autumn 2021
HEL-3066 Protocol Development for MPH Thesis - 10 ECTS

Last changed 07.05.2021

Type of course

The course is reserved as an optional course for students enrolled in the MPH program directly or through our exchange programs indirectly. 

Even though this course is not mandatory, it is highly recommended for students at the MPH programme. Full time students should have completed two semesters at the MPH program, and more importantly; have a thesis projects outlined and have a supervisor ready before taking this course.

Course content

Course content

The main aim of this course is the development of a complete and detailed scientific protocol for the MPH thesis. 

  • Protocol outline
  • Protocol template
  • Study design
  • Scientific writing
  • Advanced and systematic critical appraisal methods
  • Protocol specific literature reviews
  • Group and peer supervision
  • Develop research topics
  • Develop research questions (hypothesis)
  • Statistical methods (if applicable)

Objectives of the course

On successful completion of the course, the student should:


  • be able to demonstrate the structure of a scientific protocol
  • know key criteria for good protocols


  • critically evaluate the scientific content of their protocols
  • critically read and evaluate scientific articles within health sciences
  • properly evaluate literature against their own writing

General Competence

  • know the basics of scientific writing
  • be able to develop research questions
  • be able to formulate hypotheses

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

The course is a highly student active course where students will start the actual outline of their own protocol. The course will include didactic teaching such as lectures and presentations by teachers and students, working in small and large groups, as well as interactive discussions and feedback sessions. The mixture between teacher-led and student-led activities throughout requires that students to actively and dynamically participate in all course activities. Individual knowledge assimilation enhancement is required. Students are expected to hand in a brief project description before course start up and provide feedback to student fellows throughout the course. The students will also work in groups, supervising each other.

Work Requirements

  • Prior to course start up, the student submits an outline (1 page) of the suggested MPH thesis project
  • Compulsory attendance (attendance on at least 80 % of educational activities required).
  • Active participation in lectures and group sessions is required. 
  • The course has 2-3 gatherings during the semester



  • Attendance to lectures and seminars
  • After the first gathering, the students must complete a home assignment that requires critical appraisal of 5-10 articles within their chosen field.
  • Before the third gathering, the students submit a complete outline of the protocol. Maximum five pages. 

Attendance and the two home assignments are required before attending the exam. 


After the course, the students have 3 weeks to complete individual home exams consisting of a complete protocol (maximum 10 pages) and a critical appraisal of their own protocol (including proper justifications) Grading scale: passed / not passed.

If a student fails the course, a re-sit examination will be organized. Students with valid absence from the exam will be offered a re-scheduled examination.


  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: HEL-3066