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This course is offered in two modes: either face to face (on-campus) and fully online.

The aim of this course is to develop students’ knowledge and skills in identifying ethical and legal issues in health care policy development by reference to some recurring tensions: balancing individual rights with the goal of achieving healthy populations; the challenges of health care rationing; and addressing the needs of particular population groups. We will bring these issues to life through a series of case studies, including tobacco control policy, the “obesity epidemic”, pandemic influenza, vulnerability and disaster management, vaccination policy and research ethics. These case studies form the basis of online and class discussions, and provide a practical anchor for developing students' understanding of the relevant ethical and legal dilemmas arising from public health policy and health management. The course includes an introduction to some key theoretical frameworks and concepts for public health ethics and explores ways of applying these to a variety of cases and contexts. An introductory briefing on health law is provided, as well as key legal concepts that are central to working in the domain of healthcare, and the Public Health Act. Students are given opportunities to apply their learning to aspects of healthcare, public health and health management that they are particularly interested in or that are relevant to their professional development.

The course is offered in both external mode (fully online) and internal mode* (on campus tutorial classes and online resources). Perhaps more than any other discipline, discussion and collaboration are key to ethical decision making, reason for which active participation to online forums/class tutorials is a compulsory requirement for the successful completion of this course.

Ethics & Law in Public Health satisfies the compulsory requirement for an ethics and law component in tertiary studies for accreditation by the Royal Australasian College of Healthcare Administrators.

*The internal mode is offered subject to enrolment numbers.

Study Level


Offering Terms

Term 3



Delivery Mode

Fully online

Indicative contact hours


Conditions for Enrolment

This course is available to SPHCM and Forensic Mental Health postgraduate students. Other students will need to provide approval from their program authority and the approval of the course convenor to

Course Outline

To access course outline, please visit:


Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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