Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

POPLHLTH 102 - Health and Society

15 Points

Semester 2




A description and analysis of health within a social context. Discusses different models of health and provides a range of explanations for how social factors influence health. Options for addressing these issues are also explored.

What is this course about?

The main aim of this course is to introduce you to the social determinants of health. This course will introduce a framework through which the causes and effects of social inequalities in health can be understood. You will look critically at common assumptions about health, illness, disease and health care. You will develop an understanding of the relationship between social factors and how they impact on health, and particularly how they lead to inequalities. The course also explores interventions that might reduce social inequalities in health.

You will also learn not to look for a ‘correct’ answer, but rather to consider a range of perspectives and interpretations and weigh one against another.

What skills will I develop?

For many students in this course, it will be one of the first experiences of reading and writing academic material. The development of necessary academic skills is a process that lasts the whole of your degree. During this course you will begin to acquire these skills in a systematic way.

The key skills you will begin to develop while you are studying this course include:

  • Note-taking
  • Comprehension of academic sources 
  • How to make sense of academic literature
  • Academic essay writing 
  • How to structure research and ideas in the form of an academic essay
  • How to integrate academic source material into an essay
  • How to correctly reference academic source material
  • Independent research 
  • How to find academic literature relevant to a topic
  • Writing short exam and test answers

During this course, there is an emphasis on developing academic essay writing skills.

How is this course organised?

The course consists of 24 one hour lectures (2 per week) and 10 one hour tutorials (1 per week, apart from Week 1 and Week 6). The course covers the following topics:

  • Models of Health
  • Inequities & Inequalities
  • Frameworks for understanding social inequities in health
  • Socioeconomic Status
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Disability & Mental Health
  • Ethnicity
  • Globalisation & Global Health

What materials will I need for this course?

This course does not have a prescribed textbook.The key resources you will need are:

  • The course information (made available through Canvas)
  • Lecture materials (made available through Canvas)
  • Course readings (made available through Canvas – ‘Library’ or on the course page website.) 

How is this course assessed?

The course is assessed with a mix of essays, test(s) and a final exam.

Course Coordinator

Course Administrator