Economics of Health Care


Using economics to improve health and healthcare

This module will provide a basic introduction to three key areas of health economics: the financing of healthcare, economic evaluation of healthcare technologies, and the evaluation of healthcare policies. These objectives will be supported by an introduction to fundamental economic concepts and their relevance to decisions concerning the financing, allocation, and evaluation of health care.  

Participants will be able to understand the high-level differences between types of healthcare system financing, critically appraise health economic studies, and will understand how healthcare policies may be evaluated. Successful completion of the course will support engagement with health economists and policy advisors when working with them as advisors, colleagues or research collaborators.


This module will cover:

  • Economics applied to health and healthcare - an overview of key concepts in economic theory and their application in healthcare
  • Market failures in healthcare – asymmetric information, moral hazard and adverse selection
  • Healthcare financing – different models of healthcare systems as a response to market failures and policy challenges
  • Alternative approaches to the allocation of health care resources. Distributing health-care according to need and different perspectives for defining need.
  • Conducting and appraising economic evaluations - An overview of the principles of economic evaluation, and the methods used to measure and value costs and benefits of healthcare
  • Decision modelling and representations of uncertainty in economic evaluation - An overview of the need for modelling in economic evaluation, the methods used for economic models, and how decision uncertainty is presented in economic evaluation
  • Economic techniques that can be applied to the evaluation of public health policies and programmes.


The last date for receipt of complete applications is 5pm Friday, 25th February 2025. Regrettably, late applications cannot be accepted.

Programme details

This module is run over an eight week cycle where the first week is spent working on introductory activities using a Virtual Learning Environment, the second week is spent in Oxford for the face to face teaching week (this takes place on the dates advertised), there are then four Post-Oxford activities (delivered through the VLE) which are designed to help you write your assignment. You then have a week of personal study and you will be required to submit your assignment electronically the following week (usually on a Tuesday at 14:00 UK Local Time).


Description Costs
Continuing students enrolled on MSc Evidence-Based Health Care £2475.00
Short Course in Health Sciences £3175.00
Students enrolled on MSc in Evidence-Based Health Care £2570.00


Details of funding opportunities, including grants, bursaries, loans, scholarships and benefit information are available on our financial assistance page.



If you are an employee of the University of Oxford and have a valid University staff card you may be eligible to receive a 10% discount on the full stand-alone fee. To take advantage of this offer please submit a scan/photocopy of your staff card along with your application. Your card should be valid for a further six months after attending the course.


Dr Padraig Dixon

Module Co-ordinator

Dr Padraig Dixon is a Senior Researcher in Health Economics at the Nuffield Department for Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford

Dr Catia Nicodemo

Module Co-ordinator

Dr Catia Nicodemo is a Senior Research Fellow in Health Economics at the Nuffield Department for Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford

Assessment methods

Assessment will be based on submission of a written assignment which should not exceed 4,000 words.

Academic Credit

Applicants may take this course for academic credit. The University of Oxford Department for Continuing Education offers Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) points for this course. Participants attending at least 80% of the taught course and successfully completing assessed assignments are eligible to earn credit equivalent to 20 CATS points which may be counted towards a postgraduate qualification.

Applicants can choose not to take the course for academic credit and will therefore not be eligible to undertake the academic assignment offered to students taking the course for credit. Applicants cannot receive CATS (Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme) points or equivalence. Credit cannot be attributed retrospectively. CATS accreditation is required if you wish for the course to count towards a further qualification in the future.

A Certificate of Completion is issued at the end of the course.

Applicants registered to attend ‘not for credit’ who subsequently wish to register for academic credit and complete the assignment are required to submit additional information, which must be received one calendar month in advance of the course start date. Please contact us for more details.

Please contact if you have any questions.


This course requires you to complete the application form and to attach a copy of your CV. If you are applying to take this course for academic credit you will also be required to provide a reference. Please note that if you are not applying to take the course for academic credit then you do not need to submit a reference.

Please ensure you read the guidance notes which appear when you click on the symbols as you progress through the application form, as any errors resulting from failure to do so may delay your application.

Selection criteria

Admissions Criteria:
To apply for the course you should:


  • Be a graduate or have successfully completed a professional training course
  • Have professional work experience in the health service or a health-related field
  • Be able to combine intensive classroom learning with the application of the principles and practices of evidence-based health care within the work place
  • Have a good working knowledge of email, internet, word processing and Windows applications (for communications with course members, course team and administration)
  • Show evidence of the ability to commit time to study and an employer's commitment to make time available to study, complete course work and attend course and university events and modules.
  • Be able to demonstrate English Language proficiency at the University’s higher level


Accommodation is available at the Rewley House Residential Centre, within the Department for Continuing Education, in central Oxford. The comfortable, en-suite, study-bedrooms have been rated as 4-Star Campus accommodation under the Quality In Tourism scheme, and come with tea- and coffee-making facilities, free Wi-Fi access and Freeview TV. Guests can take advantage of the excellent dining facilities and common room bar, where they may relax and network with others on the programme.

IT requirements

Please ensure that you have access to a computer that meets the specifications detailed on our technical support page.