SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Global Health and Development

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Taught in:
Term 2

Health and disease has been a major feature of development policy, both in the recent period (Millennium Development Goals), and historically (since the world’s first aid Act sanctioned, in 1929, improving health as a legitimate use of foreign aid). Of the around 230 international organisations and foundations working on development issues, a substantial proportion are related to health. And in macro-studies of development processes, improved (or failing) health outcomes have been directly linked to progress (or otherwise) in broader development aspirations.

This module seeks to provide students with an understanding of key issues and themes in global health and development: to demonstrate the links between health, illness and poverty; to explore how poverty creates particular risks and creates particular challenges for tackling disease; and to understand how global and national health policies have shaped the disease and healing environment in the developing world.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of this module, a student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of key issues relating to global health and development
  • Critically assess the key theories and debates in the literature on issues around global health and development
  • Have a good understanding of a range of health indicators, and how data relating to health should be handled in a critical manner
  • Demonstrate an ability to identify a range of relevant resources in global health and development, and to be able to work with those resources in a critically self-aware way.
  • Demonstrate their ability to analyse a particular global health and development related topic or issue, and to present that understanding and analysis in a succinct way
  • Demonstrate their ability to construct an argument in a deeper examination of a topic related to global health and development


Teaching takes place through a weekly 2 hour lecture and 1 hour tutorial.

Scope and syllabus

The syllabus will cover the following areas:

  • Health, development and poverty
  • Culture, health and illness
  • Social determinants of health
  • Global health governance
  • National health systems
  • Access to health, and health financing
  • Human rights and health
  • Global health campaigns
  • Reproductive health
  • Veterinary medicine

Method of assessment

50% exam, 50% coursework. Each student will be expected to complete one essay of no more than 3000 words (worth 40%) and a briefing report of no more than 1000 words (worth 10%). Resubmission of coursework regulations apply.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules