Health Economics Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Health Economics?

Health Economics is the branch of economics concerned with issues related to efficiency, effectiveness, values, and behaviour in the production and consumption of health and health care.

It is the study of how resources are allocated within the health care industry for the promotion, maintenance and improvement of health and healthcare facilities. This includes the study of health care and health-related services, their costs and benefits and how scarce resources are distributed as well as the promotion of healthy lifestyles and positive health outcomes.

Principles of health economics including the notions of scarcity, supply and demand, distinctions between need and demand, opportunity cost, discounting, time horizons, margins, efficiency and equity.

Healthcare economists examine how a medical operation’s resources are allocated. They then use that information to determine the best way to deliver efficient, cost-effective services such as the allocation of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals in large healthcare facilities and funding for drug research.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering Health Economics courses in the following subject areas:

  • Diploma in Health Economics – The study of the economics of healthcare provision.
  • Professional Diploma in Health Economics – The study of healthcare in Ireland to understand the economic rationale behind the allocation of resources in this vital sector.
  • Applied Health Economics – Gain a systematic understanding of the application of Health Economics in healthcare decision making.
  • Health Economics and Econometrics – The study of a more econometrics based pathway underpinned by microeconomic theory, while taking the core modules required to study Health Economics.
  • Health Economics for Health Care Professionals – The study of health care systems, health care budgets and the spending within them.
  • Health Economics and Health Policy – An introduction to the central issues in health economics and health policy involved in the management of primary health care.
  • Health Economics and Pharmacoeconomics – The study of the economics and management of health services and pharmaceuticals and the management of health and pharmaceutical service provision of any administration, organization or health insurance agency, whether public or private.

Studying Health Economics in college

There are many Health Economics courses that take place over 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or volunteering in areas such as accountancy, banking or finance. Contact local employers to see if they can help you. Individual government departments may also be able to offer work experience and you should contact the department directly to find out more.

Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a course in Health Economics you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of the Healthcare Industry and Economics.

Working hours will depend on whether you are employed by a company with set business hours or if you are contracted to various facilities or companies. The hours are usually full time, Monday to Friday. You could expect to work some evenings to cope with your workload at busier times, although weekend or shift work is uncommon.

Self-employment or freelance work is sometimes an option but only after gaining a considerable track record of expertise and many years experience. You’ll need to build up both contacts and a good reputation before embarking on consultancy work.

You may need to travel during the day to meet clients or colleagues and to attend or present work at conferences. There may be some international travel, which may include overnight and weekends on occasion. There may be opportunities to work abroad for a period of time if you’re working in the private sector.

Related jobs include:

  • Health Economist
  • Economist
  • Statistician
  • Financial Advisor
  • Financial Analyst
  • Researcher
  • Actuary
  • Analyst
  • Strategist
  • Actuarial analyst
  • Chartered accountant
  • Compliance officer
  • Data analyst
  • Economist
  • External auditor
  • Financial risk analyst
  • Investment analyst
  • Political risk analyst
  • Risk manager
  • Stockbroker

Further study

After completing a course in Health Economics you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skillset. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practise in certain career areas such as health, agriculture or regional economic development, international economics, finance, law, management studies, mathematics or politics.


What skills could be helpful for a career in Health Economics?

There are a number of transferable skills that would certainly benefit anyone working within the Health care industry or economics – good communication skills, an ability to handle complex data and apply mathematical and statistical analysis methods, problem-solving and analytical skills, a good understanding of specialised software and computer programs and time management.

Where can I study Health Economics?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

  • Approximately 1 in 10 adults delay medical care due to cost
  • Health is generally considered to be one of the basic human rights by the World Health Organization. While this seems like a very accurate statement, economically attaining absolutely free health care system is a huge strain on a country’s economy. Once again, optimizing health economics is one of the most effective methods to minimize costs.
  • The per capita price of healthcare per year is higher in the United States than in any other nation in the world, according to National Public Radio (NPR). America spends nearly 2.5 times as much per person as the United Kingdom does, despite having comparable wealth and a lower life expectancy.
  • Preventable medical errors kill about 22,000 patients a year, according to research from the Yale School of Medicine. That’s much less than a previously reported number of 250,000 deaths a year where medical error is to blame.

Mariza Halliday

Public Advocacy and Activism Courses
Business Studies with Travel and Tourism Management


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