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Unit of study_

HPOL5001: Health Systems and Financing

Semester 1, 2024 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit aims to equip students with operational knowledge of the structures and financing of health systems. The focus will be on Australia and comparable countries. However, we will also look at particular issues around lower income and aid dependent health systems. Topics covered include the organisation of health systems, funding priorities and mechanisms, administration of health care, and debates over the public-private mix, governance and accountability. By the end of this unit students will be able to: Apply a critical understanding of the history and features of the Australian and comparable health systems; Debate the main models and principles of health system funding, including principles of insurance, risk-pooling, equity, delivery, payment models and governance; Undertake a cross-country comparative analysis of health system features and outcomes; Critically analyse national health budgets and funding programs; Locate finance policy in the wider context of health systems and economies.

Unit details and rules

Unit code HPOL5001
Academic unit Public Health
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Carmen Huckel Schneider,
Lecturer(s) Carmen Huckel Schneider,
Tutor(s) Alex de Souza,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment A3: Analysis of key concept for health system reform
Written assessment
40% Formal exam period
Due date: 06 Jun 2024 at 23:59
2500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Participation A4: Compulsory contributions
5% Multiple weeks n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Tutorial quiz A1: System frameworks and the Australian health system quiz
Quiz covering content weeks 1-4
15% Week 04 1 hour
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment A2: Comparative health systems analysis
Written assessment
40% Week 07
Due date: 09 Apr 2024 at 23:59
2500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO1

Assessment summary

Detailed information about assessments can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an exceptional standard, asdefined in marking rubrics for individual assessments.


75 - 84

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a very high standard, as defined in marking rubrics for individual assessments.


65 - 74

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a good standard, as defined in marking rubrics for individual assessments.


50 - 64

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an acceptable standard, as defined in marking rubrics for individual assessments.


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Late penalties will be applied in accordance with the rules of the Sydney School of Public Health.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

Support for students

The Support for Students Policy 2023 reflects the University’s commitment to supporting students in their academic journey and making the University safe for students. It is important that you read and understand this policy so that you are familiar with the range of support services available to you and understand how to engage with them.

The University uses email as its primary source of communication with students who need support under the Support for Students Policy 2023. Make sure you check your University email regularly and respond to any communications received from the University.

Learning resources and detailed information about weekly assessment and learning activities can be accessed via Canvas. It is essential that you visit your unit of study Canvas site to ensure you are up to date with all of your tasks.

If you are having difficulties completing your studies, or are feeling unsure about your progress, we are here to help. You can access the support services offered by the University at any time:

Support and Services (including health and wellbeing services, financial support and learning support)
Course planning and administration
Meet with an Academic Adviser

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Foundations of Health Systems 1: Perspectives Online class (8 hr) LO2 LO5
Week 02 Foundations of Health Systems 2: Fundamental frameworks Workshop (8 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 03 Foundations of Health Systems 3: History and politics of the Australian health system Online class (8 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5
Week 04 Comparing Health Systems 1: Classifying Health Systems – Bismarck, Beveridge and Co. Workshop (8 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5
Week 05 Comparing health systems 2: The metrics Online class (8 hr) LO2 LO3 LO5
Week 06 Comparing health systems 3: Beyond the metrics Workshop (8 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5
Week 07 Financing and payment models 1: How does funding flow? where does it go? Online class (8 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5
Week 08 Financing and payment models 2: The rise (and fall?) of DRGs Workshop (8 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 09 Reforming health systems 1: Parties, politics and health policy reform Online class (8 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 10 Reforming health systems 2: (Dis)-integration in health systems Workshop (8 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 11 Reforming health systems 3: Linking Health and Social Care systems Online class (8 hr) LO1 LO5
Week 12 Health System Resilience and Sustainability Workshop (8 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 13 SWOT Week Independent study (10 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Readings for this unit can be accessed through Canvas page.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. apply a critical understanding of the basic history and features of the Australian and comparable health systems
  • LO2. debate the main models and principles of health system funding, including principles of insurance, risk-pooling, equity, delivery, and governance
  • LO3. undertake a cross-country comparative analysis of health system features and outcomes, including low and middle income countries
  • LO4. (critically) analyse national health budgets and funding programs
  • LO5. locate finance policy in the wider context of health systems and economies.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

The content of this unit has been revised to introduce new current case studies focusing around health system reform at state and federal levels; as well as in depth comparative case studies drawing on University of Sydney research.

Work, health and safety

There are no specific WHS requirements for this unit


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.