Course syllabus for

Health Systems and Policy, 10 credits

Hälsosystem och policy, 10 hp
This course syllabus is valid from autumn 2020.
Please note that the course syllabus is available in the following versions:
Autumn2017 , Autumn2020 , Autumn2022
Course code
Course name
Health Systems and Policy
10 credits
Form of Education
Higher Education, study regulation 2007
Main field of study 
Medical Management 
AV - Second cycle 
Grading scale
Fail (U), pass (G) or pass with distinction (VG)
Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics
Decided by
Utbildningsnämnden LIME
Decision date
Revised by
Education committee LIME
Last revision
Course syllabus valid from
Autumn 2020

Specific entry requirements

A Bachelor's degree or a professional degree equivalent to a Swedish Bachelor's degree of at least 180 credits in public health science, healthcare or other relevant social sciences subject area. And proficiency in English equivalent to English B/English 6.


To give an introduction of how health systems function and how health policy is shaped and implemented. Further, to expand on the role health system research plays in evidence informed policy-making and implementation.

After completion of the course, students should :

Knowledge and understanding
-  to decribe the major theories and frameworks for health policy and systems analysis and how these can be applied in different contexts;
-  to describe how health policies are made through the interrelationship of context, content, process and actors;
-  to describe how the policy agenda is created .

Skills and abilities, to be able
- to integrate this knowledge and understanding in order to independently analyse different types of health systems and connected policy implications, including the role of the state for the public and private sector;
- to independently identify and formulate both essential and challenging issues for functioning health systems;
- to identify and adapt theories and frameworks in health systems to study specific problems within their context
- to differentiate which research and evaluation designs as well as quantitative and qualitative methods are appropriate for specific health policy and systems questions and contexts
- to demonstrate the skill required to participate in health systems research and development work.

Judgement and approach
- to make critical assessments of health systems, taking into account relevant scientific, social and equity aspects, and demonstrate an awareness of ethical aspects of research and development work;
- to demonstrate insight into the potential and limitations of science, and its role in society ;


The health policy framework: context, content, process and actors;
The WHO framework for analysing health systems;
Systems thinking and what it means for health systems;
Leadership and governance: coordination, regulation, accountability;
Policy - process and power;
Service delivery;
Human resources for health;
Health policy and financing;
Medicinal drug policies: Laws, production, selection, distribution, access, rational use, quality;
Barriers and facilitators for implementation of system changes in healthcare;
Health system and policy research and evaluation: research and evaluation designs, quantitative and qualitative
methods, synthesising and communicating research evidence;

Applying a systems perspective to design and evaluate health systems interventions;
Analysing different levels of the health system focusing on universal coverage and quality

Teaching methods

A mix of interactive lectures, seminars, group-work and individual assignments. Web-based learning and interaction will be used. Major parts of the course will be allocated to individual and group work assignments. Students will write diaries with reflections and comments on specific topics brought up during the course.


- Written and oral assignments.

The requirement for the grade Pass with distinction (VG) is VG on the individual assignment, and pass (G) on remaining assignments.

Compulsory participation
Attendance in mandatory parts. 

The examiner assesses if, and in that case how, absence can be compensated. Before the student has participated in all compulsory parts or compensated absence in accordance with the examiner's instructions, the student's results for respective part will not be registered. Absence from a compulsory activity may result in that the student cannot compensate the absence until the next time the course is given.

Limitation of number of occasions for the examination
Students who have not passed the regular examination are entitled to participate in five more examinations. If the student has not passed the exam after four participations, he/she is encouraged to visit the study advisor. If the student has failed six examinations/tests, no additional examination or new admission is provided.

The number of times that the student has participated in one and the same examination is regarded as an examination session.
Submission of blank exam is regarded as an examination session. An examination for which the student registered but not participated in, will not be counted as an examination.

If there are special grounds, or a need for adaptation for a student with a disability, the examiner may decide to deviate from the syllabus's regulations on the examination form, the number of examination opportunities, the possibility of supplementation or exemptions from the compulsory section/s of the course etc. Content and learning outcomes as well as the level of expected skills, knowledge and abilities may not be changed, removed or reduced.

Transitional provisions

Examination will be provided during a time of two years after a possible cancellation of the course. Examination can take place according to an earlier literature list during a time of one year after the date when a major renewal of the literature list has been made.

Other directives

Course evaluation will be carried out in accordance with the guidelines established by the Committee for Higher Education.

The course language is English.

Literature and other teaching aids

Gilson (ed), Lucy Health policy and systems research: a methodology reader
Buse, Kent.; Mays, Nicholas.; Walt, Gillian. Making health policy
Completion of scientific articles will be added throughout the course