The course was established 22 November 2006.
This course syllabus (version 1) was approved 16 September 2009 by the Faculty Board of Health and Society .
The syllabus is valid from 16 January 2011.
The aim of the course is for the students to gain intellectual tools for a better understanding of conceptual, theoretical, political and ethical issues in relation to health and illness in society. A further aim is for the students to become more able to reflect critically on theoretical and practical questions of importance for professional public health work.
Advancement in relation to the degree requirements
The course is in the first semester in the programme Master of Public Health and it is also a separate course.
1. Bachelor degree, consisting of 180 credits (hp), or equivalent.
2. General eligibility + the equivalent of English course B in Swedish secondary school. Information on application and eligibility is available at www.mah.se/education/non-exchange
After the course the students should be able to
- identify, define and use the central concepts used in public health,
- account for, compare and evaluate normative theories and principles relevant for public health and health promotion.
- describe and critically scrutinize how political ideologies and philosophies shape society and influence public health work,
- apply, orally and in writing, central conceptual, political and ethical theories to relevant public health problems.
The assessment of the students´ knowledge will be based on written assignments, performed individually or by a group of students, and/or on oral or written exams.
Students who fail examinations have two further opportunities to re-sit. Furthermore, students have the opportunity to re-sit these examinations during the course to avoid subsequent interruption to follow on courses. If the course ceases or goes through major changes, students retain the right to two re-sits examinations based on the original course content. Examinations and re-sits are scheduled throughout the course timetable.
Various philosophical and ethical issues related to public health are presented and discussed. Central concepts for public health are introduced, critically discussed and defined, e.g. health, health promotion, disease prevention, public health, illness and disease. Various political philosophies and ideologies are presented and discussed in relation to public health work. Issues such as freedom, equality and equity, social justice and democracy are related to public health practice and policy. Finally, ethical problems relevant to public health practice and research are discussed in relation to normative theory.
The course is based on active participation of the students. A variety of methods, including interactive lectures/discussions, assigned readings, and group projects will be utilized for the purpose of achieving the course objectives.
Fail (U), Pass (G) or Pass with Distinction (VG). ECTS grading system can be used on students demand.
Reading list and other media
Holland, S. (2007). Public Health Ethics. Cambridge: Polity press. 222 p.
Rachels, J (2006). The Elements of Moral Philosophy (5th ed.). New York McGraw.Hill:. 210p.
Swift, A. (2006). Political Philosophy (2nd ed). Cambridge: Polity press. 230 p.
Scientific articles relating to covered topics will be added. Approx. 100 p.
The course will be continually evaluated through reflection and feedback from the student regarding course content and implementation. At the end of the course the students will give an individual, written evaluation to express their views about the course based on the course aims and objectives and how these have been realized. The results from the evaluations will be summarized and presented to the students orally and in a protocol.