autumn 2022
HEL-3007 Health Economics and Policy - 10 ECTS

Last changed 19.08.2022

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June

Applicants from outside the Nordic countries: 15 April

Type of course

This course is mandatory 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 overlap

Du vil få en reduksjon i antall studiepoeng (som oppgitt under), dersom du avlegger eksamen i dette emnet og har bestått følgende emne(r) fra før av:

HEL-3607 Health Management, Economics and Policy 5 stp

Course content

The course gives an introduction to key issues in health economics and policy. The first part explores the concepts of efficiency and equity, and explains how the assumptions of a perfect market are violated in healthcare. By applying basic price theory, we discuss how taxes and subsidies can affect our health related behaviour.

The second part deals with healthcare finance, where we distinguish between the alternative sources of funding, and the different ways of paying providers. We analyze private health insurance, taxation, patient payments, with an emphasis on efficiency and equity aspects. We discuss alternative ways of paying general practitioners and hospitals, exploring the arguments for activity based financing and other incentive mechanisms.

The third part of the course explains methodologies of health economic evaluation, such as cost-effectiveness and cost-benefit analyses. Various ways of measuring health outcomes is discussed with particular emphasis on quality adjusted life years (QALYs). Finally, we discuss some priority relevant issues beyond costs and health outcomes.

Objectives of the course

Knowledge and understanding:

  • understand the concepts of efficiency and equity, and explain the key characteristics of the healthcare market
  • understand alternative sources of health care finance, and the various payment systems for hospitals and primary care physicians
  • understand the methodologies of economic evaluation in healthcare, including how to measure health outcomes in terms of quality adjusted life years (QALYs).

Skills and competences

  • Analyze how taxes and subsidies can affect the demand for (un)healthy goods.
  • Analyze incentive mechanisms in the payment systems used for healthcare providers
  • Compare costs vs outcomes, and communicate the logic of an economic evaluation

General Proficiency

  • Apply prize theory to analyze elasticities in demand for (un)healthy goods and healthcare services
  • Apply insights from theories of insurance and voluntary redistribution to explain why patients in many countries face free healthcare
  • Communicate how health economic models can be applied to assist decisions on healthcare priority setting

Language of instruction and examination


Teaching methods

The course will require presence on campus during three teaching periods of five days each. Consisting of lectures, seminars and group work. Attendance to the on-campus teaching is mandatory. All teaching will be given 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:



Examination systems: Date: Duration: Grade scale:
School exam 6 Hours A–E, fail F
Coursework requirements – To take an examination, the student must have passed the following coursework requirements:
Plenary presentation of a group work on a chosen topic Approved/ Not approved

More info about the coursework requirements

Plenary presentation (30 minutes duration) of a group work on a chosen topic (2-4 students per group) to be presented on the second and third teaching week. The teacher will provide a list of topics to choose from. The presentations will be uploaded to the online learning management system after been accepted. Presentations must be given in English.

Re-sit examination

If a student fails the course, a re-sit examination will be organised.
  • About the course
  • Campus: Tromsø |
  • ECTS: 10
  • Course code: HEL-3007
  • Tidligere år og semester for dette emnet