INTHE4008 – Research Ethics - introductory module in research ethics

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course provides an introduction into the history and development of medical and health care research ethics, its core principles and the application of these principles in poor and low-income countries. It discusses controversies pertaining to the maintenance of universal ethical standards in such settings, respect for human rights, justice, exploitation and how to provide safeguards for patients and informants.

In addition, it addresses the challenges pertaining to preparing for applications to the Regional committees for medical and health research ethics (REK) and applications to the Norwegian Social Science Data Services (NSD), and provides as well an introduction into the working procedures of research ethics committees.

Learning outcome


You will get to know:

  • The core ethical principles and norms guiding medical and health related research
  • The main international guidelines and declarations pertaining to medical and health related research
  • The responsibility of a researcher when involving human subjects
  • What is needed to gain approval from REK and from the Norwegian Social Science Data Services (NSD)
  • What safe storage of sensitive data entails


You will learn:

  • How to interpret and apply ethical principles and norms in local research practices
  • How to include vulnerable groups in research
  • How to protect human participants during the implementation of a study
  • What is correct citation and use of scientific references

General Competence

You will attain:

  • Familiarity with central events and factors that led to the development of medical and health care research ethics
  • Familiarity with the pitfalls of scientific misconduct and ways to avoid such conduct


This course is an obligatory course for students enrolled at the master program in International Community Health. The course is aimed at students in international health and development studies but is open for other master students at UIO as well.


Five days course, total 30 hours. Topical introductions and group assignments. Work in interdisciplinary groups of 4-5 persons. You have to participate in at least 80 % of the teaching to be allowed to take the exam. Attendance at lectures will be registered.


Home exam (writing of a 10 pages essay on a selected topic in research ethics).

Assignment pertaining to group work is mandatory.


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

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

Grading scale

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

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language