MF9010E – Introductory course to the medical PhD programme, INTRO I

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This is the first of two compulsory courses for all PhD candidates at the Faculty of Medicine. The aim of the course is to provde an introduction to theory of science and research ethics, and basic knowledge about the breadth of research methods that are used in medical and health research. Since the course brings together PhD candidates with many different backgrounds and research projects, it also offers a rare opportunity to get to know colleagues from the entire range of research environments at the Faculty of Medicine. The course exam affords course participants experience with peer reviewing. After the course exam paper has been submitted, it will be assessed by one of the other course participants. Based on the peer comments received, a final version will then be prepared and submitted.

The course’s starting point is that medical research has become decidedly interdisciplinary. Cross-disciplinary cooperation and integration of multiple research fields have allowed the development of new knowledge and enabled new applications. This development is often called convergence. In this course, we will exemplify convergence by showing how a multifaceted problem can be addressed from different angles. We have chosen morbid obesity as our case; this thematic area will be employed in order to give participants concrete examples of general principals and approaches. It should, however be noted that the course is not a formalized introduction to obesity research – the case merely exemplifies modern research trends.

Multiple, integrated methods and tools can be applied to elucidate this thematic area including randomized controlled trials, R&D initiatives in primary health care, municipal initiatives, programs for increased physical activity and cooperation with NGOs. In the social context, prevention requires increased awareness in schools and in the public, as well as enhanced knowledge of nutrition, public health initiatives, product innovation, dissemination of healthcare products and political decision making.

This course provides an introduction to a variety of scientific perspectives and skills that are required to address such a complex issue. The course includes research within ethics and philosophy of science, epidemiology and statistics. In addition, genetic studies, basic research studies, cell physiology and pathophysiology, and studies of laboratory animals are introduced. The students will work in groups to elucidate the issue from their own point of view.

The first course day includes the startup seminar where candidate and supervisors meet. Participation the first day is mandatory

Learning outcome

This course will give you knowledge about:
• science and knowledge acquisition , including sources of scientific knowledge, various forms of scientific arguments, and science as a social phenomenon
• different perspectives on the research object, whether it is cells, organs, symptoms, emotions, behavior, or abstract concepts and texts
• epidemiological research
• design of clinical trials, observational studies (cross-sectional studies , case -control studies , cohort studies), experimental methods (controlled clinical trials, intervention studies)
• qualitative and quantitative research tools
• genetic-, cellular, molecular and platform -based analyses within life sciences
• important statistical, bioinformatic and biostatistical concepts
• choice of research methods, negative and positive controls, sensitivity and specificity issues
• animal research models in biomedical research
• ethical perspectives in research; integrity, accountability and social responsibility
• the Norwegian Health Research Act

This course will give you the skills to:
• critically evaluate scientific knowledge
• understand scientific knowledge in light of important scientific paradigms
• explain the main principles of epidemiological research
• explain the main principles of clinical studies, describe differences and similarities
• elaborate on the selection and use of basic medical research methods
• apply statistical methods and have knowledge of statistical challenges in bioinformatics
• justify and explain choices of research methods
• explain and use qualitative methods such as observations, interviews and document analyses
• be able to explain the Norwegian Health Research Act
• identify and discuss ethical problems in medicine and life sciences

General competence
This course will give you general skills to:
• understand the convergence principle in life sciences
• gain insight into cross-disciplinary approaches to complex research questions


MF9010E is restricted to PhD candidates at the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Oslo.

Applicants who are admitted to a PhD programme at UiO apply in StudentWeb .

Enrollment to this course is automatically registered in StudentWeb. Applicants will be notified immediately if their application to the course is granted, if the course is full or if the candidate does not meet the formal prerequisite knowledge for admission. Applicants will be put on a waiting list if the course is full.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

No obligatory prerequisites beyond the minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway.


MF9010E intro I is a 6 day course. The first day includes the startup seminar and a half day course in ethics. Note that the course starts on a Friday and that participation the first day is mandatory. Attendance will be registered.

You have to participate in at least 80 % of the teaching to be allowed to take the exam. Attendance will be registered.


To pass the course MF9010E:

1. Attendance is compulsory the first day of the course

2. The home exam must be evaluated as passed. The exam has three components:

a)    Course participants first write their own exam answer (time frame 2 weeks)

b)    Each course participants thereafter carries out peer review of an exam paper submitted by one of the other course participants (time frame 1 week)

c)    Each course participant then receives a peer review report from another course participant and revises their original exam answers on the basis of the comments provided (time frame 1 week)

When all three steps have been completed, candidates submit their original exam, the peer review report received, and their revised exam answers in Inspera.


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.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. 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.


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






Spring and autumn

Course registration in


Automatic reply in StudentWeb


Spring 2021:

23.4. - 30.4.

Application period

1.12. - 20.3.

Information about Intro I Norwegian version:

MF9010 Intro I



Spring and autumn

Teaching language