Course Overview

The MSc (Health Economics) introduces the student to the principles underlying the economic analysis of health care decision-making within an evolving context of technological development, population ageing and changing patient expectations.

The programme is designed for people interested in pursuing a career in the government, the health service, the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, or in research and consultancy agencies. The programme examines the challenges of scarcity for health care provision, analyses alternative systems of finance and delivery and provides an introduction to the techniques of evaluation used in health care.

The aim of the programme is to:

  • Develop a thorough knowledge and applied competence in the fundamentals of health economics, including health technology assessment;
  • Develop an ability to critically appraise alternative systems of healthcare finance and delivery in terms of equity and efficiency;
  • Expose the student to policy debates regarding access to healthcare, and how it is affected by new and expensive technologies.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via The Postgraduate Applications Centre(PAC). Relevant PAC application code(s) above.

Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

Modules are assessed in a variety of ways, including coursework and final examination. A dissertation, completed over the summer, is also used to assess performance.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Normally applicants require a primary degree with Second Class Honours, Grade 1, which will have included the study of
economics to intermediate level. Students who hold a Higher Diploma in Economics with Second Class Honours, Grade 1, or equivalent may also apply. IELTS score of 6.5 or equivalent if applicable.

Applications from people with experience in the pharmaceutical industry or the healthcare system are also welcome. Applicants without a background in economics will be offered an opportunity to take courses in economics before starting the programme. Applications to the part-time programme are suited for working professionals.

Additional Requirements


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

Next start date

September 2017

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


Closing Date

Please refer to the offer rounds/closing date webpage.

Next start date

September 2017

NFQ level

Mode of study


ECTS weighting



PAC code

GYC26, full-time
GYC27, part-time

Course Outline

The course consists of taught modules, an internship and a minor dissertation. 

List of Modules:

  • Economics of Health and Social Care
  • Economic Evaluation in Healthcare
  • Health Systems and Policy Analysis
  • Applied Health Technology Assessment
  • Econometrics
  • Statistics
  • Market Access Systematic Reviews

Students spend up to three months on placement with an appropriate organisation, which may be a pharmaceutical or medical device company, a public agency, a research centre or an international organisation. The internship allows the student to apply the theories and techniques learned in the taught modules.

Module Details for the Full Time course

Module Details for the Part Time course

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Graduates have embarked on a range of careers in areas like the pharmaceutical industry, management consultancy, and the voluntary and public sectors, as well as taken further education at PhD level or sought research assistantships.

Work Placement

Each student completes a 12-week placement with a company, a government agency or with a suitable health economics researcher. Placements have been organized in major pharmaceutical companies such as Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline, in government agencies such as the Health Services Executive and with leading research centres such as the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway.

Who is Suited to this course?

The course will suit recent graduates in Commerce, Business, Social Sciences and Arts who have studied economics to intermediate level and who are interested in pursuing a career in health economics. The course will also suit people who are working in the pharmaceutical industry or in the health care system who want to advance their career by gaining a thorough understanding of the theories and methods of health economics.

Learning Outcomes
  • Conduct basic and advanced statistical tests on economic and health-related data
  • Design and carry out econometric testing of relationships between health variables and underlying factors.
  • Conduct a systematic search and review of cost-effectiveness studies in a particular disease area.
  • Design and estimate a hypothetical cost-effectiveness study using Treeage and Excel
  • Learn the basic theories in health economics
  • Understand the critical issues in health care systems and policy analysis. 

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,200 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Tuition

€5,976 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Non EU

€14,250 p.a. 2018/19
Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant – please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €2,000 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 €224.

What Our Students Say


Elaine Gallagher |   Global Health Economics Manager at Takeda Vaccines

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.
in Connect with Elaine
Anna P.

Anna P. Hobbins |   MSc (Health Economics)

I have found the learning environment to be excellent with help and support for students in a variety of areas. The staff lectures, library, etc., are helpful and informative. The campus at NUI Galway is a student-friendly environment with excellent facilities, which are continually improving. I would certainly recommend a postgraduate course in Health Economics as it has many practical applications and prepares students for further research or entering the pharmaceutical industry. Many students are placed in pharmaceutical companies over the summer. Previously some students were kept on in companies where they did their placement, while others have gone on to do PhDs in Ireland and the UK. I would definitely choose NUI Galway if I was starting over again. We had an amazing year with speakers from abroad and we also had fun!

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.”