Social Determinants of Health - Online Health Studies Courses | Arts and Science ONLINE

Social Determinants of Health

HLTH 101/3.0

This course introduces students to basic concepts in public, population and global health, and introduces social determinants of health, such as poverty, income inequality, and racism, in Canadian and global contexts.

Please note: This course is typically offered in the summer and/or winter term 

Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, students will be able:

  • To recognize and be able to define and apply key concepts in public, population and global health
  • To critically analyze the social determinants of health in Canadian and global contexts
  • To apply course concepts in the analysis of a novel
  • To write more effectively
  • To apply their knowledge of the principles of academic integrity in their writing
  • To advocate to improve the social determinants of health in the world outside the university


The founders of the Western medical tradition, Hippocrates and Galen, observed inequalities in health related to social circumstances over two thousand years ago. They noticed that some groups of people in ancient Greece had higher rates of sickness and died earlier than other groups. Similar observations can be made in Canada today, where, for example, people who are poor live shorter, sicker lives than those who are better off, and Aboriginal people have much higher rates of almost all diseases and a significantly shorter life span than non-Aboriginal Canadians. Whether the main causes of disease in countries are infectious (as in developing countries, or in Western industrialized countries in the past) or related to lifestyle, the poor contract those diseases more often and die of them sooner than those who are richer. When whole groups of people suffer a similar fate, we look to explanations that are beyond the individual—instead we look to social, economic, political and historical explanations.

The social determinants of health (SDOH) are social, political, economic and cultural conditions, forces and factors that influence how health is distributed among entire groups and populations. Like the field of public health, of which social determinants is a part, the study of the SDOH is an interdisciplinary field of study that draws on research and scholarship from many areas including sociology, anthropology, political science, policy studies, epidemiology, health studies and critical gender and race studies. The course will introduce basic concepts in public health and then examine fundamental determinants of health, including income and social class, ethnicity and racism and will focus on selected specific determinants (e.g. food security) and health issues (e.g. tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS).


Winter 2023
Course Dates: 
Jan. 9 - Apr. 10, 2023
Exam Dates: 
Apr. 14 - 27, 2023


25% - Quizzes
15% - Forum Discussion
20% - Short Essay
5% - Thesis Statement
35% - Final Essay

** Evaluation Subject to Change **



Time Commitment

To complete the readings, assignments, and course activities, students can expect to spend on average, about 10 hours per week (117 - 120 hours per term) on the course.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

onQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into onQ to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the onQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

System Requirements:

Computer Specifications

  • Windows 8.1 or newer
  • OSX 10.13 (High Sierra) or newer
  • Dual Core 2 GHz processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Soundcard
  • USB Headset
  • Webcam

Supported Browsers

  • Chrome (preferred - latest version)
  • Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ
  • Edge is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ

Internet Connection

  • Wired high speed access: Cable or better
  • Wifi is not recommended


  • Latest version

Media Player

  • Flash (latest version)

Adobe Reader

  • Latest Version


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Upcoming Application Dates section.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for Summer Term 2018 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Domestic students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $685.90; for a 6.0-unit course, $1371.80 See also Tuition and Fees.

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks, if required, can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.