SOSANT2550 – Medical anthropology

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Medical anthropology includes studies of health, sickness, medicine and treatment. The sub-discipline has older ties to both classical anthropology (religion, magic, possession, witchcraft) and contemporary research into society, history and political economy.

While covering some ethnography of non-western medicine, the course will focus in particular on the anthropology of biomedicine, and of global health, and recent critical approaches in medical anthropology.

Learning outcome


  • Insights into different anthropological approaches to issues of health and healing around the world
  • Understanding medical anthropology as a subfield of general anthropology, its history and its ties into general anthropological themes.
  • Understanding the political role of controlloing health and disease and theoretical approaches used to question these
  • Appreciating medical anthropology as a tool of social and political critique


  • Familiarity with key current authors and texts in medical anthropology
  • Capability to use recent theoretical approaches to study issues of health and disease globally
  • Ability to formulate relevant analytical approaches to studies of health and disease
  • Ability to critically investigate aspects of health policies and practices


  • Capability to orally and in writing engage with social scientific discussions of health, sickness and medicine


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


The course consists of five lectures and five seminars. The course builds on active preparation and participation on the part of students. 

It is expected that reading is done before the lectures, and the lecturer will ask some basic cold questions on scheduled texts in the beginning of each lecture.

The seminars will consist in part of presentations by the students, briefly summarizing individual readings. This will be explained and distributed in the first lecture.
The teaching is not compulsory, though it is highly recommended to participate.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


Take-home exam.

Previous exams

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 scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

It is recommended to request an explanation of your grade before you decide to appeal.



The deadline to request an explanation is one week after the grade is published. For oral and practical examinations, the deadline is immediately after you have received your grade.

The explanation should normally be given within two weeks after you have asked for it. 
You find the explanation in Inspera.

Ask for an explanation of your grade

Resit an examination

If you are sick or have another valid reason for not attending the regular exam, we offer a postponed exam later in the same semester.

See also our information about resitting an exam.

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






Autumn 2016

The course is offered irregularly.


Autumn 2016

Teaching language