Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course aims to give the participants an overview of the interaction of light with living organisms and medical use of light. Light has been used for medical purposes for several thousands of years. However, only for the last 50 years has light had an important role in medicine for use in diagnosis, phototherapy alone or in combination with photosensitizing drugs. In recent years it has also been shown that several medicines are photodegraded by light.

Light has many important biological functions as in photosynthesis and vitamin D synthesis. On the other hand, ultraviolet light (UV) may be harmful, e.g. by inducing DNA damage that may result in sundamaged skin and cancer. A reduced ozon layer in the atmosphere will increase the exposure of most living organisms to UV and thereby increase the cancer incidence and will have a major environmental impact.

Learning outcome

The main goal is to give the students a broad overview of the most important scientific fields of photobiology and photomedicine with a focus on photophysics and photochemistry, penetration of light in tissue, photomedicine including photodynamic therapy, photodiagnosis, UV effects on tissue (DNA damage, photocarcinogenesis, photoimmunology, UV cell signaling and vitamin D synthesis), photosynthesis, environmental photobiology and photosensory biology. The lectures will be devided into a genereal part that needs to be followed by all students and a more in-depth part where the students select 3 out of 9 lecture alternatives. The course will provide a good basis for further studies in photobiology and photomedicine.


PhD candidates from the University of Oslo should apply for classes and register for examinations through Studentweb.

If a course has limited intake capacity, priority will be given to PhD candidates who follow an individual education plan where this particular course is included. Some national researchers’ schools may have specific rules for ranking applicants for courses with limited intake capacity.

PhD candidates who have been admitted to another higher education institution must apply for a position as a visiting student within a given deadline.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

The course is only available to students who have passed the MSc in pharmacy or other natural sciences or medicine.

Overlapping courses

2 credits against FRM5540/FRM9540 - Photoreactivity of medicines


This subject is primarily a self study.

If you choose to sit for the exam in Italy, the lectures are manditory. These will take place in in Brixen/Bressanone, South-Tyrol, Italy at the ESP - Photobiology School, approx one week in late June.

If you choose to sit for the exam i Norway, there are no lectures, only self study.

Access to teaching

Candidates who are registered for a PhD programme at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Oslo or have a status as visiting PhD candidate, and are registered for the course.


Written exam (2 hours) in English for those attending the lectures/summaries in Italy, or an oral exam at the School of Pharmacy, University of Oslo (in Norwegian).

Examination support material

As of 1 August, 2016, the use of own calculators is no longer permitted. Casio FX-991EX calculators are handed out to all exam candidates at the beginning of the exam.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

This course offers both postponed and resit of examination. Read more:

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every 2nd Spring semester. Next: Spring 2014


Next: Spring 2014

Teaching language