Programme syllabus for

Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in Public Health in Disasters, 120 credits

Masterprogrammet i hälsoinsatser vid katastrofer, 120 hp

Basic programme information

Programme code
Name of the programme
Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in Public Health in Disasters
Number of credits
120.0 credits (120.0 ECTS credits)
Starting date
The syllabus applies to students who commence their studies in or after autumn  2019.

Approved revisions of the syllabus are described under the heading Transitional Provisions.
Decision date
Decided by
Committee for Higher Education
Reference number
Specific eligibility requirements
A Bachelor's degree or a professional degree of at least 180 credits in Health, Management and Administration or Social Sciences. Applicants must have a good command in English. Applicants must prove a C1 English level (IELTS (minimum score of 6.0 with at least 5.0 point in each section); TOEFL (paper based) at least 575 points with 4.0 in the writing section; TOEFL (IBT) 79 points with at least 17 points in every section).
Main field of study
Public Health in Disasters

Degree of Master of Medical Science (120 credits) with a Major in Public Health in Disasters 
(Medicine masterexamen med huvudområdet hälsoinsatser vid katastrofer)

The programme leads to a joint degree between Universidad de Oviedo and Karolinska Institutet. Certificate is issued by Universidad de Oviedo.

A student who fulfils the requirements for the award of a qualification shall, upon request, be provided with a certificate.


Outcomes of second cycle education according to the Higher Education Act

Second-cycle courses and study programmes shall be based fundamentally on the knowledge acquired by students during first-cycle courses and study programmes, or its equivalent.

Second-cycle courses and study programmes shall involve the acquisition of specialist knowledge, competence and skills in relation to first-cycle courses and study programmes, and in addition to the requirements for first-cycle courses and study programmes shall:

  • further develop the ability of students to integrate and make autonomous use of their knowledge,
  • develop the students' ability to deal with complex phenomena, issues and situations, and
  • develop the students' potential for professional activities that demand considerable autonomy, or for research and development work.

Outcomes of the Degree of Master (120 credits) according to the Higher Education Ordinance
Knowledge and understanding
For a Degree of Master (120 credits) the student shall

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding in the main field of study, including both broad knowledge of the field and a considerable degree of specialised knowledge in certain areas of the field as well as insight into current research and development work, and
  • demonstrate specialised methodological knowledge in the main field of study.

Competence and skills
For a Degree of Master (120 credits) the student shall

  • demonstrate the ability to critically and systematically integrate knowledge and analyse, assess and deal with complex phenomena, issues and situations even with limited information
  • demonstrate the ability to identify and formulate issues critically, autonomously and creatively as well as to plan and, using appropriate methods, undertake advanced tasks within predetermined time frames and so contribute to the formation of knowledge as well as the ability to evaluate this work
  • demonstrate the ability in speech and writing both nationally and internationally to clearly report and discuss his or her conclusions and the knowledge and arguments on which they are based in dialogue with different audiences, and
  • demonstrate the skills required for participation in research and development work or autonomous employment in some other qualified capacity. 

Judgment and approach
For a Degree of Master (120 credits) the student shall

  • demonstrate the ability to make assessments in the main field of study informed by relevant disciplinary, social and ethical issues and also to demonstrate awareness of ethical aspects of research and development work
  • demonstrate insight into the possibilities and limitations of research, its role in society and the responsibility of the individual for how it is used, and
  • demonstrate the ability to identify the personal need for further knowledge and take responsibility for his or her ongoing learning.
Outcomes of the study programme at Karolinska Institutet

On completion of the programme, the student should be able to show their capacity to:

  • interpret how and to what extent vulnerability, capacity and hazards contribute to the development of a disaster
  • systematically apply knowledge about and explain different health consequences of disasters
  • explain disaster risk reduction, response, and recovery and describe how different aspects interrelate
  • analyse and interpret lessons learnt from past disasters with the aim of formulating strategies for better management of future disasters
  • prioritize among needs and plan for implementation and follow up of needs-based public health responses in disasters
  • identify and reason around ethical aspects in public health response and research in disaster
  • interpret research results in the disaster field with insight into the potential and limitations of science, and
  • identify knowledge gaps, and under supervision design and perform research in the field of public health in disasters.

