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HEL-3030 International and Environmental Health - 10 stp

The course is administrated by

Institutt for samfunnsmedisin

Type of course

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

Course overlap

HEL-3035 International Health 5 stp

Course contents

The course will require presence on campus in two periods, one in January and one in March. See time table. On-campus activities are to include presentations, group discussions, overview lectures and planning of the interim period, group activities and cooperation with supervisors. The course will provide an overview of environmental health / medicine (EH) and international health (IH) and explores the inter-relationships between health, poverty, environment and development; demonstrates the need for interdisciplinary co-operation; promotes student-centred, self-directed learning and critical appraisal; and optimizes the use of the internet to achieve the stated learning objectives.

We want to stimulate all health workers in all health related diciplines to get a better understanding of their role in the global health setting. The students will benefit from this wherever in the world they have their daily work. Basic global health and environmental medicine, including climate change, with focus on circumpolar, subtropical, as well as tropical issues. The module consists of four sub-units, and the specific learning objectives are related to global health and environment-and-health case scenarios. The course is based on extensive use of internet contact between students and supervisors through Fronter.

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester.

Exhange students anf Fulbright students: 1 October for the spring semester and 15 April for the autumn semester.

Admission requirements

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

Objective of the course

The candidate should have an understanding of health problems in the world and of the most important factors that create disease and health inequalities (including services) among peoples. Poverty is a major determinant of health, but also the physical (e.g., temperature, precipitation, air and water supply, pollution) and biological environment (e.g., the food supply and its safety, origin and transmission of some diseases) are of importance. A major goal is to explore these aspects through international health and environmental health perspectives. The course will also explore how the health inequalities might be reversed/stopped and what national/international organizations are providing resources and/or services to do so.

Learning goals:

Knowledge and understanding- The aim of the module is to identify the major issues in International and Environmental Health (IH and EH), review the determinants of health, and focus on learning resources and information retrieval skills.

Specific themes: Nature of emergencies: In pinciple related to rapid health assessments and emergency responses using cases and scenarios for the development of skills and understanding. Infectious disease: The primary focus is on the most important infectious diseases in a global perspective; HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis; malaria; pandemics; vaccination; the international system for identifying, notifying alerting and containing important infectious threats. Poverty and hunger: To explore the relationship between poverty, hunger, food and drinking water safety and human health, with a special focus of the projected impact of global warming on these.

Skills and competences- The student should be able to explore and assess different data sources and evaluate the accuracy and quality of the different information sources.

General Proficiency- The student should be able to discuss the different aspects of IH and EH with independent and mature understanding and evaluation of the problems focused in the teaching. Reproduction of knowledge is just a part of this.

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

The course has a variety of teaching and supervising methods; plenary, lectures, group processes, internet methods etc. (Fronter). The lectures are given during two plenaries, one 3 days and one lasting 4 days. Attendance to lectures and seminars is mandatory. The lectures are given in English.


Obligatory assignment:

The students must hand in two obligatory assignments on a given topic. The first assignment will be handed out between first and second student gathering (plenaries), the second after the second student-gathering (plenary). Each student may receive a short evaluation on the first and second assignment. Additionally, during the second gathering there will be a group assignment to be presented in class.

The assignments will be graded as approved or not approved. All three assignments must be approved in order to take the final exam. The students will be divided in groups to work on the assignments. There will be at least 8 days between the presentation of the assignments to deadline for handing in the assignments. The answers should be maximum 2000 words, not including references. Assignments to be handed in on Fronter.

Attendance to lectures and seminars is mandatory.


The final grade is based on a individual 2 weeks home exam on a given topic. The exam should be be approximately 6000 words excluding references. Obligatory assignments must be approved before taking the final exam. The final exam is individual. Details are given in the full course description, available on the web.

The assignments and exam may be answered in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale: A-E equals passed, F equals failed.

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

Recommended reading/syllabus

Curriculum is based on information and articles available on the internet.

For basic consepts in environmental health, the following textbooks are recommended: