Comparative Health Problems and Policies


About this course

This course offers a critical perspective on public health issues and the policies meant to address those issues. With the analytical tools of a constructionist social problems framework, students will learn to understand the dynamics of public health issues, take a position in debates and advance this position. In order to achieve this goal, students will identify, analyse, asses and compare diverse kinds of research, analyse how health issues are constructed by different actors, evaluate how health problems are addressed in policy and compare how health problems are constructed by different groups and in different societies. On the basis of this sound foundation, they will formulate a well reasoned view on a particular problem, as well as possible solutions, which they will communicate in a convincing manner.
The course consists of lectures, tutorials, individual assignments and group work. Lectures aim to familiarize students with conceptual tools, as well as specific public health issues. In tutorial sessions students work on the literature. In the final assignment, students will present their view on a public health issue.
The course is part of the MSc Communication Health and Life Sciences, specialization Health and Society. It may also be of interest to a wider audience of students eager to increase their skills in critically analyzing the dynamics of social problems in general. With the skills acquired during this course, students will be able to look at social problems through a critical sociological lens, take a well reasoned stance in debates on social problems, and advance this position.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • Assess, analyse and compare diverse forms of research and theory about public health issues
  • Recognize multiple and complex social processes, patterns and dynamics through which public health issues become and are widely recognized as problematic
  • Compare ways by which public health issues are constructed and addressed
  • Formulate one's own sociological view of a public health issue, including its causes, consequences and potential solutions
  • Publicly, compellingly, and with integrity, present one's sociological understanding of a public health issue and potential solutions

Required prior knowledge

Assumed Knowledge:
HSO31806 Social Inequalities in Health

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Wageningen University.


  • Start date

    28 October 2024

    • Ends
      20 December 2024
    • Term *
      Period 2
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      1 Jun, 00:00 - 29 Sept 2024
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University