The planning, financing, and organisation of health services is becoming an increasingly important concern for countries across the globe. Lower income countries are looking to transition to a universal coverage model, middle income countries are scaling up health provision, and higher income countries are facing challenges with service cost-effectiveness, health equity, an aging population and workforce shortages.
By studying MSc Health Policy, Planning and Financing, you will gain a holistic perspective of policy making that is relevant to countries at all levels of development. You’ll discover how to critically analyse health system issues, evaluate the effectiveness of policies, and devise appropriate health policy responses.
Co-designed and co-delivered with the London School of Economics & Political Science (the LSE), you’ll benefit from the expertise, resources and networks available at both institutions. And with staff who are world-leading researchers in their subjects, you’ll hear about the latest research and developments in the field from true global experts. By the end of the course, you could be making valuable contributions to local, national, or international health services and systems.
What you will learn
- Critically understand a diverse range of international and national health policies, including current and emerging trends
- Gain knowledge of selected topics related to the study of health policy, planning and financing, such as epidemiology, health economics, and social sciences
- Develop skills in applying conceptual and theoretical knowledge using a multidisciplinary approach to formulate, design, implement, evaluate and appraise health policies and plans
- Know how to assess and communicate empirical evidence, including critically appraising debates relevant to issues of health policy
- Grow your research and presentation skills, including the ability to plan and carry out a literature search to evaluate research findings
The aims and learning outcomes are detailed in the programme specification.
Taught by research-active academics, you’ll benefit from their knowledge and cutting-edge insights. You’ll also work alongside peers from a diverse range of countries, enabling you to learn first-hand insight about the varying health systems and health challenges faced around the world.
All of this will prepare you to work towards your dissertation in the area that interests you. Whether that’s health policy and politics, behavioural incentive design, pharmaceutical economics and policy, or one of the many other topics you’ll study. This is where you’ll apply your new skills to complete in-depth policy analysis and independent research, consolidating your learning and building confidence to influence the health policy, planning and financing field.
Who is it for?
We designed this course for anyone interested in understanding policy making for health services from a nuanced position, to make effective decisions in the delivery of health services in low-, middle- and high-income settings.
Students come from a wide variety of backgrounds – and most have experience working in health policy or public health services. Perhaps you’re looking to progress your career, or you’d like to change roles to work for an international organisation or global charity. Whatever your background, you’ll have at least one year’s experience working in health services or policy-related work. This means you’ll be working alongside students who have an enormous wealth of expertise in clinical, policy, or research-related settings with relevance to health.
Soon, you could be influencing national and global health policy and planning, leading health policy research, or working in advisory or advocacy roles in governments and international agencies.
One year year full-time or part-time over two years. Ways to study explained.
Health Policy, Planning & Financing
Watch programme directors and students talk about the programme.
“The programme is an absolute gem amidst the multitude of programmes in London. As a joint programme between LSHTM and LSE, you get to enjoy the amenities and resources of two top-tier schools at the same time."
The below structure outlines the proposed modules for this programme. Programme and module specifications provide full details about the aims and objectives of each module, what you will study and how the module is assessed.
- Structure of the year
Term 1 (September - December) consists of ten teaching weeks plus one Reading Week* in the middle of the term. Followed by the Winter break.
Term 2 (January - March) consists of a further ten weeks of teaching plus a Reading Week in the middle of the term. Followed by the Spring break.
Term 3 (April - September) consists of five weeks of teaching for the final module, and the project report.
*Reading Week is a week during term where no formal teaching takes place. It is a time for private study, preparing for assessments or attending study/computer skills workshops. There are two Reading Weeks at LSHTM: one in November and the other in February.
- Term 1
All students must take one compulsory module from each institution:
- Financing Health Care (LSE)
- Health Services or Health Policy, Process & Power (LSHTM)
Students must also take one additional semi-compulsory module from each institution from the following:
- Basic Epidemiology (LSHTM)
- Introduction to Health Economics (LSHTM) - may not be taken in conjunction with Health Economics (LSE)
- Issues in Public Health (LSHTM)
- Health Policy, Process & Power (LSHTM) - may not be taken in conjunction with Introduction to Health Policy & Politics (LSE)
- Health Services (LSHTM)
- Health Economics (LSE) - may not be taken in conjunction with Introduction to Health Economics (LSHTM)
- Introduction to Health Policy & Politics - may not be taken in conjunction with Health Policy, Process & Power (LSHTM)
- Health Systems and Policies in Developing Countries
- Pharmaceutical Economics and Policy (note: this is a Term 2 option, so if students select this as their semi-compulsory choice, they can take a different LSE option from an approved list in Term 1)
- Terms 2 and 3
Students take two additional modules from each institution, including (but not restricted to) the following subject to availability:
- Economic Evaluation (LSHTM)
- Health Care Evaluation (LSHTM)
- Sociological Approaches to Health (LSHTM)
- Conflict & Health (LSHTM)
- Design & Analysis of Epidemiological Studies (LSHTM)
- Health Systems (LSHTM)
- Economic Analysis for Health Policy (LSHTM)
- Evaluation of Public Health Interventions (LSHTM)
- Organisational Management (LSHTM)
- Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases (LSHTM)
- Globalisation & Health (LSHTM)
- Health Decision Science (LSHTM)
- Reviewing the Literature (LSHTM)
- Advanced Health Economics (LSE)
- Evidence Appraisal for Health Policy Analysis (LSE)
- Evidence Review and Synthesis for Decision Making (LSE)
- Global Health Policy: Institutions, Actors and Politics (LSE)
- Health Care Economic Evaluation (LSE)
- Behavioural Incentive Design in Health and Health Care (LSE)
- Economic Analysis for Health Policy in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LSE)
- Global Health Security (LSE)
- Health Care Regulation (LSE)
- Measuring Health System Performance (LSE)
- Mental Health Policy (LSE)
- Randomised Evaluations of Health Programmes: From Design to Implementation (LSE)
- Statistical Methods in Health Care Economic Evaluation (LSE)
- Social Determinants of Health (LSE)
- Any of the semi-compulsory LSE options listed above not already taken.
