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Undergraduate, Graduate, Continuing Education Programs and Courses

Educational programs offering Health Economics training at McMaster

Many programs offer courses in health economics for undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate and post-professional learners

Undergraduate Programs

Post-Graduate and Post-Professional Programs

Programs for Assessment of Technology in Health Workshops:

Undergraduate Courses

Econ 2CC3/HS2C03 Health Economics and its Application to Health Policy

The objective of this course is to provide students with an understanding of basic economic concepts as they apply to the analysis of the health and health care sectors. At the end of the course students should be able to apply economic concepts to critically analyze health care policy issues.

Prerequisites: None; open to all on campus.
Anti-requisites: Not open to students registered in an Economics program or with credit or registration in ECON 2G03, 2X03 or 3Z03. Students excluded from ECON 2CC3 or those wishing to do further work in Health Economics are referred to ECON 3Z03.  

Econ 3Z3 – Health Economics

This is a course in applied microeconomics that examines the production of and demand for health, the special attributes of health care as an economic commodity and the implications of this for the financing, funding, organization and delivery of health care services and, more generally, issues of efficiency and equity in the health sector. By the end of the course students should have both an understanding of the institutional aspects of the health care sector in Canada and the critical ability to use economic skills to think intelligently about economic aspects of the health sector.

Prerequisite: One of Econ 2CC3, 2G03, 2L06, 2X03, HS 2C03. Econ 2B03 or another course in statistics is recommended.

Graduate Courses

Below is a list of health economics graduate courses currently taught at McMaster University.

ECON/HRM 788: Health Economics

This is a survey course on the economics of health and health care.   The course examines the nature of health care as a commodity, the determinants of health, the demand for health and health care, health insurance, financing and funding health care, the behaviour and organization of health care providers, methods for evaluating health care programs and interventions, and equity in health and health care.  

Prerequisites:  Graduate standing and intermediate micro-economics or permission of the instructor.  The course is intended primarily for graduate students in the Department of Economics and the Health Research Methodology program of the Faculty of Health Sciences.  These students are given enrolment priority.

ECON/HRM 791: Advanced Topics in Health Economics

This course focuses on selected current issues in the economics of health and health care, emphasizing the current state of research on these issues including current approaches to modelling, current research evidence, and directions for future research.  The specific topics covered vary from year-to-year depending on the participating instructors.

Pre-requisites:  Econ/HRM 788 or permission of the co-ordinator.  The course is intended primarily for graduate students in the Department of Economics and the Health Research Methodology program of the Faculty of Health Sciences. These students are given enrolment priority.

ECON 793: Health Economic Policy

This course examines a set of specific topics or theme areas within health economics.   For each topic it surveys state-of-the-art research with an emphasis on the policy relevance of research.  Possible topics include the economics of health, health care financing, health care funding, the economics of the pharmaceutical sector, health and aging, and labour market experiences and health.

Pre-requisites:  Graduate standing and intermediate microeconomics.

ECON 795: Analysis of Health Data

This course is designed to introduce students to methods for the analysis of health data, with a particular focus on the use of survey datasets used in health-related microeconometric research. Investigating features of health data requires the recognition of and methodology to cope with many characteristics not regularly encountered in standard discussions of regression analysis. During the course we will focus on the use of cross-sectional and longitudinal observational data to estimate causal parameters of interest and test hypotheses relevant to the economic analysis of health and health care.  At the end of the course students should be able to perform their own analyses of health data, and interpret and evaluate related studies.

Pre-requisites: Graduate standing in the department of economics or permission of the instructor.

HRM 737: Economic Analysis for the Evaluation of Health Services

This is a practical course in techniques for the economic evaluation of health care programs. It examines in detail the methodologies of cost-benefit analysis, cost-minimization analysis and health status indices. During the second half of the course, each student is expected to complete an economic evaluation of a specific health care program or intervention. Prospective students should discuss potential projects with one of the instructors prior to the first session, preferably in December. 

Prerequisite: HRM721, HRM 730 or HRM 751 or permission of instructor.

HRM 740: Advanced Decision Analysis in Health Technology Assessment

This is an advanced course in methods for Health Technology Assessment (HTA). It is a combined theoretical and practical ‘hands-on’ course that teaches students the essential components of contemporary HTA. Students will be exposed to national and international HTA agencies and government decision making bodies, and their HTA guidelines and requirements. The course covers areas of systematic literature reviews, economic evaluation, analyses of uncertainty, value of information analyses, Bayesian decision analyses, quality assurance in economic appraisal, budget impact analysis, and knowledge translation. There is a heavy emphasis in this course on ‘hands-on’ learning-by-doing with computer application of ‘real world’ practical examples to cement student learning.
Prerequisites: HRM 737 or permission of instructor.

HRM 787: Principles of Health Economics

This is a problem-oriented course providing students with exposure to economic concepts and evidence related to health and health care.  Current health policy issues and controversies are analyzed using an economic framework and drawing upon economic theory.  Special emphasis is placed on the determinants of health, the role of the health care system in the production of health and well-being and the influence of various participants (health care providers, patients, government, general population) on health care utilization and population health.  

Prerequisites: No prior economics background is necessary.

Business C711: Health Economics and Evaluation

This course examines the application of economic principles to policy-relevant questions in the areas of health and healthcare. Topics may include but not be limited to applied health economics, demand and supply of healthcare and insurance, healthcare system financing, alternative payment schemes, economic regulation of the pharmaceutical industry, cost-effectiveness, cost-utility and cost-benefit analyses, and means by which to improve value-for-money in the health sector.

Business C715: Healthcare Funding and Resource Allocation

This course will examine the allocation of resources for health care and health promotion in Canada. Students will develop a clear understanding of the components of health systems, and how the financial, human and capital resources used are financed (where the money comes from), how resources are allocated across the system (funding) and the influence of health professional remuneration (payment) on service delivery.

Prerequisites: Registration in the Global Health Program, or Health Services Management Specialization of the MBA, or permission of the instructor.

Public Health/Health Policy 706: Introduction to Health and Public Health Economics

This is a course on the economics of health, public health and health care, with special emphasis on the Canadian health care system. The course examines the nature of health care as a commodity, health care financing and insurance, the demand for health and health care, methods for evaluating health care programs and interventions, issues of efficiency and equity, the economics of health behaviour and selected other topics. Special attention is given to the attributes of health care markets and the implications of those attributes on the financing, funding, organization, delivery of health care services, and public policy.