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TM5506 - Social Science in Public Health

Credit points: 3
Year: 2023
Student Contribution Band: Band 2
Administered by: College of Public Health, Medical and Vet Sciences

The subject seeks to provide students with a conceptual and theoretical foundation for studying the ways in which social and cultural factors influence the incidence and understanding of, and societies' responses to, health and illness. Topics covered include: social analysis, an introductory conceptual toolkit; health and illness as culturally-shaped constructs; the social environment, social capital and health; medical encounters as socially-structured events; health systems, health services and health, and macro-social determinants of health and disease. Approaches to integrating social and biomedical explanations for health and illness will be examined. In addition, the subject will provide an introduction to the use of social science research methods in public health research, and to health program evaluation and policy analysis. Throughout the course, key theoretical and empirical issues will be explored with reference to selected public health issues.

Learning Outcomes

  • critically reflect on the social organisation of contemporary public health practice through the application of social science concepts and theory;
  • evaluate and synthesise sociological theoretical propositions and methodologies relating to public health practice from the individual to system levels;
  • design evaluation research projects related to the social aspects of public health practice;
  • communicate complex ideas and recommendations through high level written communication skills to specialist audiences.

Subject Assessment

  • Written > Essay (including multi-draft) 1 - (25%) - Individual
  • Participation > Online participation - (25%) - Individual
  • Written > Essay (including multi-draft) 2 - (50%) - Individual.

Special Assessment Requirements

Achieve an overall percentage of 50% or more; Complete and submit all assessment


Study Period 2, External
Census Date 24-Aug-2023
Coord/Lect: Assoc. Professor Sue Devine, Ms Julie Parison.
Workload expectations:
  • 130 hours online activity - Self directed online learning and assessment
Method of Delivery: WWW - LearnJCU

Note: Minor variations might occur due to the continuous Subject quality improvement process, and in case of minor variation(s) in assessment details, the Subject Outline represents the latest official information.