In all cases, each student's full set of module choices must be approved by the Programme Directors at LSE and LSHTM in order to confirm that students' choices fit with their stated career aims and form a coherent set of modules for the MSc. Students must also meet the entrance requirements for each particular module. Guidance will be provided in the programme handbook, to outline the key differences between recommended modules and provide comments where relevant on optional modules - to help both students and tutors differentiate between and make module choices most appropriately.
- Project report
As the last major component of the programme, students undertake a research project on a relevant topic – assessed through a written dissertation. The project should be an independent piece of work, appropriately guided and supported by a supervisor and other relevant staff. Substantive work, including any travel or fieldwork, should start after the exams in the summer.
Please note: Should it be the case that you are unable to travel overseas or access laboratories in order to complete your project, you will be able to complete an alternative desk-based project allowing you to obtain your qualification within the original time frame. Alternatively, you will be able to defer your project to the following year.
Changes to the programme
LSHTM will seek to deliver this programme in accordance with the description set out on this programme page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for LSHTM to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. For further information, please see our page on changes to courses.
In order to be admitted to an LSHTM master's degree programme, an applicant must:
- hold either a first degree at Second Class Honours (2:2) standard in a relevant discipline, or a degree in medicine recognised by the UK General Medical Council (GMC) for the purposes of practising medicine in the UK, or another degree of equivalent standard awarded by an overseas institution recognised by UK ENIC or the GMC.
- hold a professional qualification appropriate to the programme of study to be followed obtained by written examinations and judged by LSHTM to be equivalent to a Second Class Honours (2:2) degree or above.
- have relevant professional experience or training which is judged by LSHTM to be equivalent to a Second Class Honours (2:2) degree or above.
If you have not previously studied in the UK, you can check our guide to international equivalent qualifications for our master's degrees.
Additionally for the MSc Health Policy, Planning & Financing, applicants should ideally have prior work experience in areas relating to health, policy, planning and financing. Preference will be given to such candidates given the competitive nature of this course. A minimum of one year’s experience in health policy or public health related work is recommended.
Any undergraduate degree subject at Second Class Honours standard can be acceptable with a demonstrable commitment to health, policy, planning and financing.
Applicants who do not meet the minimum entry requirement, but who have relevant professional experience may still be eligible for admission. Qualifications and experience will be assessed from the application.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you will need to meet these requirements: Band B
Please see our English language requirements for more information.
Access and widening participation
At LSHTM we are committed to ensuring that excellent students feel encouraged to apply for a course of study with us. We have introduced an innovative contextual admissions system that is designed to support those students who have faced the greatest barriers to their learning. More information on widening participation at LSHTM.
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Graduates from this joint programme provided by the School and the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) enter a diverse range of positions in global health and national health policy and planning, research, advisory or advocacy roles in governments and international agencies.
Below you will find just a few of the positions and organisations that our graduates from this course have entered:
- Example job titles:
Advocacy officer for a medical NGO
Health Policy Consultant
Health Research and Policy Officer
Planning and Evaluation Economist
Policy and Public Affairs manager
Specialist Registrar (Infectious and Respiratory Diseases)
Teaching Fellow in Global Health
- Example organisations:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
LSE (The London School of Economics and Political Science)
McKinsey & Company
Medecins Sans Frontieres
Ministère de la Santé Française (French Ministry of Health)
Ministry of Health
Ministry of Labour and Social Policy
Overseas Development Institute
Royal College of Physicians
Save the Children
World Health Organisation
HealthTech Women UK
Hear from Lizna, MSc Health Policy, Planning & Financing student
Lizna shares her experience of studying the MSc Health Policy, Planning & Financing at LSHTM.
Applications should be made online and will only be considered once you have provided all required information and supporting documentation.
Please also read LSHTM's Admissions policies prior to submitting your application.
You can apply for up to two master's programmes. Make sure to list them by order of preference as consideration will be given to your top choice first.
All applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible to ensure availability of a place and a timely decision on their application. This is particularly important for applicants with sponsorship deadlines.
We strongly advise that you apply early as popular programmes will close earlier than the stated deadline if they become full.
The final closing dates for all taught Master’s applications for entry in the 2024/25 academic year is:
- Sunday 21 July 2024 at 23:59 UK time for all students requiring a Student visa
- Sunday 1 September 2024 at 23:59 UK time for all UK, Irish and non-Student visa students
Applicants will be required to meet the conditions of their offer and provide all necessary documents by the date of their Offer of Admission.
A standard non-refundable application fee of £50 applies to all taught Master’s degree programmes and is payable upon application submission. Income generated from the application fee is shared between scholarships and student hardship fund.
Tuition fee deposit
Applicants are required to respond to their Offer of Admission and pay the £500 deposit within 28 days of receipt, or their place will be released and the offer automatically declined. The deposit is deductible from tuition fees upon full registration with LSHTM.