SOS2021 - Social Inequalities in Health


Lessons are not given in the academic year 2023/2024

Course content

There have been major changes in the health of Norwegians, Europeans and in the world within a fairly short historical perspective. Life expectancy in many parts of the world has increased drastically, which can be attributed to increasingly better living conditions and healthcare. However, some groups of the population has not taken part of this improvement to the same degree. The improvement has been greater for people with higher education and high incomes as compared to people with less education or income. Thus, there are large disparities in depression, physical chronic conditions, subjective health, life expectancy and all other measurements of health when we compare people´s level of education, income or occupational status. It is possible, in principle, for groups that have lessresources to achieve the same health as those with the most resources. Consequently, there is an enormous potential for improving public health if we were able to reduce inequalities in health between the rich and the poor. This course provides a description of how health in Norway and other European countries are distributed by various measures of social status and for various measures of health. It will show how health inequalities are measured, how they evolve over time, and we compare and explain the magnitude and variation of health inequalities between countries. Explanations will be discussed at both the individual and contextual level, and it will be clear that there are complex processes behind.The lectures are based on the research from CHAIN, which is a research group at the Department of Sociology and Political Science:

Learning outcome

Knowledge - the student shall:

  • be familiar with the key discussions and recent research in the Norwegian and international health sociology.

Skills - the student shall demonstrate the ability to:

  • be able to apply relevant theories independently.

Learning methods and activities

The program is based on a combination of lectures, field trips and seminars. If few students attend the course in the first two weeeks of teaching, the course will be given as an individual study course with supervision. Whether or not the course is offered also depends on the departments available resources. Please contact the department for further information.

Compulsory assignments

  • Presentations

Further on evaluation

Form of assessment: 3 day home exam.

Required previous knowledge


Course materials

To be decided at the start of the course.

Credit reductions

Course code Reduction From To
SOS3608 7.5 AUTUMN 2019
More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Intermediate course, level II



Language of instruction: English, Norwegian

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Sociology
Contact information

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Sociology and Political Science


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