Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

POPLHLTH 733 - Health Promotion Theory and Models

15 Points

Semester 2



Examines the values, theories and practice models of health promotion and in particular, an approach to the social determinants of health and health equity that seeks to empower individuals and groups to deal with these issues.

Course content and aims

Goals of the course

To introduce student to the theories and frameworks associated with a determinants’ perspective and an empowering health promotion practice. Overall, the course has a two-fold objective: for students interested in health promotion careers, the course will develop their ability to undertake research-informed critical practice. Alternatively, the paper will prepare them with skills for further post-graduate research and scholarship in areas of health promotion.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Explain the principles and foundations of health promotion. The course will introduce students to health promotion as a discipline of study and as practice.
  • Discuss the structural analyses of health. By the end of the course, students will be able to explain, drawing on ‘determinants’ frameworks, the multi-level nature of the social and political structures that cause ill-health and the linkages between them.
  • Describe and critique empowerment approaches. The focus of this course is to reinforce the empowerment nature of health promotion. Students will appreciate the complexity of what constitutes ‘empowerment’ and how it might play out in localised health contexts.
  • Undertake critical social analyses of health problems. Students will be exposed to a range of theoretical frameworks. They will learn to explain and apply select frameworks to the analysis of health inequity within and between countries.
  • Appreciate diversity. Students will be able to discuss diverse and gender approaches in health promotion.
  • Envision futures. Through an understanding of the structural and political basis for health and ill-health, the paper facilitates strategic thinking about what might constitute a health-promoting society
  • Critically appraise health promotion as practice. The paper encourages students to think about assumptions underlying the ‘doing’ of health promotion – what it reveals about the values and assumptions that underpin health in society.

In addition, through the teaching and assessment structure of the course, students will develop academic analyses, research and writing skills.

Content outline

The course runs over the second semester and the formal teaching is conducted in 8 half days.

Programme and course advice

The course is most appropriate for those who wish to explore the theory and future potential of health promotion as well as for those are already in or who intend working in the health promotion workforce.

POPLHLTH733 is an elective course for those enrolled in the Diploma or Masters in Public Health or Health Sciences. It is a compulsory course for students enrolled in the Masters of Health Practice in the Health Promotion pathway.

It is also an elective course for students in BHSc Honours. Honours students wishing to take this course will need a Personal Course of Study approved by the programme director.

Learning and teaching

The course is delivered over four full-day sessions at Tāmaki Campus in a workshop format. Please see your timetable on SSO or Building 730 Reception noticeboard on the day for the room details.

Speakers contribute their experience and international case studies provide further information on activities already undertaken. Both individual and group work is undertaken and the class is expected to be interactive and to provide feedback to each other as ideas are presented.

Learning resources 

Students are provided access to online course pages in CANVAS which is the University’s online Learning Management System. These pages give the course outline, objectives for each session and recommended reading. All PowerPoint presentations and additional course materials are available through CANVAS.

Students are encouraged to use the internet for access to literature. Required books are on short term loan in the Library at the Tamaki campus.


The course assessment consists of:

  • Topic Essay (25%)
  • Critical Reviews (20%)
  • Discussion Document broken into smaller components – proposal, draft and final paper (45%)
  • Class engagement activities (10%)

Course Director

Course Administrator