Content and structure

The study programme is a joint university educational programme together with Universidad de Oviedo (Spain) and University of Nicosia (Cyprus) and it is granted by the Erasmus+ programme of the EU's Education Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).

The aim of the master programme is to, through knowledge, experience and research build capacities that will reduce disaster risks and contribute to better and more targeted public health based responses following disasters.

The Erasmus+ programme has two tracks and KI is involved in one of these: Public health response to disaster. The courses are of three different kinds: common introduction courses, track specific courses and a thesis project that also includes an internship.

The joint introductory courses are located at Oviedo University. In total they comprise 40 credits. The joint courses focus on different types of disasters, health consequences of different types of disasters, risk assessments and disaster prevention. One joint course also gives a general introduction to disaster response. 
The track specific courses start with a 30 credits course at the Karolinska Institutet with progression in public health in disasters. The student will learn how to adequately and based on needs, prioritize, plan, implement and follow up public health interventions in disasters. The second tracks pecific course focuses on research methods in disasters. Thereafter the students will have an internship period of 20 credits. The internship will be placed at one of the affiliated partners, linked to the program. The last 30 credits are devoted to a degree project, either at Karolinska Institutet or Oviedo University.

Scientific knowledge, competence and approach

The student will develop competencies and skills in public health response in disasters, based on current knowledge and on scientific grounds. The program's focus is new findings and how these can be interpreted and understood in relation to existing knowledge.

The student is trained to search, review as well as present and discuss scientific information. Scientific methods are integrated in all courses in the program and students obtain training in independently applying their knowledge. The method course further strengthens the student's ability to independently review and analyze evidence in the main field further.

During the final part of the education, the internship period and the degree project, the student is expected to apply this by independent collection of data and analysis of information that concerns public health in disasters. Likewise the student will develop awareness and understanding of global, ethical, social and sustainability aspects in the area of public health in disasters.

Practice Integrated Learning

Practice integrated learning is a generic term for the pedagogical models that are based on interaction and integration between higher education and working life. Practice integrated learning may take the form of placements, study visits, observing teaching activities, staff exchange training schemes or field studies within out-patient and in-patient healthcare, social care or other relevant activities.

The students will not have a practice integrated learning in a traditional sense, but the programme has an internship period of 20 credits. The internships will be located to one of the program's affiliated partners around the world. The affiliated partners are academic institutions, different types of organisations and institutes with research and activities with connection to the main field of study: public health in disasters. The aim of the internship period is for students to obtain a first contact with their future labour market as well as a possibility to practice their earned knowledge. The student can also collect relevant data for the future degree project.
During the education the student will also come in contact with research active lecturers. The student will thus continuously take part in the academic environment. During the degree project the student could work independently in a research field that relates to public health in disasters.


The Erasmus + programme is in its nature international with a general aim to increase exchange and understanding in and outside EU. Courses in the program are permeated with an international perspective that develops students' understanding and reflection around health problems related to disasters in different contexts e g low- or middle-income countries, with different poverty and health-related questions. This gives students competence to work in both multicultural environments and in an international labour market.

Other guidelines

Grading scale

An objective-related seven-point scale is used for grading on courses. The pass grades are A, B, C, D and E. The fail grades are Fx and F. Alternative grading scales may apply to elective courses or cross-programme courses. The grading scale is detailed in the course syllabus.

Language of instruction

The teaching language is English.

Study plan with constituent courses

Name of the course Credits Main field of study Cycle and depth
of the course
Course coordinating university
Introductory Course 2 -- Second  UNIOVI
Disaster Risk Assessment, Management and Reduction 16 -- Second  UNIOVI
Disaster Types 14 -- Second  UNIOVI
General Disaster Response 6 -- Second  UNIOVI
Spanish 2 -- First/Second UNIOVI
Public Health Response in Disasters / Hälsoinsatser vid katastrofer 20 Public Health in Disasters Second (AV) KI
Applied Research Methods in Disasters /
Forskningsmetoder i katastrofer
10 Public Health in Disasters Second (AV) KI
20 Public Health in Disasters Second (AV) UNIOVI/KI
Master Thesis / Examensarbete 30 Public Health in Disasters Second (AV) UNIOVI/KI

* Universidad de Oviedo (UNIOVI), Karolinska Institutet (KI)