All over the world, in both high-income countries as well as low-income countries, there is a tremendous need for expertise in health economics. Health economists study and analyze not only how resources are used and how this affects health, but also how resources should be used so as to ensure maximum health benefits. So far, most health economists have worked with healthcare systems, but the need for expertise in health economics is increasing in public health workers and public health policies.
Expertise in health economics is also valuable with organizational and system changes, or with analyses of health and medical care systems.
In order to be able to work with these issues, knowledge of theories and methods both within health economics and within public health is needed – how one studies the health of the population and its developments. Those fulfilling the entry requirements to apply are those with basic public health from Umeå University or from another university/higher education institution.
This program corresponds to the second year of the Master's program in Public Health with a specialization in health economics (120 credits). The program ordinarily consists of four terms (2 years), which corresponds to courses of a total of 120 higher education credits. This educational program presumes that one-half has been completed at an earlier date, which means that the program consists of 60 higher education credits. The program syllabus contains two mandatory courses in health economics and a number of elective courses at Epidemiology and Global Health and at Umeå School of Business and Economics.
Thereafter, a Degree of Master of Science (120 ECTS credits), Main Field of Study: Public Health, Specialization: Health Economics, is obtained. (Name for the degree in Swedish: Medicine masterexamen, Huvudområde folkhälsovetenskap, Inriktning: Hälsoekonomi).
Of those who study health economics, many have a background in healthcare, such as doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, dieticians or dentists. Many also have a social or behavioral science undergraduate education, such as social workers, economists, political scientists or psychologists.
A number of scholarships are available for non-European students.
The Master’s Program with a specialization in Health Economics has been developed in collaboration between the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine and Umeå School of Business and Economics. The studies are to be characterized by a high degree of independence, an active search for knowledge, problem-solving and critical analyses and evaluations based on a scientific approach. The working methods vary between individual study work, group work, seminars, and lectures. A student on the program has, of course, a guaranteed enrolment in all of the program courses. Some of the courses build on one another and should, therefore, be taken in a specific order. The course syllabuses state the prerequisite requirements for each course. This is an international program with students coming from many countries. All teaching is done in English.
The program can lead to a career in a variety of public and private sector organizations both nationally and internationally. Many graduates will go on to work in national, regional and local public institutions, from the Ministry of Health to hospitals, e.g. as planners, strategists, evaluators and analysts, and controllers. Potential international employers include the World Health Organisation, OECD, and a variety of non-governmental organizations, e.g. in health advocacy, policy, evaluation, or research. Other graduates will work in the private sector, for pharmaceutical or health insurance companies. A future university career in research is another path.
The program equips students with skills in health economics, epidemiology, biostatistics, evaluation methods, interview techniques, and academic writing. These skills will prove useful both for those joining the job market for the first time, as well as for those who plan to return to their previous workplaces after completing the degree.