Join our online health economics course and learn to apply economic thinking to health care.

Get a fundamental understanding of the key concepts in health economics.

In this Masters-level online short course, you’ll gain the skills to recognise and address the challenges of limited resources within the health sector.

Join us online and learn from a team of practising health economists who are actively involved in policy-shaping research in the UK.

This flexible online course is delivered part-time and fits around full-time work.

Who can join online health economics course?

This distance-learning course is ideal for health researchers and professionals working in health, government, academia and the pharmaceutical industry.

You do not need any prior knowledge of economics to join us.

Build credits towards a Masters degree

This online course is part of:

You can use the credits you earn on this short course towards any of these postgraduate qualifications.

What you’ll study

You’ll cover the core topics in health economics, including:

  • key concepts of supply and demand and how these apply to health care
  • analysis of the main alternative systems for organising and financing health care
  • resource allocation and priority setting in health care
  • analysis of the main policy interventions in population health behaviours and the role of behavioural economics
  • fundamental concepts in economic evaluation
  • costing and benefit measurement
  • the rationale behind economic evaluation techniques.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to…

  • Explain the key theories underpinning health economics.
  • Describe different ways in which health care can be financed and delivered.
  • Reflect on the contribution of economics to health and health care and how it can assist decision making.
  • Discuss economic evaluation, its underlying principles and main techniques.
  • Critically appraise published economic evaluations.
  • Debate the arguments for and against alternative systems for organising and financing health care.
  • Compare a range of policy interventions in health behaviours and the rationale behind them.

Choose the University of Aberdeen for online health economics courses

Award-winning research

We’re proud winners of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize, the highest national honour for a UK university, for sustained excellence in health research over the last 40 years.

Why we were awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize

Real-world impact

Our work has changed clinical practice, policy, legislation and academic method, directly impacting the lives of millions of people.

Our research impact

1st in Scotland

We’re rated 1st in Scotland for Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care in the UK’s most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021).

How you’ll study

Online learning

This distance-learning health economics course is delivered flexibly, 100% online.

You can learn with us anywhere, no student visa required, and manage your study hours to suit you.

Your teaching

This course is taught at Masters level.

Teaching is delivered through MyAberdeen, our online Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). It holds all the materials, tools and support you’ll need in your studies. Take a look around MyAberdeen.

You can access your learning materials on computer, smartphone and laptop, 24 hours a day. You’ll find a range of resources available, including:

  • PowerPoint presentations
  • reading materials
  • practical exercises
  • assignments
  • discussion boards with your tutors and peers
  • the online resources of our award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library.

This course has five modules. Each module is delivered by a tutor who is a specialist in their field.

Your tutors

This course is delivered by our School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition.

It’s taught by experienced health economists and researchers. You’ll learn from a team of specialists from our award-winning Health Economics Research Unit (HERU).

HERU has been carrying out economic research into health for over 40 years. It’s one of the leading centres for health economics in Europe.

This course is assessed entirely online via two assessments:

  • Short answers to three questions (up to 400 words each) covering material from the first part of the course.
  • A critical appraisal (800 words) of an economic evaluation, following guidelines, at the end of the course.

Each assessment is worth 50% of your final grade.

The course totals approximately 150 hours of study and assessment time. That’s around 10 – 15 hours per week.

This is an indicative guide to the time required for a typical student at this level to achieve the learning outcomes. This includes time for independent study, as well as teaching and assessments.

You can largely set your own study hours each week to cover the materials. MyAberdeen is available 24/7, so you can log in and study when it suits you.

Activities at fixed times

There may be some activities scheduled for fixed times, such as assessments with deadlines or online meetings with your tutor. But otherwise, you can access and work through the course at your convenience.

Our first-class support structure will ensure that you aren’t alone in your studies. You’ll have contact with your tutors via MyAberdeen and email. You can use social media and discussion boards to chat with your fellow students too.

We provide a wide range of services to support you in your studies and beyond:

Wherever you are in the world, you’ll feel part of our very special Aberdeen learning community.

Your teaching team

Dr Rodolfo Hernández, course coordinator

Rodolfo is a Research Fellow at HERU with a PhD in Health Economics. He contributes to a range of Assessment of Technology reviews for the NHS. He’s currently involved in three Randomised Controlled Trials, investigating treatments for gallstones, kidney stones and sight loss in older people.

View Rodolfo’s profile

Professor Marjon van der Pol

Marjon is a Professor of Health Economics and Depute Director of HERU. Her main research interest is in the relationship between time preferences and health behaviours. Marjon also researches the use of financial incentives in health behaviours and the cost-effectiveness of health interventions.

View Marjon’s profile

Dr Patrícia Norwood

Patrícia is a Research Fellow in our Health Economics Research Unit. She holds a Masters in Economics and a PhD in Health Economics. Patrícia’s current research interests focus on the use of economics in health improvement, particularly in economic factors influencing food choices.

View Patrícia’s profile

Where this will take you

Towards a Masters

You’ll earn 15 credits at Masters level (SCQF Level 11) with this course. You can use these credits towards our:

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Join an online Master of Public Health (MPH) you can tailor to your career. Study with experts and choose from a wide range of courses to focus your training. 10% discount for NHS staff.

