Social Epidemiology, 7.5 credits

Socialepidemiologi, 7.5 hp


Main field of study

Public Health

Course level

Second cycle

Course type

Programme course


Toomas Timpka

Course coordinator

Nadine Karlsson

Director of studies or equivalent

Elin Ekbladh


ECV = Elective / Compulsory / Voluntary
Course offered for Semester Weeks Language Campus ECV
MMIN2 Master's Programme in Medical Science 1 (Autumn 2024) 202435-202444 English Distance
MMIN2 Master's Programme in Medical Science 3 (Autumn 2024) 202435-202444 English Distance

Main field of study

Public Health

Course level

Second cycle

Advancement level


Specific information

The course is included as a compulsory subject-specific course in public health as part of the Master’s Programme in Medical Science. The course is elective for other main fields of study in the Master’s Programme in Medical Science. The course is normally delivered in English.

Course offered for

  • Master's Programme in Medical Science

Entry requirements

  • Bachelor´s degree equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen in Occupational Therapy, Public Health, Physiotherapy, Speech and Language Patholog, Medicinal Education, Nursing or other major of relevance, including a independent in-depth academic paper of at least 15 ECTS credits.
  • English corresponding to the level of English in Swedish upper secondary education (Engelska 6 )
    (Exemption from Swedish)

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding
On completion of the course, the student shall be able to:

  • understand and explain key epidemiological concepts and be able to explain and compare different epidemiological measures,
  • describe the strengths and weaknesses of various epidemiological study designs and social epidemiology methods, and
  • describe various epidemiological sources of error in epidemionological studies and understand their impact on study results.

Skills and abilities
On completion of the course, the student shall be able to:

  • plan and argue in favour of social epidemiology study design and analyse and interpret data regarding determinants of health, and
  • critically appraise social epidemiology studies in order to be able to assess their reliability and conclusions.

Judgement ability and approach
On completion of the course, the student shall be able to:

  • evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the various definitions used to describe social conditions when applied in social epidemiology studies,
  • evaluate ethical principles within social epidemiology research, and 
  • consider various aspects of sustainable development within social epidemiology research.

Course content

The course deals with biopsychosocial determinants of health and disease and about the distribution of health within groups and populations.

The principal content of the course is:

  • Basic epidemiological methodology in order to assess and explain social inequalities in health,
  • How inequality in health arises based on social factors such as socio-economic situation, gender and ethnicity,
  • Social epidemiology study design, implementation, analysis and application of results in various contexts.

Teaching and working methods

Student-centred and problem-based learning forms the basis of the instruction within the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. The student takes responsibility for, processes and explores the content of the programme. The working methods encourage students to independently formulate questions for learning, to seek out knowledge and to assess and evaluate knowledge gained in dialogue with others. Students work in groups on the basis of situations that are grounded in reality in order to develop their own learning, contribute to their fellow students’ learning and as a means to practice collaboration. The teacher’s role is to support students in using this working method.

Teaching methods used in this course are lectures, PBL group, study assignments and seminars.


The course is assessed with an individual written assignment. The PBL group work and seminars are also compulsory components of the course and active participation in these is a prerequisite for passing. Active participation means that the student contributes with work, interjections and/or their own reflections that are of relevance to the assignment.

The individual written assignment may be sat an unlimited number of times by students who have not achieved a pass.

If special circumstances prevail, and if it is possible with consideration of the nature of the compulsory component, the examiner may decide to replace the compulsory component with another equivalent component.


Application for examination

Instructions on how to apply for examinations are given prior to the beginning of each course.



The date for re-examination should normally be announced by the date of the regular examination at latest; in which case the scope must be the same as at the regular examination.


Examination for students with disabilities

If the LiU coordinator for students with disabilities has granted a student the right to an adapted examination for a written examination in an examination hall, the student has the right to it.

If the coordinator has recommended for the student an adapted examination or alternative form of examination, the examiner may grant this if the examiner assesses that it is possible, based on consideration of the course objectives. 

An examiner may also decide that an adapted examination or alternative form of examination if the examiner assessed that special circumstances prevail, and the examiner assesses that it is possible while maintaining the objectives of the course. 


Nomination of another examiner

A student who has taken two examinations in a course or a part of a course without obtaining a pass grade is entitled to the nomination of another examiner, unless there are special reasons to the contrary.  


Two-grade scale, U, G

Course literature

A literature reference list must be set no later than two months before the course begins by the programme committee for the Master’s Programme in Medical Science. There is no compulsory course literature.

Other information

Planning and implementation of the course is to be based on the wordings in the course syllabus. A course evaluation is compulsory for each course and should include how the course is in agreement with the course syllabus. The course coordinator will analyse the course evaluation and propose appropriate development of the course. The analysis and proposal will be returned to the students, the Director of Studies, and as needed to the Education Board, if related to general development and improvement.

The course is carried out in such a way that knowledge of gender, gender identity/expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief system, disability, sexual orientation and age is addressed, highlighted and communicated as part of the programme.

If the course is cancelled or undergoes major changes, examination is normally offered under this course syllabus, at a total of three occasions, within/in connection to the two following semesters, of which one in close proximity to the first examination.


Institutionen för hälsa, medicin och vård
Code Name Scope Grading scale
OBL1 Compulsory Item 3.5 credits U, G
EXAM Examination 4 credits U, G
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