SUM4023 – The Political Economy of Global Health

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Course content

Global health is a rapidly emerging field of research, education, policy, practice and advocacy. Global health problems cross borders, and are therefore increasingly the focus of foreign policy and international relations. Addressing global health problems requires intersectoral and interdisciplinary solutions, and coordination and a range of strategies and action across sectors, not just the health sector. This course takes a social scientific approach to global health, and examines what it entails to analyse global health from a political economy perspective. Through lectures, seminars and films, the course will analyse how global health – and global health governance - is influenced by politics and processes of globalisation, and how global health is linked with development and development goals. Through in-depth case studies of political responses to maternal and child mortality in low- and middle-income countries, students will learn to critically analyse the social, economic and political forces that converge to create inequities in health both across and between countries.

Learning outcome

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Identify key global health problems, actors, policies and interventions
  • Analyse global health issues from a critical political economy perspective
  • Understand that the notion of “global health” is multifaceted, and political as much as technical
  • Understand the importance of action on the social determinants of health


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Please contact Centre for Development and the Environment for more information regarding admission.

A minimum number of registrants is needed in order for the course to run. If 6 or less has registered, the course will be cancelled. If the course is cancelled, you will be notified by email two weeks before the first lecture. 


Formal prerequisite knowledge

The course is directed at students with a background in humanities, social sciences or the natural sciences. The minimum requirement for admission is that the students must have a bachelor’s degree. Students with a natural science background should have at least half a year's studies within the humantities or social sciences to prepare them for the interdisciplinary challenges this programme offers. Students must also have a good working knowledge of English, and should be able to read and follow lectures in this language as well as writing portfolio essays in English.


The course consists of lectures and seminars, held at Centre for Development and Environment.  Students are expected to actively participate in discussion.

Lectures will be given by Dr. Katerini T. Storeng (course organizer) and Dr. Sidsel Roalkvam. PhD candidates Birgit Kvernflaten and Maren Olene Kloster will facilitate student-led seminars, during which students will present and critically analyze key global health readings.

Film screenings will complement the lectures and seminars (these are not obligatory).

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


Portfolio assessment including two short papers (ca. five pages each), and one longer paper (ca. 10 pages). The short papers counts for 25% each, while the longer paper counts 50% of the grade.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course

Spring 2014
Spring 2013
Spring 2012
Spring 2013
Teaching language