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Queen Mary Summer School

The International Politics of Global Health

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Academic leads: Dr Maria Berta and Dr Wiam Alashek

Syllabus: SUM4010_The_International_Politics_of_Global_Health [PDF 121KB]

This course will provide you with an introduction to some basic political theory, a history of international politics and global governance, and to the structure of the global political economy. Students will then be given an opportunity to learn about the actors, structures and politics of global health governance and international health policy. This will include learning about global actors such as WHO, the Gates Foundation and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria; as well as the role of civil society organisations and social movements in promoting global health equity.

With these basic building blocks in place, we will examine the following contemporary health issues through a social and political lens: health financing and health sector reform; global pandemic threats and the securitisation of health; the effects of armed conflict on health; and the influence of trade and business on health.

We will also examine health inequalities within the local area of East London  - a part of London which includes both some of the most deprived households in the country, as well as one of the biggest financial and banking hubs in the world. This will include a field trip, as well as a global health 'treasure hunt' in the British Museum.

Course content is subject to change



Course aims

This course will introduce you to basic political theory; globalisation and the global political economy; and the structures, rules, systems and actors of global health governance. You will be introduced to relevant aspects of international relations, international law and global policy as you relate to some of the most pressing current global health priorities.

Teaching and learning

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and field trips.

Learning outcomes

You will learn about:

  • key political concepts and theories related to global health
  • the organisation and conduct of global health governance
  • policies, programmes and responses to the following global health priorities through a political lens: AIDS, TB and malaria; global pandemic threats; migration and refugees; climate change; and universal health coverage.

You will be able to:

  • apply theories of international relations to global health governance
  • analyse global health actors, issues and priorities through a lens of political analysis
  • apply key political concepts and theories to global health
  • describe how global health governance is governed and organised and critically assess the influence of politics in the shaping of global health policy
  • apply policy analysis to the following global health priorities: AIDS, TB and malaria; global pandemic threats; migration and refugees; climate change; and universal health coverage.


Additional costs

All reading material will be provided online, so it is not necessary to purchase any books.

For course and housing fees visit our finance webpage

Entry requirements

We welcome Summer School students from around the world. We accept a range of qualifications

How to apply

Have a question? Get in touch - one of the team will be happy to help!

Applications close 24 May 2024

Teaching dates
Session 1: 30 June - 21 July 2024
Course hours
150 hours (including 45 contact hours)
10 minute oral presentation (50%) to advocate a particular policy position on a contemporary global health controversy. 1000 word written and referenced commentary on a global health topic of your choice (50%).

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