HEVAL5140 – Methods for effectiveness evaluations in health care

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course aims to give a theoretical background and practical experience in different methods to estimate the effects of a health intervention or a policy intervention and how to design interventions and conduct experiments to measure causal effects. Special emphasis is placed on the distinction between estimating treatment effects based on experimental data versus observational data and how to deal with the problem of selection and information bias in observational data.

Learning outcome


You will gain knowledge of:

  • The difference between causation and correlation
  • Different concepts of causation
  • Concept of selection bias and its causes
  • Advantages and disadvantages of using experiments
  • Advantages and disadvantages of different methods that control for selection bias
  • The potential outcome framework and instrumental variables
  • General approaches to identify causal effects in observational data
  • Knowledge of assumptions behind different approaches to the identification of effects


You will learn how to:

  • How to design a randomized controlled experiment
  • How to use propensity score matching methods and synthetic control to analyze observational data
  • How to instrumental variables, regression discontinuity and difference-in-difference methods to identify causal effects
  • Ability to identify when the different methods for causal analysis are most appropriate
  • Draw a directed acyclic graph of causal relationships and discuss how the structure of the graph enables or makes it difficult to identify a causal effect

General competence

You will gain:

  • Increased awareness of the possibilities and limits of scientific knowledge
  • Increased understanding of ethical problems in experiments


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.

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


Lectures (some of these will take place in a computer lab with exercises).


Term paper


The Board at the University of Oslo has decided to introduce detailed guidelines for all examinations, which take place at the University. The description of the grading should be clear and transparent. This is done to ensure alignment between learning outcomes, assignments, and grading. The Faculty of Medicine has developed a web page with information regarding exams and the grading procedures (norwegian version).

Submit assignments in Inspera

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

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.

Language of examination

For students at Eu-HEM: English

For students at HEPAM: The examination set will be given in English. Answers can be given in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or 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

For HEPMA students:

For Eu-HEM students:

An EU-hem student cannot present her or himself for the examination in a course more than two times. There will be held re-sits for EU-hem students who have failed an exam or who have legitimate absence (usually illness) in January and August. If you are entitled to a re-sit you must contact the student advisor via email no longer than one week after the result of the exam has been published.

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.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language