• Offered by School of Demography
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Demography
  • Areas of interest Anthropology, Gender Studies, Australian Indigenous Studies, Public Health
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Collin Payne
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2021
    See Future Offerings

This course is designed to introduce students to the social and socio-structural factors influencing the health of individuals and populations. The first portion of the course will centre on how to measure and interpret common metrics of health, such as measures of morbidity, illness, disability, and life expectancy. Subsequently, we will explore human health from a historical perspective, learning about the primary factors that have driven massive health improvements over the past century. Emphasis will be placed on the similarities, and differences, in these health transitions across high-, middle-, and low-income contexts. We will then explore the social and structural factors underlying health disparities both across populations and between individuals, including the roles of gender, wealth, educational attainment, occupation, ethnicity, and immigrant status. We will discuss emerging trends that threaten these continued improvements—obesity, cardiovascular disease, smoking, drug overdose, and dementia. In these discussions, we will focus on the role of social relationships in affecting health, and the ways that inequality, social stigma, and biases can perpetuate detrimental health behaviours. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. calculate and explain population health measures to describe infant and child health, adult health, disability, and mortality;
  2. generate and understand quantitative findings through figures, graphs, and tables;
  3. identify the primary determinants of population health in both high and low-income contexts;
  4. understand the role of quantitative and qualitative research methods for exploring disparities in health; and
  5. characterise the current barriers to improved population health faced by high and low income contexts.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Quizzes x 10 (2% each) (20) [LO 1,2,3]
  2. Critical analysis papers x 2 (~750 words, 15% each) (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  3. Op-ed data assignment (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  4. Final op-ed (~800 words) (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  5. Final op-ed presentation (10) [LO 2,3,5]
  6. Participation in tutorial sessions (10) [LO 3,4,5]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from: 

a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 12 hours of tutorials, and 24 hours of online content such as recorded lectures, videos, podcasts, and other online materials;

b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 12 units of 1000 or 2000 level ANU courses.

Prescribed Texts

Mel Bartley. Health Inequality: An Introduction to Concepts, Theories and Methods, 2nd Edition. ISBN: 978-0-745-69110-7

A number of required readings will come from this text, which is available as an e-book. Ideally, the library would purchase a multiple user license for this e-book.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $3180
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $4890
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
Social disparities in health
7254 26 Jul 2021 02 Aug 2021 14 Sep 2021 29 Oct 2021 In Person View

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions