This course is discontinued

MF9320 – Medical history: sources, methods and historiographic questions

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

The class provides an introduction into the history of medicine. Starting from looking at some key events of the last 500 years we will discuss basic theoretical perspectives and research methods of that discipline. In addition an overview over customary sources of scholarly information and how they are to be used will be provided. Particular emphasis will be put on the question of how to identify and work with relevant primary sources. Furthermore, we will approach the question how historical arguments are developed and how historical prose is written. Finally, we will discuss how medical historical perspectives can fruitfully be brought to work in other medical disciplines. Participants who wish to explore ways in which medical history can be employed in their own work, for instance in the introduction to a PhD thesis, are offered assistance. The candidates will be expected to deliver a small piece of historical text themselves.

Learning outcome

This course will give you knowledge about:

  • key events in history of medicine since 1500.
  • basic theoretical perspectives and research methods of history.
  • a basic set of scholarly sources of historical information.

This course will give you the skills to:

  • handle scholarly information and primary sources.
  • critically evaluate non-scholarly sources of historical information.
  • place your own research in a historical context.
  • write short pieces of scholarly historical prose.

General competence
This course will give you general competence to:

  • reflect on medicine in society through the lens of its history.


Ph.D. candidates and students at the Medical Student Research Programme will get first priority to the course. Maximum number of participants is 12.

Registration in the StudentWeb -
Autumn semester 1st June to 1st September
Spring semester 1st December to 1st February

Registration for applicants without access to the StudentWeb -
Autumn semester 1st June to 1st September
Spring semester 1st December to 1st February

Applicants will be notified by email 1 - 2 weeks after the final date for registration.


Recommended previous knowledge

It is recommended that the participants should have an interest in medical history.


Course periode 17.11.-18.11.2015

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 must write a short article that is to be handed in two after the course. 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






Spring and autumn


Spring and autumn

Teaching language


(Norwegian if there is only Norwegian-speaking candidates enrolled.)