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HSYP8102 – Determinants of Health

2020 – Session 1, Weekday attendance, North Ryde

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, any references to assessment tasks and on-campus delivery may no longer be up-to-date on this page.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts on staff and students

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Convenor
Seema Mihrshahi
Contact via seema.mihrshahi@mq.edu.au
75 Talavera Road
By appointment only
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to MPH or MPH(Res) or MAppEcon
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

This unit examines the fundamental determinants of health in two modules. In the first module, you will learn about social, behavioural and structural determinants of health. The second module will introduce you to biological and environmental factors that impact health status of individuals and populations. The unit will utilise a case study approach where you explore contemporary and emerging challenges to public health and develop conceptual and practical knowledge essential for a career in public health.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Identify and describe environmental determinants and risk factors to health in given communities and populations.
  • ULO2: Critique the evidence used to assess health consequences of exposure including epidemiology, toxicology and risk assessment.
  • ULO3: Integrate preventive approaches in the resolution of environmental public health problems.
  • ULO4: Identify and comment on the social and behavioural factors, and vulnerability characteristics, that affect health of individuals and populations.
  • ULO5: Summarise the needs of vulnerable populations based on the impact of race, ethnic, socioeconomic, and age demographics on these communities and populations.
  • ULO6: Describe and critically evaluate different methodological approaches to the study of social and behavioural determinants of population health.
  • ULO7: Explore the importance of cultural competency, as well as the development of collaborative partnerships with diverse communities and constituencies, to public health and to the achievement of its goals.

Assessment Tasks

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Assessment details are no longer provided here as a result of changes due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts on staff and students

General Assessment Information

Information concerning Macquarie University's assessment policy is available at http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html. Grade descriptors and other information concerning grading requirements are contained in Schedule 1 of the Macquarie University Assessment Policy.

To pass this unit, students must demonstrate sufficient evidence of achievement of the learning outcomes and attempt all assessment tasks.

Further details for each assessment task will be available on iLearn, including marking rubrics.

All final grades in the department of Health Systems and Populations are determined by a grading committee and are not the sole responsibility of the Unit Convenor.

Students will be awarded one of these grades plus a Standardised Numerical Grade (SNG). The SNG is not necessarily a summation of the individual assessment components. The final grade and SNG that are awarded reflect the corresponding grade descriptor in Schedule 1 of the Assessment Policy.


Extensions for Assessment tasks

Applications for assessment task extensions must be submitted via www.ask.mq.edu.au. For further details please refer to the Disruption to Studies Policy available at https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policies/disruption-to-studies.


Late Submission of Work

All assignments which are officially received after the due date, and where no extension has been granted by the course convenor or tutor, will incur a deduction of 5% for the first day including the actual day on which the work is received, and 5% for each subsequent day. Weekends and public holidays are included. Late penalty is capped at 50%. For example:

Due date


Days late


Raw mark

Final mark

Friday 14th

Saturday 15th





Friday 14th

Monday 17th





Friday 14th

Tuesday 25th


50% (capped)



Delivery and Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19.

Please check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

Unit Organisation

This is a ten credit point unit run over a 13 week session.  There are lectures, tutorials and full day workshops.  Further information is available via the HSYP8102 online Learning Management System (LMS) iLearn http://ilearn.mq.edu.au



All lectures and tutorials are scheduled in your individual timetable.  Attendance is expected at both lectures and tutorials, as this is where the majority of learning occurs, in most cases lectures are recorded. Failure to attend may impact your final results. It is the responsibility of the student to contact their tutor by email to inform tutors if they are going to be absent. The timetable for classes can be found on the University web site at: http://www.timetables.mq.edu.au/.


Prescribed Textbooks

For weeks 1-6: Prescribed (chapter specific) readings will be found in the following textbook:

“Social Determinants of Health, 2nd Edition”, Edited by Michael Marmot and Richard Wilkinson.

A few copies will be held in the library reserve.

For weeks 7-13: Prescribed (chapter specific) readings will be found in the following textbook:

"Essentials of Environmental Health, Second Edition" OR "Third Edition", By Robert H Friis.

A few copies will be held in the library reserve.



The readings for each week will be listed in ilearn using the Leganto system. Leganto is a new reading list management system, which you can access through your iLearn unit. For further information to understand and navigate your unit reading lists in Leganto, check this guide:  http://libguides.mq.edu.au/leganto

Readings marked as 'required' are those that are essential to be completed for that week. Some readings may be included within a weeks readings that are marked as 'recommended' or 'secondary sources'. These are there for your recommended reading or for where we have sourced additional material that may be of interest to you. Please use these at your discretion.


Technology and equipment


Teaching rooms are equipped with state of art audio-visual and ICT equipment including iPads, internet connection, high quality video cameras and multiple LCD screens. 


To study optimally when off campus you will need to have access to a reliable internet connection to retrieve unit information & at times to submit assessment tasks via iLearn.

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/getting-started/student-conduct​


Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au or if you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to help you improve your marks and take control of your study.

The Library provides online and face to face support to help you find and use relevant information resources. 

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

If you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.