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Unit of study_

HPOL5003: Analysing Health Policy

Semester 2, 2023 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Health policy analysis involves examining the components of health policy and the health policy process. It is the study of both the causes of policy decisions and the consequences of these decisions. Health policy analysis requires us to consider the complexity of policy making, and the political, economic, social, cultural and historical context within which this occurs. This unit aims to develop skills for undertaking health policy research and analysis and is underpinned by systems thinking principles to equip students with the skills to embrace complexity in researching and evaluating health policy. We take a multidisciplinary approach to familiarise students with fundamental frameworks and methodologies that can be applied to health policy research and analysis. By the end of the unit students will be able to: Define policy and formulate research questions that can be used to analyse policy and policy processes; Understand and apply systems thinking approaches to policy analysis; Understand and explain the different methodological approaches and research paradigms that can be applied in policy analysis; Apply a critical analysis to a case study of policy success or failure; Identify appropriate study designs, research methodologies, data collection methods and analysis frameworks for specific policy research questions; Design a systems thinking-informed analysis of a current policy.

Unit details and rules

Unit code HPOL5003
Academic unit Public Health
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Gai Moore,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Research Project Proposal
Research Proposal
50% Formal exam period
Due date: 17 Nov 2023 at 23:59
3000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Small continuous assessment Assessable Learning Tasks
15% Multiple weeks 1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3
Assignment Case Study Analysis
35% Week 07
Due date: 15 Sep 2023 at 23:59
2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment 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, as defined 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.

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.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week -01 Familiarise yourself with the resources in ‘Getting Started,’ ‘Unit Outline,’ Assessment', and 'Timetable' pages on Canvas Independent study (1 hr)  
Week 01 Introduction to health policy analysis and systems thinking Independent study (7 hr) LO1
Week 02 Research paradigms in health policy analysis Independent study (7 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Workshop 1: Health policy analysis, systems thinking and research paradigms Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO3
Week 03 Case studies and comparative approaches Independent study (7 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 04 Analysing policy success Independent study (7 hr) LO2
Workshop 2: Case study approaches and analysing policy success Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 05 Dominant frameworks for health policy analysis Independent study (7 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 06 Alternative frameworks for health policy analysis Independent study (7 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Workshop 3: Frameworks for health policy analysis Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO4
Week 07 Independent study (SWOT week) Independent study (7 hr)  
Week 08 Designing health policy research Independent study (7 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Workshop 4: Designing health policy research Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 09 Complexity and systems-thinking approaches to health policy analysis Independent study (7 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 10 Health policy evaluation Independent study (7 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Workshop 5: Health policy evaluation and systems approaches Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 11 Interpretivist approaches to health policy research and analysis Independent study (7 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 12 Independent study Independent study (7 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4

Attendance and class requirements

All students are expected to attend their scheduled workshop sessions (evening workshops via Zoom are available for online students).

Please get in touch with the unit coordinator if you are unable to attend your timetabled workshops. 

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

Required readings will be available on the Canvas site.

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. define policy and formulate research questions that can be used to analyse policy and policy processes
  • LO2. apply a critical analysis to questions of policy success or failure
  • LO3. understand and explain the different methodological approaches that can be applied in policy research
  • LO4. identify appropriate research methodologies, data collection methods, and analysis for specific policy research questions
  • LO5. design a systems thinking informed health policy research project.

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.

We continue to improve the structure and content of the course in response to student feedback. Improvements for 2023 include a 'traffic light' system to distinguish between essential, important and supplementary readings in response to feedback on the volume of readings for this course, the option of face-to-face (afternoon) or online (evening) workshops to suit different schedules, and a reduction from 5 to 3 assessed discussion board tasks to reduce the burden of assessment. We also have weekly drop-in sessions for students to attend if they want additional support. We have also made various enhancements to improve the overall experience of learners in 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.

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