autumn 2022
HEL-3008 Public Health Ethics - 10 ECTS

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June

Applicants from outside the Nordic countries:  15 April

Type of course

This is an optional course for students at the Master's degree programme in Public Health. Course students may be admitted if total number of students do not exceed the regulated 30 number of students at the course.

Admission requirements

Admission criteria: The same as for the Master's programme in Public Health. See the programme page. Application Code: 9371 (Nordic applicants).

Course content

The course gives an introduction to key issues in public health ethics.

A major difference between (clinical) medical ethics and public health ethics is that in public health, many decisions are motivated by explicit utilitarian considerations: what policies will yield the greatest good for the greatest number of people? Therefore, a critical examination of utilitarianism is important in public health ethics.

Public health interventions are usually implemented by governments. The aim is to advance the health of populations. This population perspective creates inherent tensions between what benefits the population as a whole and the potential infringement of individual liberties. Attention will be given to core concepts in political philosophy, such as liberalism and communitarianism. Topics include claims of individual autonomy vs. the protection and improvement of public health, personal integrity and the collection of health information, ethical issues in epidemiology, health concepts and health promotion, research ethics: principles and guidelines.

Objectives of the course

The student should be able to identify, describe, reflect upon, analyze, and discuss central topics in public health ethics.

Knowledge and understanding:

  • The student should be able to explain relevant aspects of consequentialist and non-consequentialist ethics.
  • The student should be able to explain relevant topics in political philosophy.
  • The student should be able to describe different health concepts.
  • The student should be able to describe basic research ethical principles and rules of conduct.

General proficiency:

  • The student should be able to analyze ethical dilemmas in health promotion and prevention.

Language of instruction and examination


Teaching methods

The teaching will consist of 2 on-campus classes of 2-3 days duration. On-campus activities are to include lectures, seminars, presentations and group discussions. Attendance to the on-campus classes is mandatory. In addition, teaching will be based on resources from the online learning management system. The classes will be held in English.

Information to incoming exchange students

This course is open for inbound exchange student who meets the admission requirements, including prerequisites. Please see the Admission requirements" and the "Prerequisite" sections for more information.

Do you have questions about this course?  Please check the following website to contact the course coordinator for exchange students at the faculty:

Recommended reading/syllabus

Pensumliste for HEL-3008 Public health ethics


Examination: Date: Duration: Grade scale:
Off campus exam Hand out: 30.09.2022 09:00
Hand in: 10.10.2022 12:00
4 Days A–E, fail F

Coursework requirements:

To take an examination, the student must have passed the following coursework requirements:

A written individual assignment Approved – not approved
Mandatory attendance to lectures and seminars Approved – not approved
UiT Exams homepage

More info about the coursework requirements

  • The students have to hand-in and pass one written, individual assignment before they can take the exam. Assignments shall be handed in as specified in the assignment instructions. The students can write the assignments in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English. The assignments are graded as approved or not approved.
  • Attendance to the on-campus classes is mandatory.

Re-sit examination

There will be offered a re-sit exam for students who do not pass the ordinary examination
  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: HEL-3008
  • Tidligere år og semester for dette emnet