Course syllabus for

Global Health, 7.5 credits

Global Hälsa, 7.5 hp
This course syllabus is valid from spring 2020.
Please note that the course syllabus is available in the following versions:
Course code
Course name
Global Health
7.5 credits
Form of Education
Higher Education, study regulation 2007
Main field of study 
Global Health 
Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements 
Grading scale
Fail (U) or pass (G)
Department of Global Public Health
Decided by
Styrelsen för utbildning
Decision date
Revised by
Education committee PHS
Last revision
Course syllabus valid from
Spring 2020

Specific entry requirements

120 credits in health care or medicine.
To participate in the second part of the course the student must have fulfilled the course requirements for part one.


The aim of the course is for the students to achieve an understanding of the concept global health2, more specifically to understand how the income level of a country affects health status and health indicator as well as critically reflect on differences in health determinants and health systems between and within countries.

After the course the student should be able to:​

  • Describe and discuss the complex history of global health, from colonialism to international health politics of today
  • Describe how health and illness, mortality and morbidity are measured in a population and how they change over time, but also between data sources
  • Analyze the health of a population using health indicators in order to identify an essential health challenge and generate an intervention to improve the identified problem
  • Discuss how economic, political and social factors as well as environmental factors determine the health and access to health-care services among individuals and in a population
  • Compare the variation in the availability, and type of care and quality of care within and between countries over time and compare this to the Swedish health care system   
  • Know how different professions collaborate and share tasks in health care in weak health systems with resource scarcity and compare it to high income countries
  • Discuss how the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and human rights can affect health in a population 

[2] Global health is defined as an area for study, research, and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving health equity for all people worldwide. (Koplan et al. Lancet 2009)


During the first part of the course the growing amount of information in global health will be discussed. The second part gives the opportunity to experience-based understanding for the conditions for health care in low- and lower middle-income countries, as well as an understanding for the roles of different professions within a healthcare system that has another structure and another resource level than our own. Meeting health care staff in both urban and rural settings gives new perspectives to the work with health care in weak health care systems with high burden of disease. The mix of learning to understand and interpret global health in theory with the personal experience of another reality abroad is an important incentive to leave old ideas about the world and adopt an evidence-based, modern view of the world.

Teaching methods

Lectures by faculty, including many different professions with extensive international experience. Individual and group studies on health development and specific health problems in the country the student will be going to, in relation to both regional and global development. Individual work with statistical data using computer programs, web-based information and discussions with resource persons at KI in seminars.

Mandatory requirements: During the first part of the course, the introductory and final lectures are mandatory to attend as they cover specific information that prepares the students for their stay in the host country. These lectures are mandatory, as learning about social norms, values and expected behavior is difficult to achieve in an alternative manner. Seminars during the first part of the course are mandatory. 

During the second part of the course, all visits, lectures and meetings are mandatory as assessment is done continuously. Attending these visits, lectures and meetings contributes to all students' understanding of health in the specific country and context, such as the possibilities to offer health services in rural versus urban settings.

Code of Conduct: All students are required to sign a code of conduct before they leave.
According to the Code of Conduct, the student must:

  • follow the advice and instructions given in terms of personal safety, and hence avoid exposing themselves, fellow travelers or hosts to risks.
  • follow the instructions given before travelling and while staying abroad, as well as the rules that apply at the educational institution, hospital, place of work or equivalent.
  • show respect for the host country's culture and traditions, social structure and religion, and respect the dress codes and codes of conduct that apply in the country in question.
  • show respect for other students, teaching staff, patients, families and health-care staff.
  • provide a good example for other students, and not jeopardise KI's relationships with its partners.
  • follow the agreed course programme and respect the host institution's pedagogical tradition and teaching methods.
  • take personal responsibility for his/her own learning and follow the agreed course programme and safety instructions.

Should a student fail to comply with the code of conduct, it may result in a failure to pass the second part of the course. The examiner can also immediately interrupt a student's stay abroad if the student shows such serious shortcomings in knowledge, skills or attitudes that the safety or trust of other students, the reputation of Karolinska Institutet and the collaboration with our local partners is deemed to be at risk. Should the second part of the course be interrupted in this way, it will result in the student failing this part of the course. Should the second part of the course be interrupted, the student's study programme will be informed and the student may be forced to return home .


The assessment of the students for part 1 is based on "Daily questions", where students are to analyse and discuss an issue related to the lectures given that same day and answer through the KI student web system within a given time. To pass, the students are to attend actively at all seminars, given during the course at KI. If a student fails to pass the Daily questions, there will be a written or oral re-examination. If a student fails to pass a seminar there will be a written assignment or an individual oral exam with a member of faculty.

The assessment of the students for part 2 is based on active participation of the students during the study visits and seminars, organised in collaboration with the partner university responsible for the two course weeks abroad. If a student fails a seminar it must be compensated through a written assignment or through an oral exam with a faculty member or if a student is found to have major knowledge gaps due to, for example, missing multiple learning opportunities, it will be necessary to fulfil the second part of the course through completing a longer written assignment and/or auscultation in another country or in Sweden corresponding to what the student has missedor. 

Compulsory participation
The examiner assesses if, and how, absence from compulsory educational elements can be compensated for.
Before the student has participated in the compulsory educational elements or compensated the absence in accordance with the examiner's instructions, the final course results will not be reported.
Absence from a compulsory educational component may mean that the student cannot compensate for the missed compulsory educational element until the next time the course is given.

If there are special grounds, or a need for adaptation for a student with a disability, the examiner may decide to deviate from the syllabus's regulations on the examination form, the number of examination opportunities, the possibility of supplementation or exemptions from the compulsory section/s of the course etc. Content and learning outcomes as well as the level of expected skills, knowledge and abilities may not be changed, removed or reduced.

Transitional provisions

After cancellation or major renewal of the course, examination will be provided at least twice (not counting the original examination) during a time of one year after the date when the change was made.

Other directives

The course is evaluated in accordance with the guidelines established by the  Committee for Higher Education.
The official language of the course is English, but if all attending are speaking Swedish, Swedish may be used.

Literature and other teaching aids

Mandatory course literature

Global Health : An Introductory textbook Lindstrand, Ann; Bergström, Staffan; Rosling, Hans; Rubenson, Birgitta; Stenson, Bo

Recommended literature

Gives a good overview of the status of Global health today and onwards

Jamison et al. Global health 2035: a world converging within a generation 382 (2013) s. 1898-1955