MF9280 – Introduction to Medical Anthropology

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course introduces anthropological perspectives on health, illness and medicine, and explores the interactions between biology, society and culture. It aims to present a contextual and comparative approach in which cultural and social dimensions of health-related issues are emphasized, and placed within broader political and historical processes. Through extensive use of examples mainly from Africa, Asia and Norway, four themes will be made central: cultural and social constructions of disease, notions of the body, medical pluralism and the significance of power in the global distribution of health and illness. The course it taught over five days, through lectures and extensive use of seminars.

Learning outcome

The course gives a basic understanding of ways to include social and cultural aspects in analysis of health, illness and medicine. Moreover, the students will be encouraged to explore the potential of socio-cultural perspectives on their own projects.


Ph.D. candidates and students at the Medical Student Research Programme will get first priority to the course. Maximum number of particpants is 15.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

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


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


A take-home exam will be given at the end of the course. The participants will be asked to write an academic paper of 10-20 pages. Grading: pass/fail.

Explanations and appeals


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






It is currently not decided when this course will be offered again

Teaching language