Course Overview

The MSc in Health Economics is a taught Masters programme which introduces the student to the theoretical principles and practical techniques of economic analysis which are applied to inform health policy and health care decision-making within the evolving global context of technological development, population ageing, rising healthcare costs and changing patient preferences and expectations.

In particular, the programme seeks to equip students with the tools to examine individual behaviours with respect to health and health care, to explore alternative systems of health care finance and delivery, and to apply economic evaluation, preference elicitation and econometric techniques to inform health care resource allocation.

The programme consists of a mix of modules, which are delivered through a series of lectures, practical workshops, tutorials, and seminars from academic and industry experts, in addition to a supervised minor dissertation, which is generally completed over the course of a summer placement at an appropriate research agency.

The programme is designed for people interested in pursuing a career in the public sector, working in the government, the health service or public health agencies, in the private sector, working in the pharmaceutical, medical device or private care industries, or in the research sector, working with public, academic, or private consultancy agencies.

Programme learning outcomes:
  • Understand and appraise the fundamental theoretical and practical concepts and tools of health economics
  • Analyse and inform global health policy and/or healthcare industry questions using the applied practical techniques of health economic evaluation, health preference elicitation and health econometrics
  • Critically engage with the key global health policy questions of care system finance and delivery, and access to interventions and/or technologies

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the University of Galway Postgraduate Applications System

Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

The programme is assessed in a variety of ways, including coursework, examinations, and a dissertation completed over the summer months.

Modules are assessed through a combination of written examinations, continuous assessment, assignments, and applied projects. Semester One examinations take place in December and Semester Two examinations take place in April/May. In line with employer needs, communication and presentations skills are implemented in the assessment structure.

The dissertation of approximately 8-10,000 words in length is submitted in autumn and involves a series of discussions, meetings and progress reporting to supervisors within an agreed timeframe. The dissertation is usually closely linked to a work placement in an appropriate health agency.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Applicants should normally hold a primary degree qualification from a university or other internationally recognised academic institution or authority, corresponding to Level 8 of the Irish National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). A minimum standard of a Second Class Grade 1 Honours or equivalent: GPA of 3.3. This qualification must generally include the study of Economics up to an intermediate undergraduate level.

Applications for the full-time and part-time programmes are particularly welcomed from people working in the pharmaceutical or medical device sectors and from people working in the health policy or health care system sectors. In such cases, applicants without a background in Economics will be offered an opportunity to take an online preparatory course before being accepted on the programme. 

IELTS score of 6.5 will be required for international applicants.

Additional Requirements


1 year, full-time; 2 years, part-time

Next start date

September 2023

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

20 full-time, 10 part-time

QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes

Closing Date

Offers will be made on a rolling basis.

NFQ level

Mode of study

ECTS weighting



Course code


Course Outline

The MSc in Health Economics consists of 90 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System). Students complete a combination of modules (worth 5 or 10 ECTS) and a dissertation (10 ECTS) to fulfil the 90 ECTs requirement.

Semester 1

  • Economics of Health and Health Care
  • Health Economic Evaluation
  • Econometrics
  • Data Management and Survey Techniques

Semester 2


  • Health Systems and Policy Analysis
  • Applied Health Technology Assessment and Decision Modelling


  • Public Sector Economics
  • Cost Benefit Analysis and Evaluation
  • Applied Econometrics
  • Non-Market Valuation for Health Economists
  • Dynamics of Ageing and Public Policy
  • Economics of Medical Devices
  • Observational & Analytical Research Methods
  • Introduction to Systematic Reviews
  • Current Topics in Health Economics


  • Students spend up to 8-12 weeks on placement with an appropriate health economics research organisation to complete a dissertation of 8000-10000 words under the direction of an academic supervisor This internship allows the student to apply the theories and techniques learned in the taught modules in a real world setting.
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Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Graduates with a MSc in Health Economics qualification are in high demand nationally and internationally. Recently graduated students from NUI Galway have embarked on careers in areas such as the pharmaceutical and medical device industry sector, research consultancy, and the voluntary and public sectors. Other graduates have pursued further education at PhD level at University of Galway or other national and international institutions.

Work placement

Each student completes a 8-12-week placement with a company, a government agency or a health research agency. Placements have previously been organized in major pharmaceutical and medical device companies, in agencies such as the Health Service Executive, the Health Information and Quality Authority, and the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics and with leading research centres at University of Galway and beyond.

Who is suited to this course?

The course is suited to individuals from multiple backgrounds who are interested in pursuing a new career in Health Economics or in incorporating the tools of Health Economics into their current career pathway. The course will suit recent graduates in Economics, Business, and the Social Sciences who have studied Economics. The course is also open to recent graduates in Mathematics, Statistics, Engineering, Medicine, Pharmacy and the Health Sciences who have completed a bridging course in Economics. The course will also suit individuals working in the Pharmaceutical or Medical Device industry sectors or in the Health Policy or Health Care sectors who wish to advance their careers by gaining a thorough understanding of the theories and methods of Health Economics.

