Course syllabus for

Global Health, 7.5 credits

Global Hälsa, 7.5 hp
This course syllabus is valid from autumn 2021.
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 GPH
Last revision
Course syllabus valid from
Autumn 2021

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 overarching aim of the course is for the students to achieve an understanding of the concept global health1, what determines the health status in a population and how health can be improved, including the role of society and the health system. The students are to 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 the topic global health, from colonialism to  global health politics of today and Agenda 2030
  • Describe how health and illness, mortality and morbidity are measured in a population and how they change over time, but also between data sources
  • Describe the term Global burden of disease, and discuss the most common causes of disease and death worldwide and in countries on different income levels.
  • Analyze the health of a population using health indicators in order to identify an essential health challenge and generate an intervention to counter the identified problem
  • Discuss how different factors (economic, political, social, environmental) determine the health and access to health-care services on a population level and among individuals
  • Compare the differences in healthcare, differences in quality of care and quality of healthcare as well as access to care  within and between countries and compare this to the Swedish health care system   
  • Know how different professions collaborate and share tasks in healthcare within health systems with different pre-conditions
  • Know the biggest threats to population health, including climate change, pandemics, and epidemics as well as antimicrobial resistance, and how these threats can be prevented and managed.
  • Discuss how the UNs Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Agenda 2030,  and human rights can affect health in a population 

[1] 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 global health in a wider perspective will be discussed. The students will be given tools to understand and describe the level of health and its determinants, the role of the health system and they will deepen their knowledge of different aspects of global health, including the history of the subject as well as an ethical approach. The second part gives the opportunity to get an experience-based understanding for different conditions for people's health and healthcare, ​preferentially in another country, , 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.  The combination of learning to understand and interpret global health in theory with the experience is an important eye-opener to adopt an evidence-based, modern view of the world.

Teaching methods

Lectures and seminars by faculty,  from many different disciplines and professions with extensive international experience. Individual and group studies on health indicators, health determinants and ethics , in relation to local  regional and global condiditions. Individual or group work with statistical data , web-based information and discussions with faculty at KI in seminars.

Mandatory requirements: During the first part of the course, the introductory and final lectures, as well as seminars  are mandatory to attend. a

During the second part of the course, all learning activities  are mandatory.

Code of Conduct: All students are required to sign the code of conduct of Karolinska Institutet (KI) before they begin part 2.
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 or corresponding. 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 missed. 

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

Recommended literature