Department of Social Work and Health Science

The Department of Social Work and Health Science is named after the closely related disciplines which also form the basis of two of three master programmes offered by the department.

Our teaching and research is based on an interdisciplinary staff of social scientists, focusing on the broad areas of health and social welfare.  The department seeks to give active contributions to the academic world and society at large by applying a diverse set of methodological and theoretical approaches to this field.

The department also seeks to contribute to the creation of a better society through engagement with present and future challenges within its core areas of health and social welfare. In doing so, particular emphasis is put on providing knowledge which will address the needs of a diverse population. This  pursuit  of knowledge  will make  a positive contribution to the everyday life of ordinary people.

As a consequence, our empirical focus is not only restricted to health care and social welfare institutions, but covers all areas of society such as family life, kindergarten, school, work, leisure activities, NGOs etc.

Graduate Programmes

The department provides postgraduate education through three master programmes, admitting new students every autumn in the areas of:

  • Health Science
  • Social Work
  • Disability Studies

We are the only educational institution in Norway which offers a Master's degree in Health Science based on a social science approach, a fact which is reflected in our recruitment of students from all over the country. Furthermore, our Master's programme in Social Work is the programme with the longest history in Norway, as NTNU was the first university that provided a possibility for graduate studies within this discipline. We also offer an outstanding Master's programme in Disability Studies, also the only of its kind in Norway.

Our bachelor degree candidates are primarily recruited from among people who have completed a three year college education within programmes that provide education for the health and social welfare professions (nurses, occupational therapists, social workers, child welfare workers, physiotherapists etc.), but we also experiencing  a growing recruitment from  candidates with bachelor degrees from various other disciplines within the social sciences and humanities (education, psychology, sociology, anthropology etc.).

In addition to our master's programmes we also offer two PhD programmes with continuous admission in the areas of:

  • Health Science
  • Social Work

Until 2010, the department was the only department offering a programme at the PhD level in Social Work in Norway, thus firmly establishing this academic discipline at NTNU. Our PhD in Health Science is a cross disciplinary degree offered in cooperation with departments within the field of medicine. Our department's unique contribution to the PhD programme is in offering a social science profile along with the field of medicine. We are thus a department with a long tradition for providing good quality education within these areas.


The department, in cooperation with its associated institutions and external partners, also provides a thriving environment for research activities. A common feature of these research activities is that their centre of gravity is ordinary people, whether that is as a patient, a user or in some other role as an ordinary citizen. Among our research areas are:

  • disability
  • health promotion and disease prevention
  • health care and welfare technology
  • immigration, integration and diversity
  • social services
  • children and child welfare

We work closely with the Centre for Health Promotion Research and NTNU Social Research.


Visiting Professors

John Wrench is new Visiting Professor at Department for Social work and Health Science. He has for the last three years been Adjunct Professor at our Department. Professor Wrench has researched and published for many years in the area of ethnic discrimination and inclusion in the labour market at a European comparative level.

Don Byrne and Bjarne Bruun Jensen are new Visiting Professors at Centre for Health Promotion and Resources at Department for Social Work and Health Science.

Professor Don Byrne comes from Australian National University. He is a Doctor Honoris Causa at NTNU

Professor Bjarne Bruun Jensen,is Director of Steno Health Promotion Center at Steno Diabetes Center in Gentofte, Denmark.  

We wish both our Visiting Professors welcome to us.



Head of the Department: Riina Kiik, tel. +47 73590737, mobile + 47 46684620, email

Vice-head of Department: John-Arne Skolbekken, tel. +47 73550643, email

Office Manager: Hallgerd Hoff Helgetun, tel. +47 73595757, mobile +47 95177144, email

Head of Disability and Society: Patrick S. Kermit, tel. +47 73591926, email

Head of Social Work: Inger Marii Tronvoll, tel. +47 73591929, email

Head of Health Science: John-Arne Skolbekken, tel. +47 73550643, email

Head of PhD-programme in Health Science: Geir Arild Espnes, tel. +47 73591768, email

Head of PhD-programme in Social Work: Riina Kiik, tel. +47 73590737, mobile + 47 46684620, email