Insegnamento a.a. 2023-2024


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Class timetable
Exam timetable
Go to class group/s: 31
CLEAM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - CLEF (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - CLEACC (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - BESS-CLES (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - WBB (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - BIEF (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - BIEM (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - BIG (6 credits - I sem. - OBS  |  SPS/04) - BEMACS (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - BAI (6 credits - I sem. - OP  |  SPS/04)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (I sem.)
Class 31: RENU SINGH

Synchronous Blended: Lezioni erogate in modalità sincrona in aula (max 1 ora per credito online sincrona)

Mission & Content Summary


What is the relationship between global health and policy? What are the socioeconomic and political determinants of disease? How have such tiny microorganisms affected the government and politics of states, supranational institutions, and non-state actors throughout history and today? Who are the key actors involved in global health governance and security? And what are key political consequences and concerns of global health policy? This course grapples with these questions as an interdisciplinary take on the complex relationship between government, governance, health, and policy issues through the lens of public policy, political science, and public health. Theoretical concepts from all three fields will be studied and used to analyze real-world problems and evaluate policy options to deal with them from across the globe. The course does not assume any previous knowledge of microbiology, public health, or epidemiology.


The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the politics of global health in a comparative and interdisciplinary context. The course will begin with a few introductory lectures on science policy, global health politics, and how to do research in the class. This is followed by a unit focusing on the socioeconomic, political, and natural determinants of health and disease. Unit II then delves into more international relations questions of sovereignty, statehood, and health security and diplomacy. This builds into a third unit on the stakeholders involved in the politics of infectious disease and health. Finally, the last unit will involve applying the concepts throughout class to pandemics and epidemics from the past and future, and it will also include a Model UN simulation. 



Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...


•Have a thorough understanding of the science and technology studies, public policy and administration, and global health governance literatures in the context of policymaking and global health


•Have a solid grasp of qualitative, quantitative, and multi-methods research designs that are used to analyze health policy outcomes


•Have knowledge of key determinants of disease, stakeholders in public health politics, and governance issues in responding to public health emergencies



At the end of the course student will be able to...

Students will gain the experience of and skills in:


•Critical thinking: eg understanding academic and applied readings and arguments, analyzing their merit, developing their own informed opinions and structuring arguments in their writing and class discussions


•Multi-method analysis: eg comparing country cases in the contexts of class discussions, learning how to apply qualitative and quantitative methods to their own research paper


•Research design: eg designing a research question, developing hypotheses, collecting data, and analyzing it for the final research project

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
  • Individual assignments
  • Interactive class activities on campus/online (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)


Face-to-face lectures will allow students to build a foundation of understanding about the main concepts important for the content of the course.


Guest speakers will give insight into their real-world expertise with global health politics and policymaking.


Case studies and interactive class activities (Model UN simulation) will allow for structured student engagement with the materials from the course in an applied way.


Individual assignments will allow for students to structure their own thoughts on topics from the course in written form.

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  • Individual assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • Active class participation (virtual, attendance)


The course will have the following assessments:


1.     Regular readings for each class meeting

These will not be directly tested on the exam, but they will help you understand key concepts. Reading all of them is optional


2.     One short response paper based on specific weekly readings of 200-250 words 

Responses will be graded on a 10-point scale. A good response paper will involve engagement with the readings and not simply regurgitation (e.g. connecting a reading to current events, linking themes in readings from multiple weeks, or discussing disagreements between readings). Responses should not simply summarize a reading or readings. These papers are meant to ensure that students are engaging with the reading materials. 


3.     Regular attendance and participation in class discussion, including the Infectious Disease Simulation 

Students will be expected to ask questions and engage in discussion in class, whether in the classroom or online. Further, the Infectious Disease Simulation will require students to participate as delegates in a Model UN simulation, representing the country assigned to them during a public health crisis. Assignments will be given in advance. A simulation about an outbreak based on recent world events will be developed, and students will be required to be prepared to discuss the problem at hand, possible solutions they are proposing, and the feasibility and political rationale for the said solution given their delegate assignment.


4.     One research memo 

Students will be asked to write a policy memo (maximum of 1500 words). The memo will discuss the relative value of global health security versus global health diplomacy in the context of a chosen socioeconomic, political, or natural source of disease. Students will be expected to draw on assigned readings and lecture materials, but also to include additional sources that increase their familiarity with the relevant global health policy problem of their choosing. The assignment aims to help students improve their writing, research, and analytic skills. Further instructions will be provided in class.


5.     One final exam 


The assessment will be based on an exam that covers the entire content of the lectures for 100% of the grade.

Teaching materials


The course materials will consist of journal articles, media articles, and book chapters, all of which will be provided online. 

Last change 05/06/2023 15:13