This Master's programme covers the whole range of public health science with a specific focus on how inequities in health can be detected and reduced. The programme have a main emphasis on middle- and high-income countries and how overarching macro level structures like economic systems, welfare regimes and policies intertwine with individual living conditions in establishing patterns of population health. The students will leave the programme with a highly relevant tool box including knowledge and skills such as health economic analysis and evaluation, social epidemiology, bio-psycho-social theories of health, human rights and health, and biostatistics. Migration and health form another focus areas. In order to attain experiences of practical public health work and to build a network for a future career the students also have the possibility of pursuing a national or international internship.
Work opportunities for Public health professionals mirror contemporary public health challenges. Positions will therefore be found in local, regional, national, and international organizations engaged in promoting population health and preventing disease, such as local and regional public health departments and authorities, ministries of health and social affairs, UN bodies and non-governmental organizations. Public health professionals perform a wide range of tasks including surveillance and analyses of population health data, design of health promotive interventions and action to address social determinants and health equity, advocacy communication and social mobilization for health, and creating and promoting public policy for equity in health. Students completing the programme will also be well prepared for PhD studies within the area of Public Health Science.
The programme starts with studies in the foundations of public health science including welfare systems and health equity. This first part of term 1 lay a common ground in relation to how public health science is defined, relevant conceptual models, social determinants of health, and human rights and health. Students will gain knowledge in the mechanisms between social structures and agency in the distribution of health, for individuals and in relation to overarching structures like economic and welfare systems. In order to optimize learning, forms of teaching will vary between lectures, workshops, group assignments, individual assignments, and study visits. The second part of this term will focus epidemiology (i.e. the study of how often diseases, injuries, and disabilities occur in different groups of people and why), biostatistics, and qualitative research methods which can be seen as fundamental tools for both public health practice and research.
This term starts with a course in global health and human rights. Since many public health challenges, today are global the students will gain knowledge on the distribution of disease globally, international actors and globalization of health and health care, as well as the conditions to conduct public health work in low- and middle-income countries, including in emergency situations, with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in focus. There will also be a focus on social determinants for communicable (e.g. TB, HIV) and non-communicable disease (e.g. mental disorders, sexual and reproductive health, and violence). The second part of the first course this term deepens the theme of Human rights and the concept Right to health will be discussed and processed at lectures and applied workshops. The relationships between the right to health, health systems and public health are highlighted where particularly the influence of discrimination on health is emphasized. The second part of this term comprise three themes, 1) microeconomics and health (e.g. demand and supply of health care, adverse selections and financial models for care), 2) macroeconomics and health (e.g. economic growth and development, poverty, economic inequity and globalization), 3) economic evaluation methods, e.g. how economic costs and benefits of health interventions can be measured, and how this method may be used as a guide for prioritization.
The third term will start with special focus on social epidemiology which is a branch of epidemiology that focus on the relationship between social determinants and population health. The students will learn how to translate social epidemiological theories and concepts in the planning, implementation, interpretation and evaluation of advanced epidemiological studies. The students will also advance their skills in commonly used public health tools like development and validation of survey instrument, different types of advanced bio-statistical analyses as well as knowledge compilation and presentation of scientific literature. The second part of this term provide an opportunity for practical application of public health theories and methods, but also an opportunity to build a network for a future career within the field of Public health. The internship will be conducted within a national or international authority or organization for approximately two months.
The last term of the program is devoted to an individually written master’s thesis under the guidance of an academic supervisor. Students plan and carry out a research study relevant to public health, and present the scientific work in writing and orally at a final seminar. The thesis is to be written as a scientific article with a cover story that let the students go more in-depth in their topic of choice. Due to the format of the thesis students also have the opportunity, after examination, to continue working with their article in order to publish it in an international scientific journal.
The programme leads to a Degree of Master of Medical Science with a major in Public Health Science with Health Economics. It prepares well for PhD studies within the area of Public Health Science.
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