Programme outline


This interdisciplinary programme aims to foster global leaders in healthcare.

The underlying aims and objectives are to enable students to successfully:

  • Fulfil supervisory, leadership and managerial roles in a global healthcare environment
  • Identify and implement evidence-based leadership practices
  • Manage and monitor change at the individual, organisational and system level
  • Demonstrate reflective practice and a critical approach to evidence and data
  • Lead and manage multi-disciplinary and inter-organisational groups and teams
  • Understand the complex relationships between policymakers and practitioners and be able to lead system change.


The need for better healthcare leadership is undeniable and illustrated by the global unpreparedness for the Covid-19 pandemic. With many lessons to learn, it will fall to healthcare leaders to create better, more resilient health systems.

Professor Richard Hobbs

Head of the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford

Academic structure

There are seven immersive in-person modules taught in Oxford. These modules will be supported by online distance learning activities and reading. The eighth module will be delivered online over the duration of the programme. As part of our continuous review process, dates for Modules 1-8 are subject to change.

Proposed modules

1. Healthcare leader: Personal perspectives and challenges

30 September-4 October 2024

Examining the role of personality in shaping leaders and the professional challenges facing leaders in healthcare. This module explores the role of self-awareness and personal purpose for leadership, the significance of unconscious bias in decision making and the nature of communication and influence for leaders in complex organisational systems.   

You will learn to:

  • Understand the principles of personality and leadership
  • Identify your own personal development needs as a healthcare leader
  • Appreciate the conceptual leadership models associated with effective distributed leadership 
  • Develop your understanding of decision making and bias in leadership
  • Acquire critical leadership skills to shape and manage the behaviour of people in change situations

2. Organisational leadership

3-6 December 2024

Leading in organisations is the central task of management and critical to performance. The need for strong and responsible leadership has become increasingly important due to the complex economic and geopolitical climate. It is as challenging a subject as it is critical, thanks to the complexities of human nature and the challenges that arise when people work together.

You will learn to: 

  • Understand the challenges of leading complex, knowledge-intensive organisations from a micro to macro perspective 
  • Understand change models in the context of global healthcare organisations 
  • Achieve high performance by increasing understanding of organisational behaviour concepts 
  • Lead groups for high performance, by providing conceptual knowledge and experiential exercises on group dynamics and team building
  • Explore the challenges of strategy implementation and innovation 

3. Systems leading in comparative health systems

18-21 February 2025

Giving you exposure to the essential theories, concepts and analytical frameworks needed for understanding systems synthesis, dynamics, change and resilience in the context of global health challenges and opportunities.

You will learn to:

  • Understand the varied disciplinary perspectives underlying alternative systems narratives
  • Appreciate the principles of systems approaches 
  • Compare and contrast the value of systems tools from different disciplines to address global health challenges and opportunities 
  • Understand the role of the systems leader and the interdependencies with constituents and organisations in health systems
  • Develop a systems approach to work with global health challenges and opportunities that actively engages with multiple constituent perspectives

4. Leading with evidence-based healthcare

29 April-2 May 2025

An introduction to what leaders need to know about the principles and practice of evidence-based healthcare.

You will learn to:

  • Review the basic principles of evidence-based health care.
  • Explain and apply the critical steps associated with the practice of evidence-based healthcare, including how to formulate a research question, search for evidence, and appraise the evidence for sources of bias and synthesising
  • Discuss the interacting contributions of research evidence, expertise and values in the decision-making process
  • Review and scrutinise real-world examples of how research evidence has been led, influenced and translated into improved healthcare practice and patient outcomes
  • Explain how evidence-based healthcare relates to quality improvement, implementation science and policymaking

5. Healthcare innovation

8-11 July 2025

Critically examine the role of healthcare innovation in addressing the challenges of health systems. This module goes beyond the healthcare sector to explore the strategies that leaders can leverage to sustain innovation, and the tools that make it possible to create deliver and capture value.

