Monash University

Postgraduate - Course

Students who commenced study in 2014 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 applies to students commencing this course in 2014 and 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

School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine: 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.
  • This course must be completed in a minimum of 1.5 years and a maximum of 5 years. The course duration is inclusive of any periods of intermission.
  • This course is only available to international students 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. The 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.


These course outcomes are aligned with the Australian Qualifications Framework level 7, the Bologna Cycle 1 and Monash Graduate AttributesAustralian Qualifications Framework level 7, the Bologna Cycle 1 and Monash Graduate Attributes (

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 consists of core and elective units. The number of electives required will depend on which core units are completed.

Areas of study


Core units

  • MPH5020 Introduction to epidemiology and biostatistics, or MPH5040 Introduction to epidemiology and MPH5041 Introductory biostatistics
  • EPM5023 Ethical issues in international health and research
  • MPH5248 Primary health care in developing countries
  • MPH5249 Field methods for international health planning and evaluation
  • MPH5255 Health and human rights

Elective units

Students select five or six units from the lists below.

Ethics stream

  • EPM5021 Contemporary ethical dilemmas in research
  • EPM5023 Health research and exploitation of vulnerable populations
  • EPM5024 Research, bioethics and law
  • EPM5025 Human research ethics and committees: Ethical review of research and research governance

International Health stream

  • CRH5047 Health ecology and environmental change
  • ECX9750 Principles of health economics for developing countries
  • MPH5250 Health of women and children in developing countries
  • MPH5251 Communicable diseases control in developing countries
  • MPH5253 Public health in refugee settings
  • MPH5254 Nutrition in developing countries
  • MPH5257 Aboriginal health
  • MPH5258 Effective responses to HIV in developing countries
  • MPH5260 Health policy and prevention in a global world
  • MPH5282 Health communications and training
  • MPH5287 Alcohol and other drugs in society: A national and global perspective

Alternative exit(s)

Students wishing to exit this course may apply to graduate with 1884 Graduate Diploma in International Health, provided they have satisfied the requirements for that award.


Master of International Health