INTHE4120 – Ethical issues in international health research - advanced module in research ethics

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course focus on a cluster of salient topics in international research ethics, some of which have been introduced in the INTHE4008 - Research Ethics - introductory module in research ethics:

  • Designing scientifically and ethically sound studies,
  • Research ethics challenges in resource-poor settings: equality, justice and equity; the standard of care debate, post-trial obligations, fair distribution of benefits and harm; exploitation; unfair/undue inducement, collaborative injustice,
  • Benefit sharing pertaining to scientific research and its applications, access to essential medicines,
  • Ethical issues pertaining to the use of traditional medicine, and
  • Research ethics challenges in post-disaster situations.

Learning outcome

You will learn how to know the core epistemological and ethical principles in quantitative and qualitative research and be able to interpret and apply these principles in local research settings.


You will get to know:

  • The core epistemological and ethical principles in quantitative and qualitative research
  • The responsibility of researchers when involving vulnerable individuals, groups and communities in research
  • The pros-and counter-arguments employed in the debate about the use of standard of care versus placebo in resource-poor settings
  • What fair distribution of benefits and harms entail
  • The pros- and counter-arguments employed in the debate on exploitation
  • What post-trial obligations to participants and communities entail
  • How different regulatory regimes might influence the access to essential medicines
  • The responsibility of international researchers when involving local collaborators in conducting a study
  • The ethical obligations pertaining to conducting research in post-disaster situations


  • You will learn to interpret and apply ethical and epistemological principles in local research settings

General Competence

You will attain:

  • familiarity with the ethical challenges pertaining to sharing the benefits of scientific research and its applications
  • familiarity with the ethical challenges pertaining to conducting research on traditional medicine


Students enrolled at the M.Phil in International Community Health programme will get first priority to the courses. The deadline for register in Studentweb and apply for courses is February 1.

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

External applicants, not already enrolled as a student at UIO, are welcome to apply. Please email if you want admission to this course. You will have to provide the following documentation:

  • A completed Bachelor’s degree or a period of study comparable with a Norwegian Bachelor's degree from a recognised institution. Applicants with foreign education, please refer to the country list
  • A minimum grade point average (GPA) of C (in Norwegian scale) or equivalent from the specialization in your degree.
  • A language requirement documented by one of the tests/exams below:
    a) Passed examination in English foundation course (140 hours/5 periods per week) in Norwegian upper secondary school with a minimum grade of 4 (or an equivalent grade from a Nordic upper secondary school) or alternatively passed examination in English from second and/or third school year, or
    b) An internationally recognised English language proficiency test.
  • The applicants must have a specialization either within health sciences or social sciences.

    Note: all documents must be official certified copies

    Read more about admission for international applicants


Five days course, total 30 hours. Topical introductions and group assignments. Work in interdisciplinary groups of 4-5 persons. Assignment pertaining to group work is mandatory. There is an 80% attendance requirement to sit for exam.


Home exam - writing a 10 pages essay on a selected topic in research ethics.

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