You will learn to:

  • Describe different models of innovation in health care
  • Discuss the issues in the adoption of new tools and processes in health systems
  • Critically engage with debates around transformational change, quality improvement, and implementation science
  • Describe the characteristics of innovation ecosystems and learning health systems
  • Examine the role of policy and regulation in innovation
  • Provide specific case study examples which illustrate the opportunities and challenges of healthcare innovation
  • Understand and use a range of tools to help analyse and capture value

6. Healthcare policy and systems

14-17 October 2025

An in-depth analysis of global healthcare policies and systems, exploring the interplay between public, private, civil society and other sectors, in the context of access, quality, equity, financing and resilience.

Learn to:

  • Describe variations in disease patterns over time and how policy has been used to address them
  • Summarise the social, political and economic determinants of health
  • Explain the structures in which new global health policy is necessarily developed, and how policy responds to global health issues and prioritises healthcare needs
  • Examine the interface of communicable and non-communicable disease healthcare policies and their effects on the global burden of disease
  • Describe the main factors driving healthcare costs and the complex ways providers fund healthcare in different contexts, with an appreciation of their relative strengths and weaknesses
  • Explain the different mechanisms of managing, funding and leading global healthcare systems to maximise improvements and minimise health inequalities
  • Understand the basic principles of global health security

7. Challenges in global health

13-16 January 2026

Designed to provide an overview of the challenges in global health. This module will critically examine common factors contributing to several key global health challenges, and outline approaches to addressing them with emphasis on the leadership opportunities presented. Topics may vary from year to year but will range from climate change, emerging infectious diseases including pandemics, global health security, nutrition, mental health, and maternal health. 

Learn to:

  • Describe the range of  global health challenges and the factors contributing to them
  • Discuss the kind of leadership needed to address these challenges
  • Critically engage with health challenges and formulate creative and sustainable solutions to address them.

8. Evidence based healthcare: Study design & research methods

Five learning blocks

These are delivered online throughout the duration of the programme in live synchronous sessions - exact dates to be confirmed.

This online module will cover the key empirical issues of health research, delivered as five blocks of teaching, each focussing on different research designs, methods and analyses relevant to global health improvement and evaluation.

Learn to:

  • Understand the different research designs and their uses
  • Appreciate the quality and rigour needed for each research study design
  • Explain key issues in the ethics of healthcare research
  • Identify the benefits of patient and public involvement in research
  • Interpret common statistical tests and the findings of qualitative analyses

Teaching methods and assessment


The programme uses a range of teaching methods including lectures, practical sessions, small group workshops, one-to-one coaching, virtual learning and real-world case studies.

The MSc Global Healthcare Leadership course assessment will either be conducted via submission, presentation or timed examination throughout the duration of the programme. The programme concludes with a written dissertation.

Study commitment


In the classroom, emphasis is placed on debate. You are encouraged to read outside of the reading lists and bring this, and your professional experience, to the discussions.

Outside of modules, you should allow for at least 10 hours of self-directed study per week including reading, online learning, and writing assessed assignments.

The eighth module 'Evidence-based healthcare' is divided into five week long blocks taught online, these take place in between your other modules. There are 15-25 hours of work in each of those weeks, including team work and live synchronous sessions. This should be taken into consideration when planning your workload.

Changes to this course and your supervision

We seek to deliver this course in accordance with the description set out on this page. However, there may be situations in which it is desirable or necessary for us to make changes in course provision, either before or after registration. The safety of students, staff and visitors is paramount and major changes to delivery or services may have to be made in circumstances of a pandemic, epidemic or local health emergency. In addition, in certain circumstances, for example due to visa difficulties or because the health needs of students cannot be met, it may be necessary to make adjustments to course requirements for international study.

Where possible your academic supervisor will not change for the duration of your course. However, it may be necessary to assign a new academic supervisor during the course of study or before registration for reasons which might include illness, sabbatical leave, parental leave or change in employment.

For further information please see our page on changes to courses and the provisions of the student contract.