Monash University

Postgraduate - Course

Students who commenced study in 2012 should refer to this course entry for direction on the requirements; to check which units are currently available for enrolment, refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course.

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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)
Off-campus (Alfred Hospital)
Admission, fee and application details
Contact details

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

Course coordinator

Associate Professor Bebe Loff


  • Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the handbook are not available for study in the current year.
  • + International students - this course is only available in on-campus mode


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 service.

Quantitative and qualitative methodology for international health program 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 and ethical 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 research and 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.


This course comprises six or seven core units and five or six elective units.


Core units

  • ECX9720 Introduction to epidemiology and biostatistics OR units MPH1040 Introductory epidemiology + MPH1041 Introductory biostatistics
  • ECX9720 Introduction to epidemiology and biostatistics
  • MPH1040 Introductory epidemiology
  • MPH1041 Introductory biostatistics
  • MPH2055 Health and human rights
  • APG4772 Community development in a globalising world
  • MPH2048 Primary health care in developing countries
  • MPH2049 Field methods for international health planning and evaluation
  • EPM5023 Health research and exploitation of vulnerable populations

Elective units

Students select five or six units from the list below.

Ethics stream

  • EPM5020 Comparative moral theory and ethics
  • EPM5021 Research with vulnerable populations
  • APG5733 Health care ethics
  • EPM5023 Health research and exploitation of vulnerable populations (separate amendment form)
  • EPM5024 Research, bioethics and law
  • APG5805 The art and business of international development
  • EPM5025 Human research ethics and committees: ethical review of research and research governance

International Health stream

  • MPH2050 Health of women and children in developing countries
  • MPH2051 Communicable diseases control in developing countries
  • MPH2053 Public health in refugee settings
  • MPH2054 Nutrition in developing countries
  • MPH2057 Aboriginal health
  • MPH2058 Effective responses to HIV in developing countries
  • MPH2060 Health policy and prevention in a global world
  • MPH2082 Health communications and training
  • MPH5087 Alcohol and other drugs in society: a national and global perspective
  • ECX9750 Principles of health economics for developing countries
  • CRH5047 Health ecology and environmental change

Alternative exit(s)

Students may exit this course with the Graduate Diploma in International Health providing all the requirements for that course have been met.


Master of International Health