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This unit applies a critical sociological perspective to health, illness and medicine. Each year the unit will use topical examples to explore expert and public knowledges about health and illness, the social distribution and patterning of health and illness, inequalities in health, experiences of health and illness, the health professions and the politics of health care. Recent examples include vaccination, breastfeeding, alternative medicine, wellness influencers, professionalisation among allied health practitioners and political debates about private health insurance. This unit is highly relevant for students interested in social research or work in sociology, social work, health and social policy related areas. The unit objectives are: (1) to familiarise students with key health related sociological theories and empirical research; (2) to introduce students to contemporary sociological debates about health and illness; and (3) to develop the skills of critical sociological analysis as applied to health and illness.

Summary 2021

Unit name Sociology of Health and Illness
Unit code HGA339
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School College of Arts, Law and Education
School of Social Sciences
Discipline Sociology and Criminology

Dr. Emily Hansen

Teaching staff

Level Advanced
Available as student elective? Yes
Breadth Unit? No



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About Census Dates

Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain key concepts, debates and theoretical approaches relating to the sociology of health and illness.
  2. Apply relevant sociological theories and empirical research findings when discussing contemporary health and illness issues.
  3. Articulate your own position on key debates about health and illness.
  4. Communicate your ideas in written forms, using appropriate sociological language and concepts.




25 points at introductory level in any discipline or admission to A1C Diploma of Creative Arts and Health

Mutual Exclusions

You cannot enrol in this unit as well as the following:


Teaching Pattern

On Campus:  
Weekly online lecture (1.5 hours)
Weekly online tutorial (1 hour/commences Week 2)

Off Campus:
Weekly online lecture (1.5 hours)
Discussion forum contributions (web-dependent)


Task 1: Reflective piece, 1500 words (30%)

Task 2: Essay, 3000 words (40%)

Task 3: Online exam (30%)

TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



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