Course details

The Health Policy and Population Studies program is uniquely relevant and timely to the communities of the region, and the Arabian Gulf in particular. Graduates will have developed an understanding of the important determinants of health in a population, as well as skills in health systems research, and health policy development and analysis. Specifically, their approaches to health and healthcare needs will acknowledge the significance of socio-cultural context, thus preparing them to work as leaders in government and private health sectors, in positions of decision making and influence.

Programme Objectives

The program was developed to meet the healthcare needs of the region, through the preparation of a team of health professionals to undertake leadership and change agency roles in policy making. Students learn to utilize the latest information technology, and to appreciate the interconnectedness of health policy with other policy domains.

The program is designed so that its students will be able to:

  • achieve an awareness and understanding of the relationship between priority health challenges facing populations, and their changing culture, environment and demography;
  • develop the competencies to evaluate the response of the healthcare system to such challenges, in terms of effectiveness and cost;
  • gain an understanding of the interdisciplinary and inter-professional nature of policy making in priority areas;
  • acquire the ability to develop new, culturally sensitive and acceptable strategies and evidence based policies, in response to such identified challenges;
  • further develop those leadership qualities and management skills, that will lead to the effective and ethical implementation of such strategies and policies.

Admission Requirements

  1. The applicant is a citizen of one of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries or a citizen of an Arab country and is resident in one of the GCC countries.
  2. Nomination/ No objection letter from the Ministry of Higher Education of applicant’s country (GCC citizens).
  3. A medical degree or a Bachelor's Degree (or equivalent) in one of the health professions, from a university recognized by AGU with a minimum overall average of “Good” to be considered for Diploma and a minimum overall average of “Very Good” to be considered for Master of Science.
  4. Three years work experience in a health-related profession.
  5. Evidence of adequate proficiency in the English language (Minimum TOEFL Score of 450 or IELTS of 5.0).
  6. A satisfactory personal interview.

Graduation Requirements


  • Successfully complete a minimum of 24 credit hours of course work.
  • Obtain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 out of 4.0.
  • Satisfactorily complete a Diploma project assigned by the Academic Committee (4 credit hours).

Master of Science

  • Successfully complete a minimum of 24 credit hours of course work.
  • Obtain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 out of 4.0.
  • Carry out a health policy-related research project and successfully defend a written thesis (12 credit hours).

Programme Outline

Course Work

The curriculum consists of four modules (16 weeks face to face and 16 weeks of independent study). The four study modules deal first with the regional and then emphasize cultural background of health and healthcare systems, the relevant knowledge and skills necessary in identifying and characterizing health problems, and for addressing them at the policy level. Each module has face-to-face and independent study components, each of 4 weeks duration.

Module 1: Social, Cultural and Environmental Context of Health

The context for the exploration of health policies and their analysis is established. Through case studies and field experiences, the nature of, and inter-relationship between culture, environment and health are identified at individual, community and population levels.

Specific Topics Include:

  • Inheritance and consanguinity
  • Migrancy
  • Gender
  • Aging
  • Sociological and behavioral research methods

Module 2: The Health of Populations

The application of demography, descriptive epidemiology and descriptive biostatistics, to the assessment of the health of populations is explored, and the concepts of healthcare policy formulation are introduced.

Specific Topics Include:

  • Population structure and dynamics
  • Population health data
  • Assessment of population health
  • Burden of illness
  • Introduction to healthcare policy formulation

Epidemiological and biostatistical approaches to the analysis of health problems in populations are addressed as are the development of intervention strategies and policies, for their control.

Specific topics include:

  • Epidemiological research in population health 
  • Inferential biostatistical methods in health research 
  • Epidemiological methods for health policy formulation 
  • Health enhancement through policies and strategies 
  • Health policy choices

Module 4: Healthcare Policy, Planning and Management

Health services planning, policy development and program evaluation in healthcare systems are the focus of this module. In addition, specific emphasis is given to current concepts of leadership and management of change.  

Specific topics include:

  • Evidence based healthcare policy formulation, planning and evaluation 
  • Macroeconomics: implications for health policy 
  • Health policy analysis 
  • Organizational culture, communication and codes of behavior 
  • Leadership development and management of change 
  • Quality management in healthcare organizations


Following the completion of the modules, the Academic Committee assigns the student a research project. The submitted research project requires the approval of the Academic Committee of the program. 

Master of Science

Following the completion of the modules, the Academic Committee assigns a supervisor to the student. Each student with the guidance of the supervisor identifies a field research project that requires the approval of the program’s Academic Committee. The Master’s thesis is submitted and orally defended.  


Students will be assessed in the face-to-face component of the first four modules, through individual and group assignments. Assessment in the independent self-study component is by assignments followed by an end of module exam. To complete satisfactorily each of these first 4 modules, students must obtain a minimum of "C”. 


The Diploma is awarded to students who complete the first 4 modules, obtaining an aggregate score of a "C", and who complete satisfactorily, a project assigned by the Academic Committee.

Master of Science:

To proceed to thesis, students must complete the first 4 modules with an aggregate score of a "B". The thesis will involve submission of a research study, and a defense. The project should be completed in the student's country of origin or employment. 

Updated on 08 November, 2015

About Arabian Gulf University

The idea to build the We_They was based on the belief in the importance of university and higher level education in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) society. This would be the start of satisfying the needs of GCC countries in terms of specialists and experts in various occupational fields connected to society.

After studying the cultural, social, and economic situation in the GCC region, the challenges it faces, the shared historical background was also examined. It was found that united aspirations towards a brighter future, one of which was to create a melded co-existence, of mentality and of advancement in knowledge for members of the society at large to promote the area and growth in its various sectors.

With this in mind, the General Convention of Arab Education for the GCC at its fourth meeting was held in Bahrain on the 4th of Jumada al-Oola, 1399 A.H, corresponding to the 3rd and 4th of April, 1979, the convention and it was decided to establish the We_They to be located in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

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