View Master of Public Health (MPH)

Masters in Applied Health Sciences

Fast-track your career in healthcare with our uniquely flexible MSc Applied Health Sciences. Study 100% online or combine with on-campus courses at our Foresterhill Health Campus. 10% discount for NHS staff.

View MSc Applied Health Sciences

Masters in Clinical Nutrition

Join an online Nutrition degree accredited by the Association for Nutrition. Study the link between diet and health, and how issues of over and undernutrition affect populations today. 10% discount for NHS staff.

View MSc Clinical Nutrition

Masters in Health Data Science

Develop your skills in health data science, whether your background’s in healthcare or computing, with this flexible online MSc.

View MSc Health Data Science

Build your learning with more short courses

We have a range of online healthcare and medicine short courses you can use to earn in-demand skills.

Many carry credits you can build up into postgraduate qualifications, including Masters degrees:


Skills in health economics are increasingly in demand within the health sector, where limited resources present challenges at every level.

In-demand skills for the health sector

This course delivers career-enhancing skills that can help you:

  • inform public policymaking
  • inform management of resources
  • inform clinical decision making
  • work towards becoming a health economist.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Your employer or professional institute may recognise this course for CPD hours. Talk to your employer or institute to find out more.

Free career support

Access our free careers service while you study.

  • 1:1 appointments
  • CV checks
  • Interview prep
  • Job opportunities

See how our careers service can help you.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world.

This course has no formal entry requirements. You do not need to provide proof of your qualifications.

But you do need to check the entry guidance above to understand the level of teaching delivered, to decide if this course is right for you.

If you do not have qualifications from the UK, check the equivalent teaching level for your country.

Visa requirements

You do not need a student visa to study online with us.

English language requirements

Teaching is delivered in English.

You do not have to provide proof of your English language skills to join this course. But we want to make sure that you can use English well enough to study successfully.

Recommended level of English

This course uses our Postgraduate Higher level of English language proficiency.

These are our Postgraduate Higher requirements, and these are minimum scores.

IELTS Academic, IELTS UKVI Academic, and IELTS Online (not IELTS Indicator or IELTS General Training)

  • 6.5 overall
  • 5.5 for listening and speaking
  • 6.0 for reading and writing

TOEFL iBT and TOEFL iBT Home Edition

  • 90 overall
  • 17 for listening
  • 21 for reading
  • 20 for speaking
  • 21 for writing
  • TOEFL DI code is 0818

Cambridge English: B2 First, C1 Advanced, or C2 Proficiency

  • 176 overall
  • 162 for listening and speaking
  • 169 for reading and writing

LanguageCert Academic/LanguageCert Academic SELT

  • 70 overall
  • 60 for listening and speaking
  • 65 for reading and writing

LanguageCert International ESOL B2 Communicator (Written and Spoken) – Online / In-centre

  • Overall High Pass
  • 33 for listening, reading and speaking
  • 38 for writing

Oxford ELLT Digital – English Language Level Test Online

  • 7.0 overall
  • 5.0 for listening and speaking
  • 6.0 for reading and writing

PTE Academic (online test not accepted)

  • 62 overall
  • 59 for listening, reading, speaking and writing

For more information about language qualifications see our English Language Requirements page.

You will need access to:

A computer (PC, laptop or Mac) operating on either:

  • Windows 10 or later
  • macOS 10.15 (Catalina) or later.

Most teaching materials are smartphone- and tablet-friendly. But we recommend a proper laptop or desktop for completing assignments comfortably.

Reliable internet access

We recommend:

  • a wired connection
  • a minimum download speed of 2 Mbps so you can take part fully in live sessions.

Speakers or headphones

  • We recommend a headset with built-in microphone and earphones if you’re likely to study in an environment with background noise.
  • A webcam is optional, but you may like to use one for some interactive sessions.


We’ll give you access to Office365 applications. This means you can use online versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and install these programs on up to five personal devices.

If your course requires specialist software, we’ll provide you with access to this and a licence that lasts throughout your studies.

See our detailed IT requirements for more information.

When you study with us, you can expect a first-class support structure so that you’re never alone in your studies.

But learning online does mean you have to motivate yourself and manage your own time.

Your most important commitment will be time – the time to work through, reflect on and understand your teaching materials.

Before you start a course that involves a high degree of independent study, we recommend looking at the time you will be able to devote to your studies each week:

  • Be realistic
  • Create a weekly schedule as a guide

If you have any questions about studying online, get in touch with our friendly team. We’re here to help.

Fee payment

Your course fee needs to be paid in full before you start your course.

We accept payment via Visa Debit, Visa Credit and Mastercard.

Ways to save

You may be able to get help funding this course via:

  • discounts – if any discounts are available for this course, they’ll appear in the section below
  • employer sponsorship – we accept full and partial fee payments from sponsors.

Find out more about funding options.

Student card

All our students are entitled to a University of Aberdeen student card. This gives you access to a range of student discounts around the city and online.

This course has no formal entry requirements. You decide if it’s suitable for you.

The course is delivered at Masters level. At this level, you’d usually have at least:

  • a 2:2 UK undergraduate degree (or equivalent), or
  • relevant experience that supports this level of study.

Apply for this course

Start date
27 January 2025
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