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Høst 2022

HEL-3008 Public Health Ethics - 10 stp

The course is administrated by

Institutt for samfunnsmedisin

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.

Course contents

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.

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June

Applicants from outside the Nordic countries:  15 April

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

Knowledge and understanding:

General proficiency:

Language of instruction


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.

Date for examination

Off campus exam hand out date 30.09.2022 hand in date 10.10.2022

The date for the exam can be changed. The final date will be announced at your faculty early in May and early in November.