POL3523 - Health Policy and Health Systems


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Assignment
Grade: Letters

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Assignment 100/100

Course content

This course gives an introduction to the study of health policy and health systems. Health policy represents a tremendous opportunity for studying an institutional arena undergoing rapid and profound changes, and an increasing number of political scientists are now affiliated with research related to the management and organisation of health services. The organizational changes in health services over the last decades have challenged the traditional bureaucratic and professional management by introducing principles from the private sector. The changing public and private roles and the developing modes of financing, managing and delivering health services pose several important questions from the perspective of political science. This course has a focus on central concepts and theoretical approaches in order to understand what informs the decisions of health policy. The course aims to introduce the principles of health care organisation and policy, identify the key characteristics and components of health care systems, explain variations between different countries and assess each health care system's strengths and weaknesses. The course discusses health care reforms in both Norway and other countries, with special emphasis on the marketization of health policy and the significance this has had on leadership, management and the professions.

Learning outcome

Knowledge - the student shall know:

  • the main components of a health system 
  • the central elements in the development of health policy
  • the structure and organization of health systems in a comparative perspective 
  • the reforms of health systems: background, measures and results 

Skills - the student shall demonstrate the ability to:

  • describe the health policy and different health systems 
  • apply central concepts to analyse challenges in the health services 
  • use central theoretical approaches to health policy to explain variations between countries and to analyse distribution of power and resources in the health services

Learning methods and activities

Lectures/group discussions. Supervision of term paper. The course will be held in English when requested. If less than 6 students attend the course the two first weeeks of teaching, the course will be given as an individual study course with supervision. Please contact the departement for further information.

Compulsory assignments

  • Presentation

Further on evaluation

Form of assessment: Term paper and oral examination. Length of term paper: 6000-8000 words. The oral exam covers the term paper as well as readings. The oral exam will be used to adjust the term paper's grade by a maximum of one grade. Both the term paper and the oral exam must be retaken at a repeat of the exam.

Specific conditions

Compulsory activities from previous semester may be approved by the department.

Required previous knowledge

60 credits including SOS1002 or an equivalent course in research methods. The requirement must be fulfilled to be admitted to the course.

Course materials

To be decided at the start of the course.

Credit reductions

Course code Reduction From To
SOS3603 7.5 AUTUMN 2017
POL8521 10.0 AUTUMN 2017
More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  15.0 SP
Study level: Second degree level


Term no.: 1
Teaching semester:  AUTUMN 2021

Language of instruction: English, Norwegian

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Social Studies
  • Social Sciences
  • Political Science
Contact information
Course coordinator:

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Sociology and Political Science


Examination arrangement: Assignment

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Autumn ORD Assignment 100/100





Room Building Number of candidates
Spring ORD Assignment 100/100 INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
  • * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date. If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

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