Health Economics and Policy Analysis Centre (HEPAC)

The aim of the Health Economics and Policy Analysis Centre (HEPAC) is to develop, apply and teach methods for the economic analysis of health and health care. The Health Economics and Policy Analysis Centre (HEPAC) is located in the Institute for the Lifecourse and Society (ILAS) at University of Galway. The Centre is part of the research network at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, which includes the Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change. HEPAC have extensive links with clinical and social science researchers at NUI Galway, as well as being engaged in active collaborations with colleagues in national and international organisations. Researchers at HEPAC are currently applying health economic methods to explore a range of research questions in relation to ageing, dementia, disability, mental health, chronic disease, cancer, and obesity. While the research is mainly of an applied nature with an emphasis on peer-reviewed academic output, members of HEPAC also engage and contribute to policy formulation in a range of areas at national and international level. Current research projects include those funded by agencies such as the Health Research Board, Science Foundation Ireland, Atlantic Philanthropies, and industry partners. Click here for more information.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

Transferable Skills Employers Value

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€7,660 p.a. 2022/23

Fees: Tuition

€7,520 p.a. 2022/23

Fees: Student levy

€140 p.a. 2022/23

Fees: Non EU

€17,240 p.a. 2022/23


EU part time fee 1MHE2: €3,865 (tuition €3,760 + student levy €105) p.a. 2022/23.

Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant – please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €3,500 towards your tuition.  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270.  SUSI will not cover the student levy of €140.

Note to Non EU students: Learn about the 24 month Stayback Visa here

What Our Students Say


Elaine Gallagher |   Global Health Economics Manager at Takeda Vaccines, Zurich

I graduated from the MSc in Health economics in 2013. On completing my MSc, I began working in the pharmaceutical industry. I currently work in the area of public health as a global health economics manager and am based in Switzerland. In this role, I get to work on a range of interesting evidence generation and synthesis activities. A unique aspect of this course is that many students are afforded the opportunity of a summer placement at various organisations or pharmaceutical companies. As a result of my summer placement, I was afforded the opportunity to present my dissertation at the Irish Otolaryngology Society Conference which really increased my confidence in presenting my work to professionals with a clinical background which I’ve found essential in my career to date.The MSc in Health Economics has prepared me well for the real world. My current role requires me to regularly apply what I learnt during my health economics course at NUIG, particularly in area of health technology assessment, technical report writing and in the area of critical appraisal.

Dan Kelleher |   Research Assistant in HEPAC pursuing a PhD

The MSc. in Health Economics is a fantastic qualification to have and it provides the necessary skills in becoming a Health Economist. Students receive theoretical and practical experience in areas such as, Health Systems & Policy Analysis to developing cost effectiveness models that are used in health technology assessments (HTAs). The course provides students with great opportunities to attend conferences and seminars, which are a fantastic opportunity to network and learn from experts in the field. The Health Economics and Policy Analysis Centre (HEPAC) at NUIG is the largest single group of academics working within the area of Health Economics on the island of Ireland, creating the perfect environment for students to learn. The MSc. has allowed me to work for one of the biggest medical device companies, a management consultancy firm and to my current role as a Research Assistant in HEPAC pursuing a PhD.

Ashlie Elnoursi |   Health Economist at HCD Economics Ltd - ‎HCD Economics Ltd

The campus is a beautiful friendly environment with excellent facilities. Coming from a BA in public and social policy the Masters programme in health economics was quite intensive, however the lecturers were extremely helpful and approachable. Our class was very cooperative and friendly. What drew me to NUI Galway was the potential placement opportunity the course offers. I conducted my placement with the Irish Haemophilia Society which opened up many doors for me. Not only did I gain real work experience relative to my field I was brought along to conferences and this enabled me to network. This is where I met my current employer. I now work for health economics consultancy firm in the UK. Health economics is an extremely useful course to have completed which can be applicable to a work force internationally. This was a huge factor in my decision in picking this particular course. I had a great year doing my MSc and would definitely recommend NUI Galway if you are considering this course!

Mohit Agrawal |   ‎Ph.D. Candidate in Economics, Yale University

As a Master’s student in Economics, I was impressed by NUI Galway’s students, faculty, and facilities. The program size was small, allowing me to learn from and become friends with my fellow students in a collegial atmosphere. The faculty were fully dedicated to students, easy to talk to, and well-versed in their fields. Meanwhile, the facilities at NUI Galway were top-notch, with great computer labs, libraries, and social spaces. Lastly, I enjoyed living in Galway, with its historic city center and scenic seaside promenade; Galway was a perfect launching pad for trips across Ireland and Europe. During my time in Galway, I gained a unique understanding of economic policy in the context of Ireland and the Eurozone. I strongly encourage international students to consider study at NUI Galway.

Liam McMorrow |   Curently studying for his PhD in Health Economics in the UK

I found the MSc in Health Economics to be an intensive, well organized programme that provided me with the knowledge and confidence to pursue a PhD and a career in academia. The course modules taught us how to approach and answer problems in health economics and how to apply skills that were directly applicable to the workplace. I used many of the skills we learned in my master’s thesis and am now in the process of using the knowledge and techniques I learned at NUI Galway in my PhD.

Sinéad Mahon |   Country Manager with BresMed Health Solutions

After studying economics as an undergraduate at NUI Galway I decided to focus on health economics as a career choice. As well as further developing core economics competencies, we covered the full spectrum of health economics fundamentals including Health Systems & Policy, Health Technology Assessment, and Decision Modelling. The class sizes were small, and the lecturers could provide a strong level of support. Making the transition into the private sector did not prove difficult as NUI Galway is well recognised across the industry as one of the leading centres for health economics in Ireland

What Employers Say

Gilles Ducorroy

Gilles Ducorroy Patient Access Services Head |   Novartis Global Service Center

I am delighted with our on-going partnership with the Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUI Galway. Currently, 50% of our team of health economists studied in NUIG as part of their MSc or PhD. Health economics and outcomes research is a growing field for Novartis globally that provides important information for making healthcare coverage and access decisions. We support this work from Dublin through the services provided via our Novartis Global Shared Services Center.”
in Connect with Gilles Ducorroy

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