from the semester two elective units list

Year two

Semester one
  • IDA5220 The art and business of international development, or MPH2049 Field methods for international health planning and evaluation
  • three electives

Elective units

Students select six units from the lists below.

Semester one

  • ENV432E Environment and health
  • EPM5020 Comparative moral theory and ethics
  • EPM5021 Research with vulnerable populations
  • EPM5024 Research, bioethics and law
  • MPH2053 Public health in refugee settings

Semester two

  • 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

Cross-institutional units

Students may also elect to 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

Students may also elect to enrol in the following La Trobe University units:

  • PHE42HPA Health policy analysis
  • PHE42HPI Health policy issues

Alternative exit(s)

Students may exit after 48 credit points of study with the Graduate Diploma in International Health providing all the requirements for that course have been met.


Master of International Health